"Brad" Keith on banjo

John Byrne Cooke


Image No. 63-2N-14
"Brad" Keith on banjo

1963 Newport Folk Festival

In the early 60s, Cambridge banjo picker Bill Keith raised Earl Scruggs' three-fingered method of banjo playing to the next level, an achievement that Bill Monroe recognized when he introduced Keith to the audience at the 1963 Newport Folk Festival. "I don't think there's a man in the country," Monroe said, "that can touch this boy when it comes to playin' a five-string banjo." (When Keith joined the Blue Grass Boys, the father of bluegrass felt it might be confusing to have two Bills in the band, so Keith was "Brad" for the time he played with Monroe.)

Bill Monroe an the Bluegrass Boys Bill Monroe, Bill Keith, Del McCoury Bill Monroe at Club 47, no. 1 Bill Monroe at Club 47, no. 2