Fredericksburg Songwriters' Showcase Bruce Piepoff

Bruce Piepoff grew up in North Carolina playing basketball and guitars. He started writing songs and poetry while a student at UNC-Chapel Hill. He had gone to UNC to play basketball but soon moved on to music and writing after listening to some Bob Dylan records his Dad gave him. His Dad played guitar and bought Bruce his first "good" guitar, a Martin D-28. Bruce wrote many songs on that guitar after dropping out of college to try his trade as a singer/songwriter.

Bruce traveled back and forth across the country and once to Europe, working odd jobs and playing music at little cafe's and bars. His guitar playing was much influenced by Elizabeth Cotten's gently rolling ragtime fingerstyle work. He also admired the writing of the Texas troubadors, Townes Van Zandt, Guy Clark and Kris Kristofferson as well as John Prine and Tom Waits. Tracing the influences on those artists, he discovered Mississippi John Hurt, Lightnin' Hopkins, Hank Williams and of course, Woody Guthrie. Around 1980, Bruce returned to finish an English degree at UNC-Greensboro and also earned his M.F.A. in creative writing there in 1984. He studied with N.C. Poet Laureate Fred Chappell and Robert Watson. The M.F.A. in creative writing led Bruce to work as artist in residence at a number of colleges in the Southeast. This was Bruce's bread and butter; performing at schools, churches, and rec. centers during the week and freelancing on the weekends. He did this from 1986 until 2001, ending his last residency in Norfolk, VA on May 16, 2001.

Bruce has recorded 10 albums of original songs and poetry for Flyin' Cloud Records since 1988. He also has a book of poetry, Honky Tonk Stradivarius, Yonno Press, 1995. Many of his poems have appeared in reviews and quarterlies across the country. Bruce has appeared everywhere from Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. to Kerrville, TX. Bruce was a Kerrville New Folk Finalist in 1994 and has won many song competitions and performed at main stage at Merlefest. He has shared the stage with Tom Paxton, Steve Forbert, Chuck Brodsky, Greg Allman, Riders In The Sky and many others.

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