Duffy Keith, playing banjo
composer
recording artist

 

welcome to duffy keith's website

I was born in Montclair, New Jersey in 1946, and grew up in Darien, Connecticut as "Walter Keith". My Dad named me Duffy after the 1940's radio show called "Duffy's Tavern".   My first memories of playing music were of picking out simple tunes on the piano when I was 5 or 6 years old.  After that, I can remember singing harmony with a friend in the third grade, and thinking how fun it was.

As a Cub Scout, I became the pack bugler when I was about eight or nine. This led to playing in the drum and bugle corps and I can remember marching in parades and playing the bugle.  This then led to a pattern which has been going on most of my life -- that of constantly learning to play new instruments.  Many times a musician in a group would quit or not show up, and I would make an attempt to play the missing instrument. It always seemed fairly easy to pick up the basics by watching and listening, and over the years, I learned more and more technique as time went by. I then began to study drums and percussion in the Darien School music system, and for those interested, I studied under Luther Thompson and Tony Chirco.

All through Junior High School I played in bands, as well as for many a dance. When Folk Music became popular in the early 60's, of course I had to go out and learn to play the five-string banjo, which led to my becoming part of a number of  folk music singing groups. I continued this all through High School and went on to a series of  Colleges, where the music always seemed to be of higher importance than the books.

After high school  I moved to Boulder, Colorado to attend the University of Colorado, where I studied Russian and Geology. Through these years,  I was always composing my own material, playing in coffee houses and with the occasional Rock ‘n Roll band, and performing music by many of the popular artists of the time. In the early 70's, I recorded an album of my songs at Philo records, in North Ferrisburg, Vermont, and put out a single 45 recording of a couple of songs that got some radio airplay. I performed this music for a few years, and then took a hiatus from the music business for a number of  years.

I had decided that I needed to take a break after so many years of music, and I began to dislike traveling and working late at night. I wanted a "normal" life.....!   I went to school in the mid-80's to study Aircraft Mechanics, and got a pilot’s license with the idea of becoming an aviation mechanic.  Finding work was difficult, so I started doing carpentry and light construction work, but still playing  music from time to time. In the late 90's, a friend asked me to attend an "Old Time" jam, playing guitar, along with fiddles, banjos, and mandolins.  I soon became a member in several of these bands, and began to learn fiddle and mandolin.  I became a sound engineer, and since then have been doing sound and recordings with these groups, as well as playing for many contra dances and at other social venues.