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Levy County emergency official to make Letterman appearance

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Mark Johnson turns his attention to the banjo when he isn’t busy coordinating safety procedures and provisions in his office as Levy County’s Director of Emergency Management. The twangy five-stringed instrument has been his hobby since he was 14.

Elizabeth Odom – WUFT-FM

Levy County’s Director of Emergency Management Mark Johnson poses with his banjo. He is set to play on “The Late Show” with David Letterman later this month.

Johnson was a nominee for Instrumental Album of the Year by the International Bluegrass Music Association in Nashville in 2007. He’s adapted his own playing style over time, a blend of bluegrass and clawhammer picking to form a new breed of banjo music that he calls “Clawgrass.”

Now he’s being honored for his musical innovation.

Johnson is a 2012 recipient of the Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Banjo and Bluegrass, which is named after the famed actor and comedian. Martin, a banjo enthusiast and fellow musician, is in his third year of handing down the $50,000 award.

Johnson and Martin will appear on “The Late Show” with host David Letterman this month, where the two will also give a live performance.

Check out Johnson’s playing at his website.

George Pappas wrote this story online.

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