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Frank and Allie Lee (Bryson City, NC) are a clawhammer-playing duo. They swap banjos back and forth, mixing in guitars and harmonicas to accompany their harmony singing on favorite old time songs from the Southeast. While they identify as an old time duo, they are known for using the label broadly, including blues, bluegrass, and spiritual songs in their performances.
Having made a name for himself as the syncopated, melodic player in The Freight Hoppers, Frank is a national treasure when it comes to clawhammer. He has an instructional DVD on Homespun and released four albums with The Freight Hoppers, with whom he toured North America and Europe. His ability to match a fiddler note-for-note is particularly unique. In the duo, Frank plays not only steel string banjo but also a low-pitched nylon string, fretless banjo.
Allie’s jumpstart into clawhammer came when she studied it for a week at John C. Campbell Folk School. That summer, she met Frank in a banjo workshop, which led to her taking his class at Augusta Heritage Center a few years later. She played banjo and wrote songs in her band The Whipstitch Sallies and was featured in the Banjo Babes calendar for 2016. Allie enjoys playing banjo to accompany her singing, Frank‘s fiddle playing, and Frank’s nylon string banjo playing.
Frank and Allie have led banjo workshops across the country and in France, with Allie teaching beginning players and Frank teaching advanced players. They will host a weekend banjo workshop in Mountain View, AR March 14-16. They also host an annual old time music retreat called the Banjo-Fiddle Frolic in their town, which will be held April 5-7, 2019.
"Frank and Allie bring a pure and seasoned musicality to beloved old tunes… a sweet, strong vocal sound accompanied by an impressive array of true Americana instruments. This is music that keeps its close connection to earth." - Pete Wernick, Hot Rize
"The two artists command a wide range of instruments between them, as well as both being able to sing, and they use this range of musical resources well to turn in a varied and interesting set. Despite the wide range of material, there's a coherent feel to it as the pair tackle the numbers in their own particular style." - Steve Wise, Old Time News
"Frank and Allie immediately put you at ease with their genuine friendliness. Their approach to performance is not pretentious or showy, but rather, is a very high level of instrumental and vocal proficiency. A live performance with Frank and Allie Lee will make you feel like you are in their living room enjoying a good visit with a bonus of great music! Chemistry that can only come from two people who truly love each other." -Ernie Hill, writer for the John Hartford Memorial Festival and the Walnut Valley Festival