BELMONT - The 2013 winner of the International Home of the Legends Thumbpicking Competition, Dan Bankhurst, will be performing Saturday, Nov. 16 at 7 p.m. at the Belmont Gym in Belmont, Ohio. Local musicians and retired Union Local teachers, Dan Mumma and Jim Norman will also perform, along with Wheeling native and Ohio University Eastern instructor Kim Butler. Tickets are $10, and proceeds will benefit the local park and playgrounds. Doors open at 6 p.m.
Bankhurst is a fingerstyle guitarist, a style of guitar playing made famous by Merle Travis, Chet Atkins, and Jerry Reed. Originally setting out to become an electric guitarist, Bankhurst branched out to jazz as a teenager. He branched out another direction after that.
"It was about two years ago that I heard Chet Atkins play for the first time, and I was immediately hooked," Bankhurst said. "I immersed myself in learning as much as I possibly could about Chet's amazing technique, phrasing, and beautiful arrangements, which then led me to discover the great Tommy Emmanuel. One of the highlights of my career has been playing with Tommy, and I've also had the pleasure of sitting in with renowned jazz guitarists Frank Vignola and Vinnie Raniolo."
Bankhurst recently recorded his first CD in Nashville. It was recorded and produced by one of the best modern fingerstyle guitarists, Pete Huttlinger, who is also known for playing guitar for John Denver and Leann Rimes. After the recording, Huttlinger posted, "... let me tell you, Dan is the one to watch! He is an amazing young guitarist. Such depth and soul in his playing."
After opening recently for Phil Keaggy at a concert in Ohio, Keaggy remarked, "Dan is a very gifted guitarist and has a true musical mind and heart. The audience loved his set, and I was equally impressed with his performance! I see an ever promising future for Dan as he is top notch in his field of guitar playing."
Dan Mumma and Jim Norman are retired Union Local teachers (and Mumma was also principal). They played together for almost ten years. Prior to that, Mumma played in a local band named Utah and Norman played in numerous bands during his college days at West Liberty. Norman also played in the Union Local jazz band and taught guitar to his students.
Kim Butler has been part of the Ohio Valley music scene for years and was part of the duo, Kim and Ed, in the 70's. For the past several years, he has played in the acoustic guitar trio, Bridges, with Doug and Dave Pettit. Butler currently teaches exercise physiology and a guitar class at Ohio University's Eastern Campus.
Belmont Gym is at the corner of Brown Street and Third Street in the village of Belmont, Ohio, which is about three miles south of I-70, exit 208.