Troy McGuire of Todd, North Carolina, died on May 13 at the age of 47. The banjo player and carpenter was a member of the seventh generation of his family to live in Watauga County, North Carolina. He was deeply connected to the music of the Blue Ridge Mountains. While growing up, McGuire heard old-time music at family reunions and on recordings. He attributed early inspiration to an Albert Hash record, a tenth-birthday present from his father.
Moving home to the mountains after living in northern Virginia, McGuire was influenced by elder musicians including the Roan Mountain Hilltoppers, Stanley Hicks, Dave Sturgill, and Enoch Rutherford. He spent formative musical time with Dick Tarrier and Jim Ginski, of whom he said, in an interview with Mark Freed for the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area, “I came back to Boone at just the right time to hang around with all of those guys . . . Back when I could only play three tunes, they would play them all night with me.”
With fiddler Sam Gobble, whom he credited as being “my biggest mentor for tunes,” McGuire founded a weekly jam at the Todd General Store. McGuire played music with Gobble, Alex Hooker, and other friends for many years, and was a well-known figure in the Western North Carolina music scene.