Lamar Keen - Mandolin
Lamar lives in Cairo, Georgia, with his faithful dog, Dingo. He works at Grady EMC as
a lineman, and he is often on call when bad weather approaches. He has been playing guitar
and mandolin for many years and has quite a knowledge of traditional bluegrass to bring
to the group.
He sings tenor and is the "vocal coach" of the group, arranging the harmony parts to
most songs. He has a gem of a mandolin made by Randy Wood of Bloomingdale, Georgia,
and he can play it in any key. The band members all think it sounds phenomenal,
and Lamar enjoys playing it very much.
Lamar was born in Bradenton, Florida in 1948. His musical career started when he
was very young. His mother bought him a Stella guitar for $13.00, and it was years
later before he could afford another one. He then obtained a 1952 Martin D28, which
he played in Florida, the Carolinas, and eventually the New England area, with his
friend, C. E. Pullen. He later played at Universal Studios in California with his
late friend James Dockery, to whom he owes a lot of his musical knowledge and
Lamar switched to banjo for a couple of years, but he now says that was not his
calling. He then switched to mandolin and stayed with it. His first professional
playing job was with Charlie Moore and the Dixie Partners.
He has been blessed through the years to be around some of the best bluegrass
musicians and jam with them, including the late Bill Monroe. He got to play Bill's
old Loar F-5, and Bill offered it to him to play for a while.
Lamar says he is surrounded by a great bunch of guys in Blue Holler and is thankful
to be a member of the group. He sends out thanks also to his mother for never telling
him to "put that thing in the case."