Bob Black

Bluegrass banjo player
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Bob BlackBob Black is nationally-renowned bluegrass banjo player who has recently written a book, "Come Hither to Go Yonder: Playing Bluegrass with Bill Monroe." (University of Illinois Press). In 2002, he was awarded the Iowa Arts Council’s Arts Build Communities Award in the Traditional Arts.

Born in Des Moines, Bob began playing banjo at age 15. He moved to Iowa City in the 1970s to play in The Bluegrass Union, a band that also included fiddler Alan Murphy. From there he went straight to Nashville and played with the legendary Bill Monroe and the Bluegrass Boys from 1974-1976.

Bob is not only a world-class bluegrass banjo player, but he is also one of the few banjo players who plays a style called melodic. He knows and plays fiddle tunes better than almost any other banjo player. He has recorded two solo albums, Ladies on the Steamboat (1979) and Banjoy (1999). Bob tours nationally with the band Perfect Strangers, plays locally with The Banjoy Band, and with his wife, Kristie Black.

Bob, along with Kristie, Al and Aleta Murphy, and Guy, Hannah, and Megan Drollinger, is part of the Old Time Music program for the Department of Cultural Affairs Cultural Express program. He and the others are a critical part of the eastern Iowa old time music scene and play for local festivals, jams, dances, and coffee houses.

Contact: Bob Black, North English, IA, 319.639.2441,,,