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CHRIS DUFFY (1981)

Chris Duffy

1948 – Born on December 25th in Berlin, Germany.

1964 – Migrated with his parents to Australia.

Chris was one of the first generation of Bluegrass banjo players in Australia, along with people like Trevor Warner and the late Peter Hayes. He spent about half his working life as a full-time musician, and put in a few thousand hours on the road, and in studio work. After launching his early career as a backing musician for Australia’s best known country musicians, he toured in his own right on the Arts Council, folk festival and club circuits.

Chris was Australia’s first National Banjo Champion. He also had several years performing in professional musical theatre as a pit musician and stage performer, most notably in the two-year run in Australia of the musical hit “Big River”, as banjoist and guitarist. He has played on many movie sound tracks and written for TV shows. He had five albums released on the Larrikin label under his own name.

1981 – Inducted into the Hands of Fame.

In the 1980′s and 90′s he shook up the acoustic music fraternity by bringing artists to Australia and touring them. These artists include Dan Crary, Byron Berline, Vince Gill, Bill Keith and Mark O’ Connor, as well as Blues supremos John Hammond and Charlie Musselwhite.

He was forced to relinquish the music career in the mid 1990′s after a serious motorcycle smash. His recovery included intensive study of the Jazz guitar – swing and hard bop. He was developing a new spin on his banjo skills to incorporate modern jazz concepts.

He released a new CD in September 2011, which was a reflection on a long and successful career, as well as coming up with a new take on a few old warhorses. Chris developed a one man show that reflected all these interests and incorporates a musical tribute to some of the banjo vaudevillians of the 1930′s and 1950′s. Chris says he owes everything to the fine musicians who have spent time with him and shared their knowledge. In return, he taught and conducted workshops, and acted as mentor to younger players on the up and up.

Chris played a Crafters of Tennessee Maple Classic 5 banjo. His archtop guitars are a Benedetto Bravo de Luxe and a 1964 Guild X500 through Jazzkat and Tomkat amps. He also played a 2002 model Martin HD28 Vintage series with forward shifted braces.

2012 – Chris passed away on 25th July