Jake Blount is an award-winning banjoist, fiddler, singer and scholar based in Providence, RI. He is half of the internationally touring duo Tui and a 2020 Strathmore Artist in Residence. Although he is proficient in multiple performance styles, he specializes in the music of Black and indigenous communities in the southeastern United States, and in the regional style of Ithaca, New York. He foregrounds the experiences of queer people and people of color in his work. He has studied with modern masters of old-time music, including Bruce Molsky, Judy Hyman (of the Horse Flies), and Rhiannon Giddens and Hubby Jenkins (of the GRAMMY-winning Carolina Chocolate Drops).
In 2016, Blount became the first Black person to make the finals at the prestigious Appalachian String Band Music Festival (better known as Clifftop), and the first to win in the traditional band category. In the following year, he received his B.A. in Ethnomusicology from Hamilton College and released his debut EP, Reparations, with award-winning fiddler Tatiana Hargreaves. He toured Scandinavia and released a CD with the Moose Whisperers in 2018. He opened several shows for MacArthur “Genius Grant” recipient Rhiannon Giddens the same year, and joined Libby Weitnauer to form the duo Tui while on a tour of Australia and New Zealand. In 2019, Tui released their debut album, Pretty Little Mister, and Blount claimed first place in the banjo contest at Clifftop with three tunes from Black banjoists. He will release his first full-length solo album, Spider Tales, on Free Dirt Records & Service Co. on May 29, 2020. It is now available for pre-order.
Blount has shared his music and research at the Smithsonian Institution, Yale University, and Berklee School of Music, among other venues and institutions. He has also appeared on Radiolab. He regularly teaches fiddle and banjo at camps like the Augusta Heritage Center’s Old-Time Week, the Ashokan Center’s Old-Time Rollick, and Earful of Fiddle Music and Dance Camp.