At present, Gina Furtado is most known for her banjo work with Chris Jones and the Night Drivers. That’s all about to change as she sets out this summer on a solo career with her own band.
She’s as innovative with her songwriting as she is with her banjo playing. She released her debut album, True Colors, in September 2017, and it debuted at #13 on Bluegrass Billboard Charts, producing two #1 songs on the Bluegrass Today Charts. She was subsequently featured on the cover of Banjo Newsletter in December 2017, along with her original tune “Saylor’s Creek”. She was nominated in 2018 for IBMA’s Banjo Player of the Year award, and is again up for the same award at the 2019 festivities.
Gina was born and raised in Front Royal, VA, where she got her musical start touring up and down the east coast with her siblings, earning countless ribbons from fiddlers conventions, and a strong reputation in the regional bluegrass scene. After a brief stint in Nashville at 18, she returned home to hone in on life and her craft. “Music has been a part of my life, my whole life,” she said. “I started with classical piano lessons when I was five.” As a home school child along with her siblings, music was the main focus of the curriculum. “That set the stage for being a musician as part of my identity,” she said.
Gina picked up the banjo at around 10 or 11 years old she remembers. “That’s when we really started to play out more – we really got the bluegrass bug – and did the whole family band thing for a few years up and down the east coast and a bunch of fiddler’s conventions. We did a lot of busking too,” she laughed.
Five or Six years ago Gina got serious about her music and joined a regional band, and realized that being a musician could be a viable livelihood. Not long after, she found herself joining the Night Drivers, launching her career full steam ahead.
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