Conscious Party: Lloyd’s Large Time

LIKE FATHER, LIKE SON: The late Lloyd Johnson, left, was a beloved figure in the local music scene and inspired his son Steve, right, to pursue a career in the industry. The Lloyd Johnson Foundation carries on its namesake's legacy and holds a benefit concert March 29 at Isis Music Hall. Photo by Garrett Woodward

WHAT: A concert to benefit the Lloyd Johnson Foundation

WHEN: Thursday, March 29, 8 p.m.

WHERE: Isis Music Hall, 701 Haywood Rd.

WHY: Buncombe County native Lloyd Johnson performed in multiple bluegrass bands, including the Dixie Grass Band, but it was his passionate support of fellow musicians that set him apart in the community.

“My dad was a bit of character on the music scene in Western North Carolina,” says Steve Johnson. “He was close friends with many of the musicians in our area.”

Lloyd’s love of bluegrass also took him across the country and allowed him to forge lasting bonds with legends like Wayne Lewis, Bill Monroe and Don Reno. After Lloyd’s death in June 2017, the Lloyd Johnson Foundation was established “to provide education and career advancement opportunities to grow and nurture the musical spirit of Western North Carolina.”

On Thursday, March 29, at Isis Music Hall, the foundation presents Lloyd’s Large Time, a fundraiser to achieve those goals. Americana stalwart Jim Lauderdale will lead the event and share the stage with Sarah Burton, Si Kahn, Mark Bumgarner & Friends and The Po’ Ramblin’ Boys, as well as some surprise special guests.

The artist relations manager for Wilkes Community College/MerleFest, a co-host of MerleFest Radio Hour and a musician himself, Steve says his father “loved going to concerts at the Isis” and hopes the local music community will come out to support Lloyd’s legacy.

One of the fledgling nonprofit’s first endeavors will be serving as the primary sponsor of the band competition at MerleFest 2018, which Lloyd enjoyed attending each year and and where he looked forward to discovering new bands. The contest highlights local, national and international artists, and the winner earns a prime-time performance slot. The foundation is also establishing a memorial scholarship fund to help local artists further their education.

“My father introduced me to several different bluegrass musicians as I was growing up and that really sparked my interest in music,” Steve says. “We hope that this foundation can continue that same tradition of supporting people who are interested in pursuing a formal career in the music industry.”

Lloyd’s Large Time takes place Thursday, March 29, at 8 p.m. at Isis Music Hall. $20 advance/$25 day of show. isisasheville.com

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About Edwin Arnaudin
Edwin Arnaudin is a staff writer for Mountain Xpress. He also reviews films for ashevillemovies.com and is a member of the Southeastern Film Critics Association (SEFCA) and North Carolina Film Critics Association (NCFCA). Follow me @EdwinArnaudin

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