Precious Bryant hails from Waverly Hall, GA. She is an honest, wonderful songwriter and a spellbinding performer. I met her in 1995; many years had passed since 1967 when folklorist George Mitchell had come knocking on her door. We performed with bluesmen Neal Pattman and Cootie Stark at shows in Atlanta, New York and Washington State. She even went to Switzerland. I learned quickly that Precious does not enjoy traveling, so we concentrated on letting the world know about this magnificent artist.
Precious passed away in January 2013.
How We Helped:
Music Maker has helped Precious obtain a passport and provided her with a monthly stipend for prescription medicine, food, and utility bills. In addition, Music Maker produced Precious’ CD and gifted her with two wonderful guitars. Music Maker has helped her set up tours in Europe and the U.S., including performances at Blues to Bop in Lugano, Switzerland, Port Townsend Blues Festival, and Chicken Raid in Atlanta, Georgia. Precious is featured in the book Music Makers: Portraits and Songs from the Roots of America (2004). Before Precious passed away in 2013 Music Maker was able to get her a new home to live in.
When I first met Precious she told me:
“I used to take my guitar to school and play it. And I used to play at parties and that sort of thing. I didn’t finish school. I quit in 11th grade. And I got married, went on down to Juniper, stayed down there about 11 years. And so come along George Mitchell, then I got started going places with him and then Fred Fussell came along, so that’s how I got started going out.
I was about nine years old when I started playing guitar. I was small, and my uncle, he had a large guitar and I used to drag it around. I couldn’t tote it. I used to drag it around, and kept messing around with it until I learned how to play. Later on my uncle Sonny bought me a little ole uke for Christmas. And I fooled around with it too and from then on I learned how to play… I used to play banjo. Been a long time since I played banjo. The way I learned how to play a song, I would listen to the song on the radio and write the words down, and I wouldn’t worry about the music, ‘cause I could get the music. All I wanted to know was the words.
The buck-dance tune comes from my daddy. I learned how to play that behind him. I used to make money playing my guitar. I’d go off, especially when I was married, me and my husband would go around and people would listen to me play the guitar, I’d make money. I’d play, they’d put money in my guitar. I’d take a rest break, sit down and rest a little bit, and start back again, and when I’d get home I’d have a guitar full of money. I enjoyed that. Sure did. – Timothy Duffy