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Obituary, Death Renowned Bluegrass Banjo Player James Mills Passes Away: A Legendary Musician and Authority on Pre-War Gibson Banjos Leaves a Lasting Legacy in the Music Industry

Obituary, Death Renowned Bluegrass Banjo Player James Mills Passes Away: A Legendary Musician and Authority on Pre-War Gibson Banjos Leaves a Lasting Legacy in the Music Industry

James Mills, a highly acclaimed American musician and banjo player, passed away on May 5, 2024, at the age of 57. His death has sent shockwaves through the music industry, with fans and fellow musicians mourning the loss of a true legend.

Mills was born and raised in Durham, North Carolina, and began playing the banjo at a young age. He was heavily influenced by the three-finger style popularized by Earl Scruggs and went on to become one of the most skilled and respected banjo players in the bluegrass genre.

Throughout his illustrious career, Mills played with some of the biggest names in bluegrass music, including Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder, with whom he spent 14 years as the band’s banjo player. He also had a successful solo career, releasing three albums and contributing to numerous recordings by other artists.

In addition to his musical talents, Mills was a renowned expert on pre-war Gibson banjos, and his knowledge and expertise in this area were unmatched. He owned several rare and valuable Gibson Mastertone banjos, including the famous “Mack Crow” banjo, which was the only factory-produced gold-plated RB-75 ever made by Gibson.

Mills’ passion for pre-war Gibson banjos led him to write a book on the subject, titled “Gibson Mastertones: Flathead 5-String Banjos of the 1930s and 1940s,” which was published in 2009. The book is considered a definitive guide to these iconic instruments and is highly sought after by collectors and enthusiasts.

Throughout his career, Mills won numerous awards and accolades for his music, including six IBMA Banjo Player of the Year awards and six Grammy Awards. He was also a member of the IBMA’s Hall of Honor and was widely regarded as one of the greatest banjo players of all time.

Mills’ legacy extends far beyond his music and expertise on pre-war Gibson banjos. He was a mentor and inspiration to countless young musicians and was known for his kindness, generosity, and willingness to share his knowledge and expertise with others.

In the wake of his passing, the music industry is coming together to pay tribute to James Mills and celebrate his life and legacy. His music and contributions to the world of bluegrass will be remembered and cherished for generations to come, and his influence will continue to be felt by musicians and fans alike.

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