Kyle Creed was a man of many dimensions. He built and ran his own country store, organized wagon trains and string bands, carpentered across the United States (and Iceland!), built banjos, and played outstanding fiddle and banjo.
From his first recording in 1965 to his appearances at fiddle contests and festivals, his clean, concise banjo resonated among banjo players across the country and was quickly picked up by the younger players. Today his style can be widely heard on contest stages, in the fields behind, and on the CDs of the musicians who play in his style. He is one of the three major banjo players – along with Fred Cockerham and Tommy Jarrell – who were the old time roots of the Round Peak style.
"The music is clean and beautifully played and so much a joy to hear that I would call it a must for both its musical as well as educational and historic value...Don't miss this one." Dan Levenson, Banjo Newsletter
Ifd you're interested in learning Kyle Creed style clawhammer, here's one place to start." Bob Carlin, Banjo Newsletter.
One distinctive feature of Kyle’s playing was that he played over the neck, his first finger never over the head, and the thumb hitting the strings as low as the twelfth fret. He was the only old-time banjo player that Charlie Faurot recorded from 1956 to 1972 who played that way. That list includes the Round Peak group of Kyle, Tommy Jarrell, Fred Cockerham, Gilmer Woodruff, and Esker Hutchins. It also includes other great clawhammer players such as Lily May Ledford, Willard Watson, Gaither Carlton, Buell Kazee, Woody Wachtell (who learned from Rufus Crisp), Sydna Myers, Matokie Slaughter, Mildred Thompson, Glen Smith, George Stoneman, and Wade Ward. Kyle didn’t have a problem with his thumb hitting the fingerboard because he set up his banjos with a high action so that the strings near the rim had lots of clearance.
While Kyle never made a scooped out neck, but he definitely spawned the concept. Other people who played over the neck did have a problem because of the low action on their “regular” banjos.. In the early 1970s, several young banjo builders began making banjos with scooped-out necks which give the player room for his thumb and fingers.
After the release of his first recording, County Records 701, CLAWHAMMER BANJO, musicians began to seek him out to learn his style. One of these, Tom Mylet, bcame good friends with him in the1970s, so close that, when Tom came by, they’d sit out on Kyle’s back porch and, using Kyle’s recording machine, record their sessions.