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Jim Lloyd Appalachian Musician performs on final day of exhibit



Jim Lloyd, musician, raconteur and gatherer of rare musical instruments, performed at the Fine Arts Center of the New River Valley Sunday. The Fine Arts Center was full to capacity for Lloyd’s musical presentation. It marked the final day of his exhibition entitled Jim Lloyd Appalachian Musician, which featured rare antique guitars, banjos and Jew’s harps, amongst other instrumentation.

“I just always accumulated,” said Lloyd. “My family weren’t really collectors of anything. Musical instruments always fascinated me. I have a lot more of these at home.”

Lloyd, who lives in Rural Retreat where he owns his own barbershop, was accompanied on stand-up bass by Brett Morris from nearby Elk Creek. The duo played several Old-Time style songs during the show including Handsome Molly and I am a Pilgrim. Between songs Lloyd talked about the instruments he was playing like the Gibson Bella Voce banjo he played most of the afternoon.

“That’s the main banjo I play anymore,” said Lloyd. “That’s the reason I didn’t have it down here on display. I have to have it to play. I play as much as possible. It’s a 1928 Gibson Bella Voce and they only made three of them that year. It’s a heavily carved artist model. It’s gold plated and they cost $500 when they were sold brand-new.”

Lloyd also told stories between songs, including one about a preacher who played so loudly that it knocked a chunk of the ceiling plaster onto his grandmother’s hair. No one was hurt but they apparently felt “blessed” when the musical preacher left. Another story about Lloyd’s “rocker” father led to a rendition of Sam the Sham’s 60s era hit, Little Red Riding Hood. Audience participation was encouraged and when it came time to howl like a wolf, the audience did indeed participate with most everyone howling on cue.

Paki Stevenson, AP Faculty in the Geology Department at Radford University, was among those who saw Lloyd’s show.

“I thought it was wonderful. He’s a really interesting character. I play old-time and I have a couple of banjos like his. I was really glad to come and see his banjo collection and his guitar collection. I wish I had them. I really like the history and he knew the history of a lot of these instruments and a lot of these songs. A great show.”



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