When Troy Harrison was a student at Madison High School in Marshall, he had the option of taking a typing class or a music class. He chose music, and now says “That’s the whole reason I’m in music.” Harrison is a native of Madison County and comes from a family with musical pedigree. His aunt told him the story of when she sang “Little Margaret” for Bascom Lunsford, whose recorded version has spread far and wide through the folk music world. Miss Louetta Payne (who married Troy’s Uncle Abraham Etherton) received either twenty-five or fifty cents to sing the song for Bascom when she was nine years old. Despite this musical heritage, it took a class at school and the influence of teacher Becky Hanks to inspire Harrison to become a musician. Today, Harrison is an expert banjo, guitar, and mandolin player, carrying on the traditions of his family and community.
Troy Harrison took banjo lessons with Madison County legend Obray Ramsey. As Troy’s primary teacher, Ramsey shared his three-finger style that Troy describes as, “a cross between bluegrass and old time—it’s just North Carolina.” The two-finger banjo style of Madison County’s Jerry Adams also play a significant role in shaping Troy’s style and sound. Troy picked up foundations of his guitar style from Floyd Waldrop and from David Shelton of Shelton Laurel.
Today Troy Harrison plays with the bands Rhiannon and the Relics and Crooked Pine.
Troy Harrison plays concerts and other programs solo, with Rhiannon and the Relics, and with Crooked Pine.