New Jersey’s Sleepy Man Banjo Boys

The Sleepy Man Banjo Boys

Most bluegrass musicians can only dream of playing a high profile festival before they hit thirty. Three brothers from rural New Jersey got a head start.

This summer The Sleepy Town Banjo Boys, the Mizzone family trio of Jonny (9) on banjo, Robbie (13) on fiddle, and Tommy (14) on guitar, will play upstate New York’s Grey Fox Festival and the Newport Folk Festival. The Mizzone brothers became YouTube superstars overnight for their bedroom practice videos, which landed them appearances on Ellen, Letterman, Leno and even Huckabee (twice).

The band was featured this month in New England’s SOCO Magazine, which included a pretty hilarious story about a promise that the boys’ father Tom Mizzone made to Jonny. He told Jonny he would buy him a $4,000 banjo if he could master “Cripple Creek” by Flat & Scruggs, assuming that this would take at least a few months. Jonny wrapped that up in two weeks.

The trio’s debut album, America’s Music (AmazonMP3 & Spotify), was released in October and sticks to traditional numbers. Unlike pop, kids in bluegrass can’t get very far if they suck, even if they’re cute. The Mizzones are legit and make me feel pretty insecure about my childhood.