Brad Farmer was a beloved member of the Raleigh bluegrass community. He was a performer, teacher, jam leader and friend to us all. Brad passed away unexpectedly on August 17, 2023. He was 36 years old.
“Brad was a kind, gentle soul and a very gifted guitarist,” said banjo player Hank Smith of the band Hank, Pattie & the Current. Hank and Brad played together most every Tuesday night at Beer & Banjos at The Raleigh Times. That’s where Jef Walter first met Brad. “Brad’s playing was natural, authentic, and sincere,” wrote Jef Walter. He plays bass at Beer & Banjos and leads jams for PineCone. “Brad had a lot of technical and music theory knowledge that propelled his music but playing with Brad never felt academic; it always felt like it was coming from a very real place. You could tell how Brad was feeling, or what he was thinking about, by listening to his playing that night.”
Brad moved to Raleigh soon after completing a Masters of Music in Guitar Performance at ECU. He taught private lessons, worked with music students at Wake Tech and lead jam sessions. PineCone had just recently started up a new series of jams that Brad lead with Tray Wellington at Riparian in Raleigh.
“As a jam leader and guitar instructor he was kind, nurturing, and made a place for players of all experience levels to get up there and pick,” said Jef Walter.
Marcel Adams says he met Brad soon after arriving in Raleigh. “He went out of his way to make sure I had a good time and felt welcome in town. It was a very kind gesture that I haven’t forgotten.”
Brad’s parents Cindy and Lester Farmer reached out to PineCone about establishing a scholarship in Brad’s honor. As such we are collecting donations in Brad’s name that will be used to pay for music lessons for people of all ages interested in playing acoustic instruments.
Donations can be made here or by mail to PineCone, PO Box 28534, Raleigh, NC 27611.
Information about how to receive a Brad Farmer Scholarship will be forthcoming.