Levy County emergency official to make Letterman appearance
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.
More Stories in Arts and Entertainment
The vinyl records market has been revived. Business at local record stores has followed an upward trend with the resurgence of a younger audience.
Women are entering the Gainesville punk subculture as an alternative to the mainstream norm. According to Rose Vastola, lead singer of UV-TV, Gainesville welcomes creativity regardless of gender.
Gainesville resident Thomas Sanders has produced about 800 Vine videos and amassed an army of 5.8 million followers on the social app. Despite this new-found fame, Sanders is still an active member of the local community.
The Hippodrome Theatre is receiving a $30,000 grant from the National Endowment of the Arts. The grant will be used toward the production and creation of the community-centered work “The Hidden Sayings”.
Blues legend B.B. King died at the age of 89 on Thursday. King has performed at the Cotton Club and the Phillips Center in Gainesville.