Terry, Vgo

Vgo Terry

Multi Instrumentalist and  Music Historian


Vgo’s Media

History of the Blues, Part 1

History of the Blues, Part 2

VGO – Philip Terry – Musician & Storyteller


VGO, (Phillip Terry) is an award winning Florida Old Time Music Championship multi-instrumentalist and singer. He can play about 130 instruments and has perfect pitch. His interest in the stories and the history of music led him down the path of learning the classic blues and the music of the Civil War era.


Among the Florida Old Time and Folk community, Vgo’s music and storytelling skills are considered top-notch. His knowledge of old time traditional music is deep and authentic. He is a treasure to the music community.


Recognized as an accomplished storyteller and as a blues and old time musician, Vgo continues to perform and do “historic impressions” for museums and historic events.


He says that he plays music from ten-and-a-half of the last eleven centuries. “I’ve been singing for six decades and playing for over five decades.” But he can’t sing and play without telling the stories of the music.


Vgo started collecting and playing string instruments at age 11, when he was living outside Washington D.C. He studied with Nehemiah “Skip” James, Mississippi John Hurt, Eddie “Son” House, and several others performing at The Ontario Place in N.W.D.C. Vgo has also met and played with Rev. Gary Davis while partnering with Richard Leiberson, later of the Central Park Sheiks.


Vgo played with Booker T. Washington White in 1969 then in 1970 he moved to London, U.K. and joined the Patriarch of Glastonbury. His band, under Stephen Delft, luthier, played live shows and on BBC-2 TV. In 1974 Vgo returned to the U.S. and partnered with E.M. “Mother” Scott. There is a photograph of Vgo in performance with
Mother Scott in the April 1980 issue of the National Geographic magazine. (pps 570-571)


Vgo has played several well known music festivals including the Gambier Folk Festival, National Folk Festival, Smithsonian Folk Life Festival, Rutgers University, Smithsonian Institution Museum of History and Technology, Baltimore City Parks and Recreation, TV, Radio and before the United States Congress. Vgo has appeared at the Florida Folk Festival every year since 1982.


In 1981, along with F. “Fritz” Kirsch, he formed the 97th Regimental Band to explore the music and culture of the U.S. Civil War. They played all over the United States and showcased in Branson, Mo.


Vgo was in the ABC miniseries “North and South” part 2, second day, second hour. Vgo was once a live exhibit at the American Museum in Bath, U.K. as a genuine “American Folk Singer.”


He has performed many live shows from Bristol, Road Island to Grass Valley, California including Fort Dodge, Iowa, San Angelo, Texas and Gettysburg to Angel Island in San Francisco Bay.


His has performed at the Garage Mahal in San Antonio, Florida; The Pioneer Florida Museum in Dade City, Florida; Pinellas County Folk Festival and The Whistle Stop cafe in Safety Harbor, Florida.


Legends of music that influenced Vgo’s music and stories Nehemiah “Skip” James, 1896 – 1972 gospel & blues, virtuosic guitar finger picking Reverend Gary Davis 1896 – 1972, was blind, could play in any key, sang and played blues and ragtime instruments with passion and skill, did delta, ragtime, gospel and show songs, remains one of America’s truly great folk artists.


Eddie James “Son” House, Jr. 1902 – 1988. was an American blues singer and guitarist, noted for his highly emotional style of singing and slide guitar playing. Mississippi John Hurt, 1892 – 1966 country blues singer and guitarist, fast, highly syncopated style, world-renowned master of the acoustic guitar delicate vocals, inventive fingerpicking on guitar, and warm personality.


E.M. “Mother” Scott 1893 – 1979 Mother Scott had sung and played guitar since the days of the traveling minstrel shows, first as a teenager in bordellos in the South and later with Leadbelly, Louis Armstrong, and Bessie Smith. After she took up music again in the 1960s,, she played and sang with Kris Kristofferson, Alice Cooper, Joan Baez,
and Judy Collins, among others. Mother Scott was also known as a crusader for senior citizen’s rights.