Jeff Hames started learning the mountain dulcimer and honoring its musical beginnings at the age of nine by watching his grandparents play. As Jeff grew so did his love of music and his ability to play songs that were not customarily played on a mountain dulcimer.
Jeff began studying under David Schnaufer at the Blair School of Music. His education continued for six years during which time David introduced Jeff to the history of the mountain dulcimer and the music that could be made on this very versatile instrument.
During 8th grade Jeff was asked to play traditional music for a video his class wrote, performed and produced. The project, titled Natchez Trace Television, is part of the Tracing Our Trace project funded by the National Geographic Society and the Mississippi Department of Education. It was distributed to all of the schools in the state of Mississippi as a learning tool on the Natchez Trace. Also, he became listed as an artisan for the school district and requested by teachers and students to perform programs at the schools.
At the age of 14, Jeff placed 2nd at the Jimmy Rogers Memorial Festival with his version of Black Mountain Rag that included blinding speed and intricate string bends. This same year Jeff placed 1st at the Neshoba County Fair Youth Talent Competition by playing Bill Monroe's Blue Moon of Kentucky.
Jeff won the 2006 Southern Regional Mountain Dulcimer Competition held in Mountain View, AR. and in September of that same year became the 2006 National Mountain Dulcimer Champion by winning the National Contest held in Winfield, KS. Along with his active calendar he was also very involved with music at his school and church. He played the clarinet and mountain dulcimer in his high school band.
In his sophomore year the high school marching band played a rendition of Aaron Copeland's Hoe Down that included a dulcimer solo played by Jeff. This was a first in marching band history and had everyone talking about the mountain dulcimer. The band took their show to competitions and was rated All Superior at every competition they attended.
At a Beginners Workshop in 2007
Here is what the One World Blue Songwriter Review by Talent Director Russell Johnson, Renowned and Acclaimed JRJ Productions Founder, has to say:
"Jeff Hames received his first dulcimer when he was nine years old from his grandfather who hand made it from a McSpadden Kit. The dulcimer came about because Jeff had a broken wrist injury that prevented him from playing the guitar. This began a whole new path of his musical history."
"Before long Jeff was lucky enough and talented enough to receive personal lessons from David Schnaufer, one of the world’s premier dulcimer players, for more than six years. He learned this unique instrument from the ground up. Currently playing between seven and thirteen festivals a year, Jeff Hames has become a much sought after dulcimer player in the country."
"His Unique approach to the instrument has gone far outside the normal expectations of a dulcimer player, which is typically Folk & Bluegrass. Not only does he play Folk & Bluegrass music exceptionally, but also renditions of The Beatles, Beach Boys, The Righteous Brothers, and even yes, Guns N' Roses, among many other signature artists in his Amazing and Dynamically Skilled repertoire."
"His career is blossoming and he is becoming renowned: having won the Southeast regional championship in 2006 and 2013, the Texas State Championship in 2005, and most importantly the National Championship in 2006 and 2013. He is only one of three that have won the National Championship twice. He aims to be the only one to win it three times in a career and he plans that this year. Jeff has also been elite to share the stage with Dan Delancy and Linda Thomas at the Walnut Valley Festival."
"Currently touring behind his two albums, Its Dulcimer Time and One for a Friend, which is dedicated to David Schnaufer."
Jeff plays for audiences with his dulcimer to rave reviews.
"Jeff has also been featured on the Wood Song Old Time Radio hour, which has increased his outreach, listeners and notoriety. Currently living in Madison Mississippi just outside of Jackson, Jeff lives in the heart of the country that appreciates and upholds the dulcimer, a unique and enchanting instrument. His renowned playing has also led him to be featured in the Key West Collaboration."
"If you are fortunate, you may catch him in dulcimer Jamborees & festivals around the country. It will be an experience that will fill your mind as lasting memories to cherish."
Russell Johnson Talent and Production Director One World Blue Blupela Media