The Herald Bulletin

February 9, 2013

Traveling teen banjo player coming to Anderson

Boy got instrument inspiration from Nintendo game

The Herald Bulletin

ANDERSON, Ind. — Jeremy Morris didn’t want a party for his seventh birthday. He wanted a banjo.

“We had to custom order one cause he was a little guy,” recalled his father, Brian.

“We got him what they call a travel banjo, which is two-thirds the size of a regular one.”

Now 15, Morris, of Westfield, is traveling the country and scheduled to appear on such shows as “Ellen” and “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.”

Morris picked up a banjo thanks to a video game.

“I had a Nintendo 64 way back when and I had this game called Banjo-Kazooie,” Jeremy told WISH TV’s Indystyle show.

“There’s a baron and whenever he did something good, he’d pull out a banjo and play it.”

He won his first open-class competition at 8. By 2011, he produced his first bluegrass CD with Grammy award winner Clay Hess, who toured with Ricky Skaggs. Jeremy Morris and the Harvest Road band will be part of the lineup for the 24th Annual Bluegrass Festival.

The festival will begin at noon Saturday, Feb. 16, at the Rangeline Community Center, 1405 N. Rangeline Road. Admission is $10 with those under 12 admitted free.

Morris and the band will play at 4 p.m. Before that, the schedule begins at noon with Mountain Laurel Acoustic Band, followed by Common Ground at 1 p.m., Cumberland Gap at 2 p.m., Blue Mafia at 3 p.m. and Lifeboat at 5 p.m.

Morris, who attends Westfield high School, is getting bookings across the country so this may be one of the better times to see him locally.

Two weeks ago, his father noted that even though his son is getting national recognition, some school officials were unaware of Jeremy’s banjo picking.

“He’s the most humble kid you’ll ever meet,” said Brian. “His school until this week was unaware that he even played music ... he doesn’t say anything about it.”