"a musician who is a consummate master of technique and artistry."
"… an individual who possesses outstanding technical ability at singing or playing a musical instrument."
Those Who Dig's Dave recently purchased for me Dock Boggs' Smithsonian Folkways Years on vinyl. This album has been a favorite of mine since I first heard it a year or so ago and I think our new ongoing feature Episodes in Virtuosity is a good platform to introduce this old-timey banjo picker to those who haven't yet had the pleasure.
Dock Boggs bought a banjo from Sears Roebuck when he was 14, but it wasn't until his "rediscovery" in the 1960's that he focused primarily on music. He lived his life as a coal miner, a bootlegger, a dancer, and a drinker. All of which are coincidentally life goals of mine.
His banjo style was unique in that he developed it to fit to mountain songs that previously had no accompaniment. In general, he up-picked with three fingers rather than frailed and the complexity of sound and deep, driving melody he achieves with this method is staggering. And of course there's the voice. It's dark and moody; low with flourishes of high. It's entrancing. Dig?