On Feb. 9, Tommy Mizzone from the Sleepy Man Banjo Boys chatted via telephone about the bluegrass group’s accomplishments and future plans in music. The trio of brothers consists of 10-year old Jonny Mizzone on banjo, 13-year old Robbie on fiddle and 15-year old Tommy on guitar.
They were born and raised in New Jersey and were inspired by such iconic acts as Flatt and Scruggs, as well as the Stanley Brothers. “We all love Earl Scruggs and Ralph Stanley is amazing,” he stated.
In 2011, they released their debut studio album “America’s Music” independently and it went on to sell more than 8,000 units and it even reached No. 8 on the Billboard Bluegrass Album Charts. “We made that album and it was really cool. We were really thrilled about how well it did. We were privileged to have that happen with our first album,” he said.
They have performed at such world renowned venues as The Grand Ole Opry, the Ryman Auditorium and Carnegie Hall. “The Grand Ole Opry was fantastic and it is probably our favorite place that we have played so far. Carnegie Hall was equally awesome as the Opry,” he remarked.
The Sleepy Man Banjo Boys have also been profiled on such nationally aired television shows as “Late Night with David Letterman,” “The Today Show” and “The Mike Huckabee Show,” among many others. “We had a video on YouTube go viral and we got calls from all of these television shows,” he explained.
Their YouTube channel has accumulated more than 14 million views and they have a dedicated Facebook following of over 33,000 fans. “This is really amazing. That viral video started it all,” he said.
He noted that his youngest brother Jonny started playing the banjo at the age of six and he has become a banjo prodigy ever since. “It is pretty amazing as to how good Jonny got really fast,” he acknowledged.
They have opened for veteran bluegrass star Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder, Tony Rice and Mountain Heart and they have played with J.D. Crow and Steve Martin. “After Earl Scruggs passed away, we were part of his tribute how and we played there with Steve Martin. Almost every single banjo player was there,” he said.
Tommy noted that he and his brothers would love to someday collaborate with Alison Krauss and Union Station. “We love Alison Krauss. We’ve always thought really highly of her and we would like to do something with her someday,” he said.
In addition, they have raised over $6,000 for the poor families in the Appalachia region of West Virginia and Orphan and Widow charity through merchandise sales. “We are Christians and we support that charity,” he said.
To learn more about the Sleep Man Banjo Boys, visit their official website.