Joe Newberry is a Missouri native and North Carolina transplant who has played music most of his life. Known far and wide for his powerful banjo work, he is a prizewinning guitarist, fiddler, and singer as well.
His banjo playing has won contests around the country, including first place at the Appalachian String Band Music Festival in Clifftop, West Virginia. His solo recording, “Two Hands,” drew well-deserved critical acclaim and serves as a showcase of his multiple talents.
Joe's songwriting is characterized by the same clean, elegant style as his banjo playing. Musicians in the folk and bluegrass world often record his songs. The Gibson Brothers included two of Joe's compositions, “Jericho” and “I Know Whose Tears,” on their 2009 recording, “Ring the Bell,” and his song "Singing As We Rise," on the 2010 recording, "Help My Brother." "Singing As We Rise," which features guest vocalist Ricky Skaggs, won the 2012 IBMA "Gospel Recorded Performance" award.
Joe plays with the string band Big Medicine, in a duo with mandolin master Mike Compton, and along with Mike, performs with Bruce Molsky and Rafe Stefanini as the Jumpsteady Boys. A special side project pairs Joe with old-time music legends Bill Hicks, Mike Craver, and Jim Watson. The four musicians play to enthusiastic audiences around the country as often as their busy individual schedules permit.
Joe grew up in Boone County, Missouri. His dad’s family loved to sing -- old Ozark songs, sacred songs, and popular songs of the day. His mother's family loved dancing, singing, and fiddling. He took up the guitar as a boy and learned fiddle tunes from great Missouri fiddlers. Banjo came a few years later. He came to North Carolina in 1982 and quickly became an anchor of the incredible old-time music scene in the state. Still going strong more than 30 years later, he does solo and studio work, and plays and teaches at festivals and workshops in North America and abroad.