George Buckner is a fourth-generation banjo player and a native of Buncombe County, North Carolina. His father, grandfather, aunt, and uncles all played oldtime music. Nurturing his musical inclinations, George’s Aunt Sue, who played and sang, took young George to Chubb Parhams, Mrs. Hyatts, and many other weekly jam sessions and regional festivals. It was at these events that he met and learned from Ralph Lewis, Carroll Best, Robert Blankenship, the Stoney Creek Boys, and many other great musicians. As a young teenager, George, along with Chris Sharp, Lawrence Dillingham, Nick Chandler, and Greg Eubanks formed a band. “We didn’t have a name,” he remembers, “but we opened for Bill Monroe when he played in Weaverville. Bill Monroe asked us what our name was, and when we told him we didn’t have one he suggested Tar Heel Bluegrass Boys, since we were from North Carolina.” The Tar Heel Bluegrass Boys went on that year to win first place at Fiddlers Grove. George remembers with awe that legendary music hero Doc Watson was there, “He stood up and was cheering us! That was a great memory!”
George went on to form The Tipton Hill Boys with long time friends Chris Sharp and Kevin Sluder. The Tipton Hill Boys debut CD for Red Clay Records, Lucky, features George on banjo, Chris on guitar, Kevin on bass, and the talents of many bluegrass greats including Bobby Hicks on fiddle and Josh Graves on dobro. In recent years George has recorded with Bluegrass legend Curly Seckler on Down in Caroline and Bluegrass, Don’t You Know. He also went on to record a second project with The Tipton Hills Boys, Songs We Like. As a guest banjoist with The John Hartford Stringband, George recorded Lorena with vocals by Tim O’Brien for Grammy nominated Memories of John. George has toured twice in Japan with The Tipton Hill Boys and has taught banjo at the International Folk Alliance and Mars Hill College’s “Bluegrass in the Blue Ridge Mountains.” Closer to home, George performs with regional favorite Paul’s Creek Band and works as a duo with wife Brooke Buckner.
Brooke Windsor Buckner too was surrounded by music during her childhood. “While growing up in rural Madison and Buncombe counties, I sang at church—in the choir, solo, or in a trio. Here I learned mountain harmony and gospel. We lived out in the country, and our social circles consisted of family and church. Music was a big part of these gatherings.” Brooke also was part of a clogging team at her elementary school. As a teenager, she moved into Asheville with her family, and for a few years she stopped singing and clogging. At the age of twenty, though, she joined the Green Grass Cloggers, and her interest in traditional mountain music had a renaissance. She formed musical friendships with and learned from Roger Howell, Dellie Norton, Doug and Jack Wallin, David Holt, and her future husband, George Buckner. She also was inspired by southern writer Lee Smith, storytellers Connie Regan-Blake and Barbara Freeman, actress Barbara Bates Smith, dancer Carol Rifkin, and singer songwriter John Lilly.
Oh yes….. how they met. As a young man, George was mostly interested in banjo music, muscle cars, and his 1969 Chevrolet truck. According to reliable sources, George had his mother very concerned.”all he does is pick …and that he would never, ever find a girl.” Then one fine spring day George was performing with Chris Sharp and Lawrence Dillingham at a grand opening of a new retirement community in Arden NC. Also at the event that day was Doug Wallin and his Crane Branch Dew Drops. Brooke sang and played the banjo as a member of Doug and Jack Wallin’s band. Brooke remembers clearly, “George heard us play and walked up to me after the show, introduced himself and wanted to see my banjo!”
Now teamed up both in music and in life, George and Brooke perform extensively as a duet. They are available for special events, concerts, festivals, gospel singings, and school programs. And yes, George’s mom is happy that “he found a girl!”
If you are interested in booking George and Brooke Buckner for performances please contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org
I live in Maben, Mississippi, in Oktibbeha county, and we have a Buckner Family here, who has been in Bluegrass a long time