This year is the 50th anniversary of mandolin player Tony Williamson’s recording career. Throughout the years, he has played with bluegrass legends like Bill Monroe, Ricky Skaggs and Sam Bush. But in the 1980s, Williamson suffered a series of accidents and injuries, and a surgeon told him he would never play the mandolin again. He went through a long transition that included experimenting with Chinese medicine, a spiritual awakening and trying to look at the world a little differently.
Host Frank Stasio talks to Williamson about his music, his accident, and his store Mandolin Central, through which he trades and sells antique mandolins and other instruments. Williamson was profiled in the North Carolina Arts Council’s 50 for 50 project. He also received a 2018 North Carolina Heritage Award. He will be performing at the 2018 North Carolina Heritage Award ceremony on Wednesday, May 23, at the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts in Raleigh.