Marc Pruett grew up in the mountains of Western North Carolina. This Southern Appalachian Region has long been a hot-bed for traditional arts and folk music.
When Marc was first learning to play mountain string-band music, artists like Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs, Bill Monroe, the Stanley Brothers and Jimmy Martin regularly played the area to well attended audiences. These and other great mountain folk artists were the ones to which Marc Pruett listened and tried to emulate.
“The day I got the 45 (rpm) of Flatt and Scruggs playing “Mama Don’t Allow,” I spent 5 and 1/2 hours on the banjo breaks until I had them down pretty close! That little climbing 7th run that Earl did in the second break covered me up!”
In high school, Marc Pruett played his 5-string banjo at many programs of the day…talent contests, fiddlers conventions, churches, street dances and the like. When he was 15 years old, he accepted an invitation to play his first professional job. It was at Ghost Town in Maggie Valley, NC in the late 1960’s that Marc tenured for three summer seasons with the staff band at the Red Barn Playhouse that was headed up by the legendary Pan-Handle Pete (James Howard Nash) of the “one-man-band” fame.
“Pete was a master showman! I learned so much from studying his stage work…like how to pace a show and match presentation and material to an audience in ways that make entertainment happen effectively.”
Marc Pruett “picked” his way through college at Western Carolina University, and while earning a B.S. Degree in Geology, he had a chance to work for a season with James Monroe, son of Grand Ole Opry star, Bill Monroe.
“I played on some fun programs with James….got to meet a lot of people. I remember it was at Ralph Stanley’s in McClure, Virginia in 1973 that I had the chance to visit with Ricky Skaggs and get to be buddies with him. That next year (1974), we went...more about Marc Pruett