John "Uncle" Homer Walker was born in 1904 in Summers County, VA, although he lived most of his life in Glen Lyn, VA (Giles County). A fine clawhammer banjo player in the archaic black Appalachian tradition, Walker was the subject of a short documentary film, Banjo Man, produced in 1977 by Seattle filmmaker Joe Vinikow and narrated by Taj Mahal. Walker also appeared in another documentary film, 1980's Morris Family Old Time Music Festival. Reported to have been playing banjo since he was seven or eight years old, Walker died on January 4, 1980, in Princeton, WV.
Recent Media Additions
The first video was of Carl Johnson and Jim Lloyd performing at the Black Banjo and Fiddle Gathering at Appalachian State University in Boone NC on March 28, 2012. Black Banjo and Fiddle Gathering bring musician together to share the mix of music from Appalachia.
The second video was Carl Johnson at the Black Banjo Gathering: Reunion. Boone, NC. March 2010
The third video was Carl Johnson playing Bill Monroe's "On My Way Back to the Old Home." Black Banjo Gathering: Reunion. Boone, NC. March 2010.
Appalachian Journey is one of five films made from footage that Alan Lomax shot between 1978 and 1985 for the PBS American Patchwork series (1991). It offers songs, dances, stories, and religious rituals of the Southern Appalachians. Preachers, singers, fiddlers, banjo pickers, moonshiners, cloggers, and square dancers recount the good times and the hard times of rural life there. At 26:40 it features an African American Duo James & Odell Thomas performing on Banjo and Fiddle.
Highlights from Otis Taylor's ("...one of the most innovative, thought-provoking blues artists to emerge in the last 20 years." Billboard) upcoming album, Recapturing the Banjo (Feb '08) featuring Guy Davis, Corey Harris, Alvin Youngblood Hart, Otis Taylor, and Don Vappie. www.telarc.com