With few exceptions, the piano does not play a prominent part in Appalachian music, and is rarely the lead instrument. But Jeff Little is an exception – and a remarkable one. His distinctive style is breathtaking in its speed, precision and clarity.
Jeff Little comes from Boone, North Carolina, in the heart of the Blue Ridge, one of America’s richest regions for traditional music. So it is perhaps not so surprising that Jeff began playing piano at age five. His family ran Little’s Music Store in Boone, where musicians of all types frequently dropped by to play a tune. Among those was Doc Watson, a neighbor and close family friend whose music helped shape Jeff's unique piano style
A professional musician since the age of 14 Jeff is conversant with old-time, country, bluegrass, rockabilly, and blues. With a rack-mounted harmonica and vocals, he can also be a one-man show. Jeff settled in Nashville for a while, where he worked as a session man in between stints on the road and also worked with a wide range of commercial country artists, most notably Keith Urban. In 2004, he returned to the Blue Ridge to direct the Music Industry Program at Guilford Technical Community College in Jamestown, North Carolina.
Jeff’s performances as a critically acclaimed musician include festivals, performing arts centers and universities throughout the US and overseas. Performances include, National Public Radio, PBS, The Smithsonian Institution, American Piano Masters Series, The National Council for the Traditional Arts, The American Folk Festival and the Smithsonian Folk Life Festival. In addition he has taken his music to tour overseas through the United States Information Agency / Arts America “The Jeff Little Tour of East Asia, and Africa.” Little has released four CDs and is a SESAC affiliated songwriter and publisher.