Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving


If you order "Walkin' That Banjo Home" CD and/or tab book before the the end of November from my website--I'll send you a free bonus experimental MP3 by email. :)
Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Old Blue Bus review of Florida Banjo

Old Blue Bus
an audio blog with no particular destination
Monday, October 20, 2008
New Release: Mary Z. Cox - Florida Banjo

Florida Banjo is the latest CD from one of our favorite old-time banjo players. Mary Z. Cox has introduced the art of pre-Scruggs style banjo to an entire generation. Through her workshops and classes she has unleashed a vibrant community of old-time banjo and dulcimer players on a musical world that had all but forgotten the beauty of clawhammer style banjo. As usual, Mary has also provided tabulature for the songs on Florida Banjo available as a book for aspiring banjo players.

The fifteen songs on Florida Banjo not only showcase one of the most amazing practitioners of old-time banjo, but some other mighty fine musicians as well. As expected, Mary's husband Bob Cox adds his delightful flat-picked guitar. The sounds of Bob's guitar and Mary's banjo intertwine so effortlessly, as only a duet with decades of musical intimacy can. Other guest artists adding to this thoroughly enjoyable album are Kerry Blech, Jim Crozier, Lo Gordon and Ellen Sheppard.

Mary Z. Cox was interviewed by Larry Wines for his syndicated radio and television show "Tied to the Tracks." The show has yet to air, but the interview is available online (video here.) Be sure to watch all five segments, each featuring a wonderful performance by Mary Z. Cox, often accompanied by Bob Cox.

For those of you that already own Mary Z. Cox's CDs, Florida Banjo is a must-have, as I don't know of anyone who owns only one Mary Z. Cox CD. All six of Mary Z. Cox's CDs are cherished treasures in my own collection. Those of you not yet initiated, give a listen to the track below and watch the video above. Then follow one of the links below to start your collection.

Mary Z. Cox - Wind That Shakes the Barley.mp3
beautifully performed on her custom Deering GDL Banjo.

Artist: Mary Z. Cox
Ttile: Florida Banjo
Artist Website:
Mary's blog: A Secret Life of Banjo
CDs and downloads available at:
CD Baby
County Sales
Elderly Instruments
or your local independent record store.

posted by Ed at 10/20/2008 09:05:00 PM

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Drumming On the Edge of Banjo (Mary Z. Cox & Yazid)

A new sound coming in my secret life of banjo. :) Acoustic percussion has been working its way into the edges of my banjo, resulting in a new group forming (Bob & I are still very much recording and performing our duet--this is an additional group that we think world music fans will enjoy.

We are "Drumming On the Edge Of Banjo" and here is our short bio.
Two time Florida Banjo Champion, Mary Z. Cox, and African Caribbean drummer, Yazid, blend early Florida roots music in highly percussive rhythms for dancing and listening.

Yazid (William Johnson), a former professor of ethnomusicology at Florida State University, and drummer for Marvin Gaye, is a professional drummer and percussion instructor that plays regularly with several performance and dance groups all over Florida.

Mary Z. Cox, banjo recording artist, plays banjo with her guitarist husband, Bob Cox, in concerts and workshops from coast to coast, and has also played for old time dances in Florida, Georgia, and North Carolina for many dance groups.

Mary Z. & Yazid are very pleased to introduce this new sound that draws from the not so diverse African/Caribbean and Southern banjo cultures. The banjo, is, after all, a drum with strings.

Yazid and Mary Z. are currently recording a “Drumming On the Edge of Banjo” CD which will hopefully be available in 2009. 

Sound files coming soon. For booking information (concerts and dances) please contact me at:

Thursday, July 24, 2008

New banjo and pickers pix--it may be you :)

Boy did we have a lot of fun in White Springs, Pasadena, Albuquerque, Fayetteville, Mountain View, Brasstown and many other wonderful places this year. Take a look--you may see someone you know! :)

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Be A Banjo Star/ Mary Z. Cox banjo class

Here's another class of brilliant and fun banjoists from the John C. Campbell Folk School. July 4, 2008/Brasstown, NC

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Mary Z. Cox & the Adobe Brothers/Albuquerque

This video was taped by Judy Muldawer at the Fire Star Cafe in Albuquerque.
Wayne Shrubsall and the Adobe Brothers with Mary Z.Cox

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Off To California

We took off early Thursday and we are already in Arizona.
Here are a few pix.

