Watch this banjo player serenade a fox in Colorado — and the fox can’t get enough

YouTube video screenshot

If one scene could sum up the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on entertainers, it’s in a YouTube video posted by veteran bluegrass musician Andy Thorn.

Thorn is seen standing alone with banjo in hand, performing on a Colorado mountain for a single fox.

The video, which has more than 1.5 million views as of Jan. 4, is among a half dozen such recordings the Durham, North Carolina, native has posted of one-man shows staged for the same animal.

The fox seems to be loving it, too.

“The fox is a celebrity. Now wherever I go, people say: ‘Hey, it’s that fox guy!’ People used to talk to me about banjo,” Thorn told McClatchy News.

“This all started at the beginning of the pandemic, around March 2020. That’s when we were suddenly at home every day, and we noticed our new friend showing up regularly.”

Reaction to the videos on social media has been a mix of wonderment and gratitude, including viewers who credit Thorn with “cross species communication.” Some joke that it makes sense a fox would like the banjo, while others marvel it senses that Thorn is not a threat.

“In a world full of crazy, this brought joy to my soul. Thank you,” Eve S. wrote on YouTube.

“The fact this fox came and just chilled for a moment with you playing banjo is awesome,” Pitioti posted.

“I would have never guessed that the best minute & 39 seconds of my life would have banjo music. This. Was. Awesome,” Cleo Harper said.

Thorn, who lives in Boulder, suspects the growing popularity of the videos has to do with our tendency to wonder what animals are thinking — and if we can communicate with them.

“Of course we’ll never know, but it’s fun to think that a fox is enjoying himself,” Thorn says.

“Sometimes he’s kind of a music snob. (We’re pretty sure he’s a male fox, so that’s why I’m using male pronouns.) He wanders away in the middle of the song. Or yawns. He doesn’t seem to like Christmas music.”

The fox remains 100% wild and unpredictable, Thorn says. He comes and goes as it pleases, eats rodents between shows and has a nearby den though Thorn has yet to find it.

“He likes to parade by with (rodents) in his mouth, and sometimes buries them in our yard to save for later,” Thorn says.

The fox, which he calls Foxy, served as inspiration for an album Thorn produced called “Fox Songs and Other Tales from the Pandemic.” It was recorded in a studio at the home he shares with his wife (Cecelia) and newborn.

Thorn says he has written multiple songs for the fox, including some from the fox’s perspective.

If the pandemic has been good for one thing, he says, it’s giving artists a chance to stop, take a breath and explore their creativity.

“I’d been touring and playing hundreds of shows a year for nearly 20 years, so it was amazing to suddenly spend all this time at home,” he says.

“And it’s nice how people seem to appreciate live music even more after the pandemic!”

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