Rex McGee is known by 3-finger style banjo players all over the world as a leading innovator for a humble instrument. His respected reputation amongst his musical peers extends to other instruments including fiddle and guitar. His performing acclaim is perhaps surpassed by his creative composing and sought after teaching skills. His non-musical career as a pharmacist spans back to 1993 and has contributed to concealing his public profile by limiting his touring and recorded output.
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.
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In a day of digital trickery in the music world, it may be tempting to think the impossible guitar sounds credited to John Garris are merely a product of the latest simulating software. His craft is one that must be seen to be believed, and as his travels have rarely taken him outside of his native North Carolina the man and is music has a mythical element about it.
A multiple contest winner as a youth, he began playing in a family band as a three-finger style banjo player early in the 1980’s and was well on his way to developing into the enigmatic guitar rumor he is today when he met Rex McGee in 1987.
His playing pushes multiple technical boundaries of the possible on acoustic steel string guitar with regards to volume, speed, tone and abundance of creativity. His stylistic versatility makes Kripplekrunk possible as many guitar players may be able to excel at a couple of genres, but his mastery of bluegrass, jazz, swing, Irish, rock, funk, and multiple ethnic musics normally would require 3 or 4 players.