Ed 'Uncle Eddie' Mahonen

Ed 'Uncle Eddie' Mahonen

BandAmericanaAcoustic

Uncle Eddie & Robin build on the rich folk music traditions of the Appalachians keeping it alive and growing through use of original songs, stunning harmonies and imaginative use of banjo and guitar. Presented with intelligence, wit, and charm the performance is entertaining and thought provoking.

Biography

"What a neat couple!"

Uncle Eddie and Robin, “Not Your Typical Old Folkies”, are a dynamic musical duet with a taste of the old and a flair for the new. Their energy belies their age, and the breadth of their life experience makes for a rich and rewarding musical evening. This husband-wife team combines their voices in stunning, tight harmonies on songs that pack a punch, and their musical chemistry and sound is unmistakable. Ed “Uncle Eddie” Mahonen, “Banjo Player, Raconteur, and All Around Old Dude” is an icon in the Appalachian music scene. His wildly imaginative banjo playing, silky vocals, and intelligent, witty songwriting make him a joy to listen to. His style incorporates elements of bluegrass and folk, which he has shaped into a unique and original blend which he terms, “plunk rock”. West Virginia’s “Graffiti” Magazine said Ed has been “…a force in West Virginia music for over thirty years”. Not just another folk 'n bluegrass musician, he applies his velvety baritone voice to his original material, and has been known to "rap" along with his more traditional renditions.

Ed “Uncle Eddie” Mahonen was born and raised in a small town in Massachusetts, not your usual breeding ground for bluegrass music. He began his musical career in grade school with piano, later moving on to trumpet. But one night, he found himself at what was then called, a “hootenanny”, and was instantly drawn to the call of the banjo.
Despite the derision and snickering of his high school friends and family, Ed practiced and persevered with his instrument, and has honed it to the surprising sound you hear today. He is also accomplished on guitar and bass, and dabbles with the tuba. His rich velvety baritone voice completes his presentation in bluegrass, folk, classic rock and other musical genres. After graduation, he served in the Navy in San Francisco in the 60’s, where he was influenced by the singer-songwriters and poets of the era. Following his discharge, he spent a summer hitchhiking across Canada and the US, with his banjo slung across his back. Passing through Wheeling, West Virginia, he got into a jam session with some locals and quickly fell into the young progressive bluegrass scene. Before long,
he became a fixture on the local scene, with the band “West Virginia Grass”. “We were playing jamgrass in the early 70’s, before the term had been invented. We were just doing what came naturally to us.” He also made his first appearances on the legendary Wheeling Jamboree. This period culminated with his participation in the band, “Castlemen’s Run”.
Throughout the 80’s, Ed played traditional bluegrass with Pittsburgh’s “Beaver Creek” band, and recorded two albums with them. Ed also played for over 30 years with “The Short Crick Flatpickers”, one of West Virginia’s bluegrass bands, touring statewide and regionally. “Uncle Eddie” was born when he was appearing in the 90’s at the Wheeling Jamboree, and did solo spots of bluegrass, novelty songs, jokes and funny stories. His easy going demeanor and booming laugh made him a favorite with his audiences.

Ed met Robin, appropriately enough, at an open mike jam night which Ed hosted in Wheeling. Their chemistry was immediate. Robin is the daughter of the late Jimmy Knepper, internationally renowned jazz trombonist, and Maxine Fields Knepper, a strong independent woman who was already on the road with her trumpet at the age of 16, before
anyone had ever coined the term “feminist”. Robin was listening to music from birth, and has fond memories of jam sessions lasting late into the night as she drifted off to sleep as a little girl. Her early musical influences were shaped by some of the most influential jazz artists of the day. She played piano at age 8, picked up her first guitar at age 14, and played her first coffeehouses shortly thereafter. After a brief hiatus of twenty years from music while she raised her four children as a single mother, and pursued a career as a social
worker in private practice, she returns to the music scene with a vengeance. She brings her born and bred musical ability and her deep understanding of pathos and the human condition to her every note she sings. Imagine: a bluegrass banjo player, and the daughter of a legendary jazz musician- it’s unthinkable? Or is it???

More recently, Ed was associated with West Virginia’s premier jam band, “The Recipe”, and his cutting edge explorations and signature sound
clearly comes through on their last CD, “Jubilee”. Joe Prichard commented on Ed’s original song, “One Eye Laugh”, which closed the CD, “Ed was able to say in one song what it took me a whole album to say.” As the Recipe’s “Uncle Eddie”, he and Robin have been a fixture at summer jam band festivals, and are much beloved by festival goers who seek them out for a pat on the back, a shared joke, and, if desired, a gentle bear hug.

Ed’s latest solo work, “My Own Words”, is a compilation of ten original songs, in