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The WilliamsonsTONY & GARY WILLIAMSON

Tony and Gary Williamson were born in rural Randolph County, North Carolina, to a family of farmers, woodworkers and self-taught musicians that settled in that area in the late 1700s. Their grandfather, Alfred, made his own musical instruments (his banjo is in the N.C. Museum of History) and inspired his grandchildren, who began playing music around 1957. By the 1960s, with Tony on mandolin and his brother Gary on banjo, they were winning prizes at many of the fiddler's conventions, including First Place Mandolin at the "World Championships"in Union Grove, NC and Galax, VA, and First Place Band at Union Grove, NC.

In 1968 the Williamson Brothers recorded "John Henry" for Folett Publishing Co. for an anthology called "Discovering Music Together". Also included were the rock group "Blood Sweat & Tears"and the Boston Symphony. The brother's next recording was for Ozark Mt Records as the Bluegrass Gentlemen; and then, along with child prodigy fiddler, J. B. Prince, as the Green Valley Ramblers for Revonah Records. Later, they accompanied Jerry Stuart on his "Rocky Run" album on County, which included a Tony Williamson original, "Land of the Dead." Most of these recordings feature Gary Williamson's distinctive voice. The Williamson Brothers have toured and performed in the US, Europe and Scandinavia. More recently, Tony & Gary Williamson are featured on the 1994 release,"A Touch of the Past" by Larry Perkins & Friends (Pinecastle). In fact, Gary Williamson wrote and sings the title song. Also included on this recording is a host Nashville superpickers including Earl Scruggs, Alison Krauss, Vassar Clements and the Osborne Brothers. This work was awarded "Recorded Event of the Year" by the International Bluegrass Music Association (1994).

Tony Williamson has performed with the North Carolina Symphony, the Charlotte Symphony and the Duke University Symphony, and has also organized delightful impromptu mandolin "orchestras" at Merlefest (with guests John Cowan, Tim O'Brien, Mark Shatz, Tut Taylor and 16 others) and at the Old Settler's Day in Round Rock, Texas (with David Grisman, Buck White and Grisman Quintet members). Other recent performances include the Mandolin Summit held at the International School in Atlanta, Georgia; Hotel Wellington in Manhattan, New York City; and Michael Feldman's "Whaddaya know", for National Public Radio. He also organized a tribute to Jethro Burns with a mandolin trio consisting of mandolin legends David Grisman and Sam Bush playing with Williamson at the 1995 Merlefest Midnight Jam.

Tony Williamson has performed in many different musical genres and ensembles, including Bluegrass acts like the Bluegrass Alliance in 1976 and 1977 (a band whose alumni also includes Vince Gill, Dan Crary, Sam Bush and Tony Rice). Also during this time, Williamson performed classical mandolin with Duke University Symphony Orchestra, jazz mandolin at the Art School in Chapel Hill, NC., swing and jazz with "Champagne Charlie", and as studio musician appeared on record with many different artists and musical styles including John Hartford, Mike Cross, Bobby Hicks, Ricky Skaggs, Bill Clifton, Mike Seeger, Vassar Clements, Jerry Douglas, Jimmy Murphy, John Duffy and Tom Gray.

 

MAPLESHADE RELEASES:

Still Light of the Evening (#08952)

 

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