Photo of John Haywood

John Haywood

Fiddle Tunes


banjo and fiddle

John Haywood is a banjo-playing tattoo and folk artist in Whitesburg, Kentucky. He owns and operates the Parlor Room Tattoo and Art Gallery – a tattoo shop that draws visitors from all over the world to Letcher County into the far southeastern corner of Kentucky. “Many come for a tattoo, and some to experience a little bit of our culture,” Haywood says of his shop. John attended the Old Regular Baptist Church with his papaw, where he heard him sing the old unaccompanied songs of Zion. He has studied with banjo master and historian George Gibson, played solo, and joined multiple bands. A curious musician, he’s spent the past two decades moving from project to project, ranging from Traditional Kentucky music to garage metal to pop punk. At the workshop, John will offer a closer look at old-time banjo techniques such as up-picking, drop-thumb and two-finger style while focusing on the repertoires of such legendary Kentucky banjo players as George Gibson, Lee Sexton, Morgan Sexton and Roscoe Holcomb, among others. “There is a common bond that holds us all here, a voice, a heritage, and a connection to the landscape,” Haywood says of fellow eastern Kentuckians. “If I’m sittin’ with someone we might not have a thing to talk about, but if you’ve got a fiddle and I’ve got a banjo we could spend 3 hours together and just become best friends.”

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