John Bowlin 1865 fretless in Arizona

Mary in Arizona

Bob and Ken Miller guitar in Arizona

alt=""id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5209726869143256114" />

Mary & John Bowlin fretless on Lake Dunn in Arkansas

Monday, May 19, 2008

Arcy graduates & Cal Tech concert

Arcy and his girlfriend, Mercedes are helping to get ready for our California visit coming in June. :)
Hope to see you there!

Monday, April 07, 2008

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Willfest this weekend!

Willfest begins this coming Friday evening!

Here's the link to the festival.

Bob and I will be playing at noon and at 5PM on Saturday, and I'll be giving a dulcimer workshop on Sunday at noon. Our new CD, Florida Banjo, is supposed to arrive tomorrow--so we will have it at Willfest with us! This is a really fun festival with lots of workshops, stages, and picking everywhere.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

New Fretless banjo!

Here it is (cell phone photo). Boy--is this a beauty! The tone is awesome, but what I like best is the neck. The surface is smooth and slick and the neck fits my hands and fingers perfectly. When I put my fingers down on a chord, they are right there--even without frets. :) Now I understand why John asks for a tracing of your left hand before making a banjo.
John Bowlin is a delightful banjo builder too. This is a keeper!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

New banjo!

Just got this new Ne Plus Ultra--open back clawhammer banjo from Recording King.
I've been playing it all evening and it sure sounds sweet!
Posted by Picasa

Sunday, January 06, 2008

2008 banjo, dulcimer and family news!

Hello and a very Happy New year!
2008 will be a very exciting year at the Cox house.

We are particularly thrilled that we will be returning to California this year, Albuquerque
New Mexico, and the John C. Campbell School in North Carolina. :)
Here is a quick list of where we will be this year.

Please check it from time to time if you live in California, New Mexico,
Florida or North Carolina for more details as they are added. There will
be a banjo workshop at the Coffee Gallery Backstage in Altadena and I'll
put it up as soon as we get the final details. Details for New Mexico for
a concert and workshops will be up soon too.

Registration has started for our "Be a Star, Play Banjo" week long
workshop at the John C. Campbell School in June/July.

We had a marvelous time last year with all the wonderful banjoists who
came. If you are a returning student from last year or the year
before--please email me and let me know that you are coming--I will make
sure that we cover some new tunes to practice technique. :)
If you are thinking of coming this year--please sign up soon--this is a
wonderful place--relaxing and fun and the food is great!

Bob and I have been mixing and editing our new CD and it is with local
bassist, Jim Crozier, right now for a few bass parts. (He sounds wonderful
with banjo!) As soon as it returns, it will be off for mastering! We are
hoping to have it in time for the Cracker Coffee House in February or
Willfest in April. :)

Arcy (Robert Sidney Cox III) our oldest son, is graduating from Cal Tech
with his Doctorate. (He's a biogenetic engineer)The ceremony is June 13,
2008 and we plan to be there shouting and whooping our congratulations!

Natalie continues with her busy life of full time student,(art at FSU)
part time stylist, and she is on the FSU dance force. She'll be on the FSU
Florence program in May and part of June and has been taking Italian this
year too. I've even heard her sing in Italian. :)

Gordon remains busy in New York City. He will be flying to North Carolina
in August to join Bob and I for a guitar camp in the mountains. :)

Bob turned 60 this year and his Mom had her 90th birthday too! He loves
his research position at OPPAGA, and he continues to come up with new and
exciting foods and beverages in the kitchen. He bought a 2001 Kawasaki
Vulcan Classic 1500 this year, so after several years of not owning a
bike, we are back to cruising the back roads of North Florida and South
Georgia again. :)

My good news! I am retiring from my school job on June 3rd. I have plans
for instructional DVDs in banjo and mountain dulcimer and will finally
have the time to start and finish them! :) We also have the next two CDs
on the planning board as well as some tab books. This is going to be a fun
year. :)

Hope everyone is healthy and happy at your home and hope we get to see you
this year!

Best wishes and love,
Mary Z. & Bob Cox
Jezebel too!
web page
a secret life of banjo blog :)