Lee Sexton

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Lee Sexton (born 1928, in Letcher County, Kentucky) is an American Banjo player from Letcher County, Kentucky. He began playing the banjo at the age of eight and is proficient in the two-finger picking and "drop-thumb" (clawhammer)[1] traditional styles of east Kentucky. He also sings. His Whoa Mule album includes recordings from a 1952 home recording with fiddler Fernando Lusk to recordings made in 2001. Four solo songs also appear on Smithsonian Folkways album Mountain Music of Kentucky.

In 1999 Kentucky governor Paul Patton presented Lee with the Governor's Award in the Arts.

Career[edit]

Lee Sexton worked as a field hand to earn the $1 he needed to buy his first banjo when he was eight years old. He received lessons from his father and uncles, one of whom was Morgan Sexton, the revered banjo player with a liquid and serene two-finger picking style.[2] Growing up, Lee worked in the mines during the week and played his banjo on weekends, usually for house parties or corn shuckings.[3] When Lee was 23 years old his right hand was crushed in a mining accident, forcing him to start playing the banjo with a new style of drop thumbing that he developed himself.[4] By the 1940s he had migrated his career to the radio. In 1988, he released his EP titled "Whoa Mule"; it was later turned into a CD in 2004.

Family[edit]

Lee Sexton is married to Opal Sexton. Together they had no children, but Lee had 2 sons from a previous marriage. The oldest, Johnny, is an ordained minister. The youngest, Phillip, continued to pursue a musical interest with his father until his untimely death in September 2000.

Documentary[edit]

A documentary film is being made about Lee and his wife Opal, directed by Jeff SIlva and Vic Rawlings.[5]

External links[edit]

References[edit]