Sleepy Man Banjo Boys on the David Letterman Show

Who’s your favorite late night host?

Well the easy answer for me is David Letterman and I’ll tell you why..

He really appreciates good music and has featured bluegrass on his show….
Tony Trischka, Steve Martin, Bela Fleck and now The Sleepy Man Banjo Boys.

These kids are from Lebanon Township, New Jersey, (right in my back yard). They are the Mizzone brothers: Jonny (age 10, banjo), Robbie (13, fiddle) and Tommy (15, guitar).

And they’ve already done more than most – besides playing on Letterman, they have appeared on the Dan Huckabee show three times, played the Grand Ole Opry, played on NBC’s Today Show, and this last February, ‘America’s Music’ debuted at #8 on Billboard’s Bluegrass Album Charts.

Very impressive.

Now the song in this video is the Flint Hill Special via Earl Scruggs- I got to say that Jonny on the banjo really has the spirit and that elusive soul that everyone tries to achieve on that instrument.. His timing just doesn’t let up and his tone is very reminiscent of Earl’s .

Robbie on fiddle obviously listened closely to Paul Warren’s fiddle break and really has it down here. I’m imagining that he’s listened and learned from a lot of the old greats. It’s too bad with all the sessions I did with Vassar right down the road from them that they couldn’t have met. I bet Vassar would have loved to have heard Robbie play.

Tommy is going to be a major force on guitar in my opinion. He’s a really good flatpicker and does a great job of holding down the rhythm, something that a 3 piece without a bass desperately needs. For this particular song, the melody is not in the wheelhouse for most flapickers, so good job goes to him on this one.

What I’m most happy to hear is the attention to the traditional sound, something that a lot of young bluegrass players skip over. I believe if you get this down, the sky’s the limit. It’s the drive that makes these instruments sound so good. Someone taught the Sleepy Man Banjo Boys right.

I know their youth has a lot to do with their popularity but, it really is very impressive how well they play .




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