Bill "Brad" Keith

(banjo - 3/1963-12/1963)
Photo by Jim Peva. Click for full version.

Born: 12/20/1939    Died: 10/23/2015

As a Blue Grass Boy: Bill Keith pioneered a melodic style which allowed him to play intricate fiddle tunes note for note on the banjo. Bill Monroe thought highly of his playing and rushed into the studio, recording with Keith just a few weeks after he joined the band. Both "Devil's Dream" and "Salt Creek" were released on singles. Monroe avoided the confusion of two Bills in the band by always introducing Keith as "Brad", a shortening of his middle name, Bradford.

Recording Sessions: 3/20/1963, 3/27/1963

Before and After: Keith's varied musical interests have led him in many directions. He was a member of the Jim Kweskin Jug Band in the late 60s, learned pedal steel, and has played in various groups with fellow Blue Grass Boy Peter Rowan, including the "Muleskinner" project and Rowan's solo album "The First Whippoorwill", as well as recording several solo albums of his own. He designed the "Keith tuners" for banjo and sold them under the Beacon Banjo name until his death in 2015.

Honors: IBMA Hall of Fame (2015)

Links: Beacon Banjo, Bill Keith's business
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