Family, friends mourn loss of banjo player Corbett

Family and friends are mourning the loss of acclaimed banjo player and Montgomery County resident Greg Corbett. The 41-year-old died in his sleep Saturday morning, Aug. 23.

Greg Corbett plays banjo at MerleFest, Wilkes Co., N.C., in 2008. (photo from The Circuit Riders via MySpace)

Greg Corbett plays banjo at MerleFest, Wilkes Co., N.C., in 2008. (photo from The Circuit Riders via MySpace)

Corbett was known locally as a banjo prodigy, playing at a young age in groups like the Dark Mountain Band, based in Montgomery County.

In 1991, Corbett got his big break in music when he became banjo player with The Country Gentlemen, a bluegrass band founded in 1957 by Charlie Waller. Corbett remained with group until it disbanded after Waller’s death in 2004.

Following The Country Gentlemen, Greg Corbett and two other band mates formed a group called The Circuit Riders and released one CD in late 2006 before Corbett stopped regular touring.

Dozens of Corbett’s friends and West Montgomery High School classmates have posted remembrances on Facebook and other social media.

Bluegrass Today magazine’s blog editor, John Lawless, said Greg Corbett “was a big man, with a bigger heart, and was a friend to everyone he met.” Lawless said Corbett “is widely remembered in bluegrass both for his crisp playing and his outsized personality.”

Greg Corbett is survived by his wife, Amanda, and two children, Calvin and Kensy. As of this writing, funeral arrangements had not been announced.

UPDATE: Funeral services will be Thu., Aug. 28, at 3 p.m. at Long Hill Baptist Church, 637 Capelsie Rd., Candor, N.C. (off Pekin Rd., south of Troy). Click here to see the obituary from Pugh Funeral Home.

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