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Country: Bluegrass Folk: Folk Pop Moods: Mood: Upbeat

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United States - North Carolina

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Doug Pratt

Doug Pratt is an independent musician, author, and illustrator living in Cary, North Carolina. He recently retired from a distinguished career as an ornithologist (birds), with a PhD in zoology from Louisiana State University (1979), followed by positions at the LSU Museum of Natural Science (1979-2005) and the North Carolina State Museum of Natural Sciences (2005-2011). He has authored and/or illustrated dozens of books and research papers, and continues to work on new titles, but lately has begun a second career in music. He was born in Charlotte, and grew up in a family that appreciated making music. He learned to play the autoharp first from his paternal grandmother, Julia Foy Pratt, and later through the media was influenced by Maybelle Carter, Mike Seeger, Bill Clifton, and Kilby Snow. He and his sister Julie Pratt Blackwell grew up harmonizing as part of their family band, and at Davidson College formed a trio called the Tom Cat Ramblers, never thinking that the autoharp had any musical boundaries. For three decades he never met another autoharp player, and found little recorded that he wanted to emulate, so his unique style continued to evolve on its own, with the result that his playing cannot be compared easily to that of any other modern player. He first became aware of autoharp contests in the early 21st Century, and on his third try, won the International Autoharp Contest at the Walnut Valley Festival, Winfield, KS, in 2006. He has also done well in other competitions at festivals in North Carolina and Virginia, and in 2011 won the first Cohen-Grappel Recording Endowment from the Mountain Laurel Autoharp Gathering in Pennsylvania. As a result, he published his first music CD in June 2012. Pratt also plays dobro and guitar, although not much of the latter recently. He says "Guitar players are a dime a dozen, and eleven of those will likely be better than me." But he favors the ensemble approach to music, and rarely plays solo. He is active in his local musical community where he is a founder of the Triangle Autoharp Circle and co-host of a twice monthly bluegrass jam in Raleigh sponsored by the Piedmont Council on Traditional Music (PineCone).