“With few exceptions, the piano does not play a prominent part in Appalachian music, and is rarely the lead instrument,” according to the National Council for the Traditional Arts, “but Jeff Little is an exception—and a remarkable one. His distinctive style, much influenced by the mountain flat-picked guitar tradition, is breathtaking in its speed, precision and clarity.”
Little’s involvement with fiddle tunes, old time country, and traditional blues dates back to his growing up in Boone, NC, where his family owned a music shop. The shop was a regular gathering place for musicians who would stop by just to pick a few tunes. At an early age Jeff would regularly sit in with many of the musicians from the region, including one of America’s most influential musicians — Doc Watson. These influences helped shape Jeff’s approach to the piano which is based on these deep musical traditions. But there is also an echo of more contemporary mountain tradition in Jeff’s performances.
A professional musician since the age of 14, Jeff Little is conversant with traditional old time country, bluegrass, rockabilly, and blues. With a rack-mounted harmonica and vocals, he can also be a one-man show. Jeff settled in Nashville for a while, where he worked as a session man in between stints on the road. He also worked with a wide range of commercial country artists, most notably Keith Urban. Several years ago, Jeff and his family returned to the Blue Ridge where today he is the Director of the Entertainment Technology Program at Northeast State in Bristol, TN.
Jeff continues to have a very busy concert schedule. Performances include the Smithsonian Institution, the National Folk Festival, American Piano Masters, and MerleFest as well as many festivals, performing arts centers, colleges, and music venues throughout the U.S. He has also taken his traditional piano style around the world on U.S. government good will tours, performing in Sri Lanka, Bahrain, Oman, France, and Tanzania. Jeff has released four CDs and has been featured on National Public Radio and PBS several times. In 2014, Jeff was inducted into the Blue Ridge Music Hall of Fame.
Jeff Little is available for performances either solo or with a group.