Photo via GordonStoneMusic.com
Banjoist and bandleader Gordon Stone – known by many in the jam world for his collaborations with the likes of Phish, moe., Strangefolk and Max Creek – has died.
Vermont Jazz Radio host David Beckett broke the news on July 12, writing, “If I had a nickel for every evening I was delighted by his playing at Hunts on Main Street in Burlington, I’d be wealthy. He elevated every group he played in.”
“Heartbroken to hear of the passing of Vermont legend Gordon Stone. Gordon was a kind, gentle soul and an elegant musician,” Phish’s Trey Anastasio said upon hearing of his passing.
Stone was a graduate of Boston’s Berklee College of Music and he released a total of six studio albums through his career.
Phish’s Mike Gordon took banjo lessons from the late musician as early as 1992, and Stone’s namesake band eventually performed at marquee Phish events like The Clifford Ball, The Great Went and Lemonwheel. T.A.B. drummer Russ Lawton also logged some time in the Gordon Stone Band.
Explained Gordon via social media, “I took my first banjo lessons from [Stone], and pedal steel, too. He was in my first solo band, The Drop Caps, with [Scott Murawski] and Greg DeGuglielmo, for a show, and on my Inside In album and first solo tour. Twelve years ago when Sue and I got married it was the sound of his pedal steel before and after the ceremony. He was a long time friend and mentor. I will miss you, Gordon!”
According to Phish.net, Stone’s banjo and pedal steel skills can be heard on the A Picture of Nectar recording of “Poor Heart” and as well as Rift‘s “Fast Enough for You.” Stone also performed alongside Gordon for his 2003 solo project Inside In.
In the live setting, Stone guested with Phish on 11/19/92 and 7/22/93, adding pedal steel to “Poor Heart” for the former and playing banjo on a string of songs (“Paul and Silas”> “The Man Who Stepped Into Yesterday”> “Avenu Malkenu”> “Rocky Top”) for the latter.
More recently, the bluegrass maestro jammed with moe. at Burlington, VT’s Higher Ground (10/10/06), a gig that also featured Phish’s Page McConnell.
Outside of the jam world, Stone won an Emmy Award for his work on the soundtrack of Jay Craven’s VPT series, “Windy Acres.”
Check out a photo of Stone jamming with Phish, watch him perform in 2005 with his namesake band and listen to his studio work with Phish below: