Charlie Cushman is based in Nashville, Tennessee and runs a Banjo Set-Up business when he is not on tour with Vince Gill. Charlie's obsession with the banjo started as early as the age of four and it was his grandfather who bought the first banjo for Charlie. Young Charlie began taking weekend lessons from a local picker who was the lead guitarist for Webb Pierce, but a pretty basic banjo player. Soon, Charlie started picking up his own material off of records and soon scared this teacher away.
At eight years old Charlie's life was filled with talent contests and marathon practice sessions alongside his trusty record player. At ten Charlie began performing on the Tennessee Valley Jamboree radio broadcast out of Waverly, TN. His first paying job was at Shakeys' Pizza Parlor in Clarksville, TN. At age 14 Charlie's playing abilities won him a regular spot on The Carl Tipton Show, broadcast on WLAC-TV in Nashville. Charlie became part of the accompanying unit for whatever guests were scheduled, a list that included the regal bluegrass presence of mandolinist Bill Monroe as well as the sculptured voice of Tennessee Ernie Ford. Not every guest wanted or needed banjo, so Charlie also learned both Guitar and Upright Bass.
Charlie has played with groups such as James Monroe & the Midnight Ramblers, Jimmy Martin & the Sunny Mountain Boys, and Mel Tillis & the Statesiders. His discography of recording sessions includes backup on an Andy Griffith project from 1986 to mid-1990. Charlie was part of the Opryland USA house band, featured on all of his instruments. One of his frequent playing partners is banjoist Mike Snider. Charlie and Mike worked together not only on The Grand Ole Opry but in the Mike Snider String Band. Charlie has participated in nearly all of the Pickin' On series of compilations in which bluegrass artists take on the rock and pop repertoire of Jimi Hendrix & Bruce Springsteen and others. After many years of playing the banjo Charlie has become one of today's best Banjo pickers in the country. Charlie's first individual CD Five String Time is now available.
Charlie is now working with the American Made Banjo Co. and Robin Smith. Charlie has created what he calls "A Great Banjo", using hand picked woods along with the impeccable craftsmanship of Robin Smith. Read more about the Charlie Cushman Signature Banjo, and view beautiful closeup photography of his instrument.
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