Heywood Blevins – FRC508


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This recording is an infrequent glimpse into Appalachian Mountain piano playing. Oddly enough, there were more than just a sprinkling of pianos in the mountains, a fact corroborated by Virginia pianists such as Hobart Smith, Clarice Shelor of Meadows of Dan and Mabel Dalton of Galax. John Hoffman, writing about Peter Hoover’s recording trips, described Heywood’s style: “Mr. Blevins, from Baywood, VA, said that he played piano the way that his father played the banjo. The tunes have that banjo bounce bearing some resemblance, or feel, to Hobart Smith’s piano playing. What is interesting about Heywood’s playing is the fact that many of the tunes are played in atypical mountain music tunings, F, E, G#, etc. Peter noted how often Heywood was playing on the black keys.” These recordings come from two other sources beside Peter Hoover, including those of the late Blanton Owen and Carol Holcomb, whose father Howard Joines plays fiddle with Heywood on several tracks of this CD. – Ray Alden