Published On: Thu, Jan 23rd, 2014

The Civil War and the Banjo

Corbin Hayslett will present a talk and demonstration on the claw-hammer banjo on Friday, Jan. 31 at 7 p.m. in the Gallery at Clifton Forge School of the Arts, 518 Church Street. There is no charge. Open to all. For more information call 540-862-7275.
Appom II  BANJO STORY

Corbin Hayslett got his first banjo at age nine.

Corbin Hayslett is a 9th generation Virginian with familial and musical ties to the Clifton Forge area dating back centuries. Corbin grew up surrounded by music with his mother being a music director for multiple churches and giving piano lessons from in home, as well as his father’s singing and listening to music. Corbin got his first banjo at the age of 9 and by the end of the day had picked out several songs. Corbin has been playing music for a decade now and plays banjo (in multiple styles,) guitar, mandolin, upright bass, fiddle, jawharp, and various other instruments.

Hayslett has won numerous awards through competition including first place in banjo and/or vocals at Clifftop,W.V., Galax, VA., Rockbridge County Fair, Virginia State Fair, Appalachian State Fiddler’s Convention in Boone, N.C. and placing at various other venues in multiple categories. Hayslett is currently a member of the trio Mis’ry Creek out of Wise, VA and the U.V.A. Wise Bluegrass Ensemble based at The University of Virginia’s College at Wise where Hayslett is a sophomore studying history and Appalachian Studies.

During the past eight summers, Hayslett has volunteered and worked for the National Park Service at Appomattox Court House National Historic Park interpreting the banjo’s role during the Civil War era, the history of Joel Sweeney (popularizer of the banjo who hailed from Appomattox,) as well as playing period music for visitors while portraying a former Confederate soldier. Corbin has played for crowds as large as 8,000 but says his favorite venue is the amphitheater at Douthat State Park where Corbin has performed roughly a half dozen times. While playing throughout six states Hayslett has released two CDs. One is primarily Old-Time Music Standards, (Pickin’ My Path) while the other is banjo music of the early and middle 19th Century (Spirit of Sweeney). Corbin has also been on multiple radio and television stations such as WVTF Roanoke, WAMV Amherst, WYYD Lynchburg, WDBJ 7, WSET 13, Channel 55 WISE, WCYB 5 Kinstport, and various others.

Hayslett currently teaches in the JAMs (Junior Appalachian Musicians) program teaching elementary and middle-school students of Wise County Virginia to play clawhammer banjo, guitar, and fiddle after school. Hayslett also has nearly 25 private students weekly at Juste Music in Norton, VA. Corbin, whose family has called Clifton Forge and the surrounding area home for over five generations, is eager to come “home” to share some tunes and tails from his musical journey thus far.