After a more than a dozen years in Transylvania County, Lo and Mary Gordon are central figures in the local oldtime music scene. The Gordons host a Tuesday-night jam session at their family shop in Brevard, Celestial Mountain Music, and are the hosts and founders of Brevard’s Halloween Fest Music Contest. They are also accomplished musicians who have performed all over the Southeast.
Tennessee-born Mary grew up singing with her family, church, and in school, and also plays guitar and fiddle. Lo, originally from New Jersey, learned to the play the banjo from such great players as Dwight Diller, Joe Fallon, and Sheila Kay Adams. He is a skilled instrument repairman and luthier, the maker of Cedar Mountain Banjos. “I build my own concept of a contemporary open-back banjo,” he says. “I do not build reproductions. I take great care with my design work and its execution. Pleasing proportions and graceful lines are very important to me. My thrust is to present a finished product that is pleasing to not only the ear but the eyes and hands.”
The Gordons have performed at the Friends of American Mountain Music and Dance in Gainsboro, England, the Smokey Mountain Music Festival at Lake Junaluska, and Shindig on the Green, among many other venues. They are longtime participants in the Florida State Folk Festival in White Springs, and have been finalists many times in the Florida Oldtime Music Championships there, on several instruments. At the 2005 Florida State Folk Festival, the Gordons were awarded two lifetime achievement awards, the Edward Lee Flemming, Jr., Award for “exceptional versatility” on multiple instruments, and the Cousin Thelma Boltin Award for service to the oldtime music community.
In 2013, Cedar Mountain Banjos won Garden & Gun magazine’s Made in the South Award in the Style & Design category.
Lo and Mary Gordon are available to perform oldtime music for concerts, festivals, and other events. Cedar Mountain Banjos are available at Celestial Mountain Music in Brevard, from the Celestial Mountain Music website, and at various festivals throughout the year.