At the age of 3 1/2, Willow told her mother that she wanted to play banjo. The hardest thing for her Mom was to find a banjo small enough for her to play! Here in her own words Willow tells us the story of this early inspiration:
When I was three and a half years old I went to see a show in Pigeon Forge called the "Dixie Stampede". There I saw the, now; four-time International Banjo Champion, Gary Davis or some people call him Biscuit. As soon as I heard Gary start playing I leaned over to my mom and told her this is what I wanted to do for the rest of my life... play banjo! This is what no parent ever wants to hear! Just kidding of course :) She thought for my fourth birthday she could go and buy me a toy banjo. After going to a bunch of toy shops she still couldn't find one, so she decided to go to a music shop to see if they had one. There she met a man who said don't buy her a toy banjo, buy her the real thing and I'll teach her... This man was Gary Davis and he's now been teaching me for nine years.
Today, at the age of 13, she is a seasoned performer who has a featured spot at the “Country Tonite Theater Show” in Pidgeon Forge and at Dollywood. She has even been on stage playing with Rhonda Vincent and the Rage.
Willow’s smile can light up a room and at last year’s IBMA in Charlotte, she got to sit and play with her banjo hero, Jens Kruger, in the Deering booth. She was chosen to be featured in a local PBS show being taped at IBMA that year and her session with Jens Kruger was filmed along with a brief interview. Her demeanor belies her young years.
Willow is a multi-instrumentalist and vocalist who performs with guitar, a Deering Sierra Acoustic/Electric banjo, and a Deering 6-String Phoenix banjo. When asked why she chose Deering banjos to play she said “There are so many reasons why I choose and love playing my Sierra. One of the main reasons I absolutely love it, is the satin finish on the neck... it makes it so much easier to do slides and play licks. The humbucking pick-up is also an amazing feature to have. The banjo has an outstanding tone whether acoustic or plugged up. It's a really beautiful high quality instrument for sure! I'm one lucky girl to be able to say proudly that I play a Deering. What else can I say but...? I love my Deering!!
Needless to say, we are looking forward to years of great banjo music from this lovely young musician!
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