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Band Americana Folk


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The best kept secret in music


"A Secret Life Of Banjo"

"Stand out tunes include Mary's take on Swannanoa Tunnel, an old English work song made popular by Bascom Lamar Lunsford, along with two original tunes, Andrew Jackson Go Back Home and Hunchback Whiskey, that she plays on her Wunder Hunchback fretless gut string banjo. Mary also has the enviable ability to take an old chestnut and make it hers, a la her double-tracked version of Golden Slippers...along with Soldier's Joy and Angeline."
--Don Nitchie/Banjo Newsletter May 2004
- Banjo Newsletter

"Cal Tech Folk Society/April 2005"

Last reminder about this Saturday night's concert in Dabney Hall featuring banjo and dulcimer player Mary Z. Cox, accompanied by her husband, Bob, on guitar. While we often think of the banjo as an integral part of a bluegrass band, in Mary's hands, it deserves to be up front and center. In the liner notes from her most recent album, "A Secret Life of Banjo", she talks about how in jam sessions and old time dances, the keys and tunes are chosen to fit the repertoire of the fiddler and the rhythm of the dance. But when she plays on her own, she can slip into tunings that take advantage of all of the versatility of the banjo. She goes on to say, "I believe the banjo has a unique voice when played by itself that is lost in a group session." At this show, you will hear both the fine solo banjo and the wonderful interplay of the banjo and Bob's excellent guitar work. You will also hear them play some exquisite mountain
dulcimer/guitar duets that range from the beautiful "Sonny Mazurka Waltz" to the exotic "Spanish Fandango." She selects an outstanding assortment of songs and tunes.
- Cal Tech Folk Society


CDs in print
Vintage Banjo
Walkin' That Banjo Home
Dulcimer Fandango
A Secret Life Of Banjo
Banjo Dreamin' Suwannee Nights
Coming soon--Banjo Dreamin/Suwannee Nights
Banjo Tab Books
Vintage Banjo
A Secret Life of Banjo


Feeling a bit camera shy


Mary is best known for her old time banjo playing featured in her five CDs (Banjo Dreamin' Suwannee Nights, A Secret Life Of Banjo, Vintage Banjo, Walkin' That Banjo Home &
Dulcimer Fandango) and her Banjo Dreamin' Suwannee Nights, A Secret Life of Banjo and Vintage Banjo tab books. She has won contests in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and Alabama, playing banjo, mountain dulcimer, and old time string band music. She is the winner of the 2nd Annual Tommy Thompson Memorial Banjo Contest held at the 2004 Florida Folk Festival, the 2004 First Place winner in the old time banjo contest at the Staggerlee Bluegrass Festival, the 2003 Florida Old Time Banjo Champion, and the 2002 Florida Old Time Mountain Dulcimer Champion. Mary and Physical Medicine placed first in the Old Time String Band contest at the 2004 Florida Fiddlers Convention.

Tabs, MP3s, and favorable reviews of her work, have been published in Banjo Newsletter, Studio Magazine, and The Old Time Herald. Music from Walkin' That Banjo Home was featured on National Public Radio's "All Songs Considered." Her CDs are played regularly online by the old time radio station, Sugar In the Gourd, as well as Frank P. Hoppes show on KCSN 88.5 in Southern California. Mary and Bob recently gave a sold out concert at Dabney Hall on the CAL TECH campus in Pasadena, a packed concert at the John C. Campbell Folk School in North Carolina, and a main stage performance and workshop at the Will Mclean Festival (Willfest) in Dade City. Mary and her husband, Bob, are also regular performers and workshop hosts at the Florida Folk Festival.
Mary is a third generation Floridian who received her first banjo when she was twelve. Her Granddad Thompson was a professional banjo player and his father was an old time fiddler from St. Joe, Missouri. His father was Cyclone Thompson, who rode the Pony Express. She grew up in Palm Bay, Florida, playing and singing with her brother, Charlie. Mary has played in many local Florida bands: The Big Bend Ramblers, Cypress Creek, Reel Plaid, Canopy Roads and Booger Holler. Today she lives in Tallahassee, Florida, where she records and plays old time music with family and friends.