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Tom Keener – Guest Contributor
Aug 12 @ 18:55
Dallas Banjo Band

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Allen Public Library
300 N. Allen Dr.
Allen, Texas 75013

Dallas Banjo Band 

Although the banjo has African origins, its modern configuration is truly an American phenomenon.  Along with the fiddle, the banjo is a mainstay of American old-time music. Celebrating their twenty-third year, the Dallas Banjo Band appears at the Allen Public Library at 7:30 p.m. Friday, August 24. 

 From Dixieland to blues and ragtime tunes, the Dallas Banjo Band performs a variety of musical genres.   This 20-piece band was formed in 1989 under the direction of Smokey Montgomery, formerly a banjoist with Bob Wills and the Light Crust Doughboys.  Since then, they have performed with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Garland Symphony Orchestra and America’s Got Talent.  Their arrangements appear on the soundtrack for the film, Lugosi: Hollywood’s Dracula, and oxymoronically, their songs range from Tchaikovsky’s “Swan Lake” and Gorney’s “Brother, Can Spare A Dime?”

Home-builder Harold Poole, the band's concertmaster, was an ex-guitarist who hadn't played in 30 years when he met Mr. Montgomery.  The connection was made via a flugelhorn player whose new house Poole was building.  He notes, "Smokey loaned me his banjo for the week and sent me home with an instruction book. That was 20 years ago."

The banjo’s popularity sharply declined as the acoustic guitar ascended to iconic status during the 1920s.  However, the banjo experienced a revival when “The 'Ballad of Jed Clampett” debuted on the 1960s hit television show The Beverly Hillbillies.  This number 1 country hit made it to 44 on the charts in 1962.

Sponsored by the Allen Public Library, this program is free. The library is located at 300 N. Allen Drive in Allen. For information, call 214-509-4911.