It’s never easy to give up something that you enjoy and have done for the better part of your life, but sometimes you just know when it’s time to walk away. It has reached that point for Jim Fraley. This month, the longtime banjoist with North Carolina-based Deeper Shade of Blue bluegrass band is retiring.
“Due to some health issues and traveling a long ways, sometimes it has gotten to be more than I really want to do right now,” confessed the Monroe, NC resident.
Fraley, a southpaw, began picking as a teenager. “Actually watching Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs on Saturday evenings on TV was what really sparked my interest. I started playing around 1970 and actually started left-handed, but when I tried that, the fifth string was on the bottom of the neck so I just learned right-handed. At that time, I did not know they made left-handed banjos!”