Performer, Composer, Teacher – Banjo & Fiddle
Rex McGee is known by 3-finger style banjo players all over the world as a leading innovator for the instrument. He holds a high reputation amongst his musical peers and this extends to other instruments including fiddle and guitar. His performance skills are complimented by his creative composing and sought after teaching skills. His non-musical career as a pharmacist spans back to 1993 and has kept him largely anonymous from a larger audience. He gathered musical friends together in early 2013 for a recording session and the release, Kripplekrunk, garnered fans hoping to hear more, thus a fledgling acoustic supergroup was born.
Rex’s release in 2000, 24 Creations for Solo Banjo, showcased bluegrass, baroque, atonal, jazz, Irish, rock and other less easily labeled styles and won the affection of adventurous banjo music fans worldwide. His playing and composing were featured on mandolinist Tony Williamson’s grammy nominated Sessions At McBane Mill and also the award-winning World Music release by Footloose, Trip to the Moon in 2005. His travels of the US and Canada with flatpicking guitar legend Larry Keel and renowned newgrass vocalist John Cowan produced collaborations with Vassar Clements, Tony Rice, Pat Flynn and many other acoustic musical greats.
His roots in traditional music run deep. Born in Winston-Salem, NC and raised on the family farm near Sauratown Mountain, he had early formal training on the piano and fiddle. His father accompanied him on piano for weekly performances with the Stokes County Ramblers at the Pollirosa Opry. His Grandfather McGee was a renowned fiddler of the generation of Round Peak old-time icon Tommy Jarrell. His maternal grandfather Easter loaned him his first banjo at age 12 with the condition that he could keep it if he learned how to play it.
In addition to performances with the band Kripplekrunk, Rex continues to perform with his champion mandolinist brother Ralph’s bluegrass band Goodfellers, duet house concerts with award winning guitarist Clay Jones, and on occasion with contra dance group Footloose. He also is committed in development of the Fiddle Tune Video Archive, an online collection of traditional fiddle tune demonstrations from the Southern, New England, Canadian and British Isles traditions.
Rex now lives on the family farm where he grew up. He still loves quiet time with his banjo, something a little harder to find as he and his wife raise 5 children in a very, very musical house.
“It’s too easy to forget that at one point in time, all great traditional music was new, original, sometimes revolutionary.”