Rex McGee is known by 3-finger style banjo players all over the world as a leading innovator for a humble instrument. His respected reputation amongst his musical peers extends to other instruments including fiddle and guitar. His performing acclaim is perhaps surpassed by his creative composing and sought after teaching skills. His non-musical career as a pharmacist spans back to 1993 and has... more
Rex McGee is known by 3-finger style banjo players all over the world as a leading innovator for a humble instrument. His respected reputation amongst his musical peers extends to other instruments including fiddle and guitar. His performing acclaim is perhaps surpassed by his creative composing and sought after teaching skills. His non-musical career as a pharmacist spans back to 1993 and has contributed to concealing his public profile by limiting his touring and recorded output. He gathered musical friends together in early 2013 for a recording session and the release, Kripplekrunk, has stirred up a contingent of fans hoping to hear more. Thus a fledgling band named after the recording has been born.
Rex's release in 2000, 24 Creations for Solo Banjo, showcased bluegrass, baroque, atonal, jazz, Irish, rock and other less easily labeled styles and won the affection of adventurous banjo music fans worldwide. His playing and composing were featured on mandolinist Tony Williamson's grammy nominated Sessions At McBane Mill and also the award-winning World Music release by Footloose, Trip to the Moon in 2005. His travels of the US and Canada with flatpicking guitar legend Larry Keel and renowned newgrass vocalist John Cowan produced collaborations with Vassar Clements, Tony Rice, Pat Flynn and many other acoustic musical greats.
Rex McGee's roots in traditional music run deep. Born in Winston-Salem, NC and raised on the family farm near Sauratown Mountain, he had early formal training on the piano and fiddle. His father, Rex Sr., accompanied him on piano for weekly performances at the Pollirosa Opry. Grandfather Ralph McGee was a renowned fiddler and contemporary of Round Peak old-time icon Tommy Jarrell. Ralph learned to play from his father Will, a left-handed fiddler who in turn learned from his father on a fiddle made out of a gourd. Rex's grandfather Hamp Easter loaned him his first banjo at age 12 with the condition that he could keep it if he learned how to play it. Rex still has the banjo.
In addition to performances with the band Kripplekrunk, Rex continues to play shows with his champion mandolinist brother Ralph, fiddles with Celtic rock stars Brynmor, makes occasional appearances with country vocalist and songwriter Lacy Green, plays traditional and original folk tunes with contra dance group Footloose, and jazz/folk with vocalist Martha Bassett. He also is deeply committed in his development the Fiddle Tune Video Archive, an online collection of traditional fiddle tune demonstrations from the Southern, New England, Canadian and British Isles traditions.
Rex now lives on the family farm where he grew up. He still loves quiet time with his banjo, something a little harder to find as he and his wife raise 5 children in a very, very musical house.less