At the 20-year mark, Blue Highway is indisputably one of the most esteemed and influential groups in contemporary bluegrass. The band’s eleven exceptional albums and compelling live performances give proof to the stellar reviews, Grammy nominations, and numerous awards earned by the band since it first took the stage on December 31, 1994. That first performance featured the same musicians that comprise Blue Highway today, making their 20th anniversary all the more remarkable..
With a deep bench of virtuosic songwriters, vocalists and instrumentalists, Blue Highway’s hallmark is an unwavering commitment to the ensemble, the “democracy of the band” that makes Blue Highway a powerhouse.
Individually, Jason Burleson (banjo, guitar, mandolin), Rob Ickes (Dobro), Shawn Lane (mandolin, fiddle, vocals), Tim Stafford (guitar, vocals), and Wayne Taylor (bass, vocals) are masters of their respective roles.
Adam Steffey, Ron Stewart, John R. Bowman, Keith Garrett and Harold Nixon make up the new group “The Boxcars”. With collective stints with Alison Krauss & Union Station (Adam Steffey, John Bowman), J.D. Crowe & the New South (Ron Stewart, John Bowman, Harold Nixon), Blue Moon Rising (Keith Garrett and Harold Nixon), The Isaacs (John Bowman) and most recently The Dan Tyminski Band (Steffey and Stewart), this quintet starts out with an impressive rap sheet. Steffey’s newly release project on Sugar Hill, One More For The Road is a receiving a great deal of airplay and attention and features guest appearances by Krauss, Ronnie Bowman and Tyminski. Expect The Boxcars to cover this material and branch out into their own unique style of contemporary bluegrass laced with Steffey’s signature rhythm that can be traced back to the early days of Union Station. Award winning instrumentalist Ron Stewart will deliver rock solid banjo work, but will also lay down the banjo for the fiddle on some tunes. It’s always a rarity to have multiple strong vocalists in the same group, and The Boxcars will benefit from strong vocal performances from Keith Garrett, John Bowman and Steffey’s signature baritone.
With their fresh sound, original material, strong vocals and innovative musicianship, Breaking Grass is doing exactly what their name implies. Although not quite traditional, the music they present is without a doubt steeped in the timeless genre they grew up listening to. Comprised of Cody Farrar on guitar; Tyler White on fiddle; Thelton Vanderford on banjo; Zach Wooten on mandolin; and Britt Sheffield on bass; this relatively new band formed with one goal in mind – to make music that all ages could enjoy. They are well on their way to becoming a household name and recently won the B.O.R.N. (Band On The Rise Nationally) award in June 2012.
Code Blue is a high energy bluegrass band playing everything from the traditional bluegrass music, to doing their own arrangements their way ! Code Blue puts in the hard work and individual experience to provide the best sound so they can please every age group. From the very first song, you can feel the energy and hear the great vocal harmonies the group is known for, but don’t over look the great musicians ! The band is based in the Tidewater area of Virginia, and was formed in the late summer of 1996.
Darrell Webb Band performs acoustic music with electrifying energy!
The Darrell Webb Band brings energy and excitement to the concert stage reaching beyond traditional boundaries. Their brand of entertainment has earned them multiple International Bluegrass Music Association award nominations.
Flatland Drive formed in the early spring of 2009 and is composed of members residing in Denton, Maryland and Harrington, Delaware. Their sound is influenced by the patriarchs of bluegrass music, but they also pay homage to the likes of The Seldom Scene, Bluegrass Album Band, and Lonesome River Band.
Curt Fox plays banjo and sings. He has long been active in local acoustic music, and he has performed with several bands from around the region. His banjo playing is heavily influenced by the great J.D. Crowe, who is considered the dean of Scruggs-style bluegrass banjo. Lee Collins plays guitar and sings. His magnificent tenor voice is smooth and strong on any song he sings for Flatland Drive. Alan Rausch plays dobro and sings. Originally from Honolulu, Hawaii, he started learning ukelele, and then he learned guitar, mandolin, banjo, and pedal steel before settling on his love of playing dobro.
With their last album earning Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen a 2015 GRAMMY Nomination for Best Bluegrass Album, the eagerly anticipated Family, Friends & Heroes released March 4th to great critical acclaim. This genre stretching album provides a generous glimpse into Solivan’s work that pays homage to his family members and features the pristine playing of his closest musical heroes, including Del McCoury, Rob Ickes, Jerry Douglas, Sam Bush, Ronnie McCoury, John Cowan, Mike Bub, Shawn Camp and Megan McCormick.
Founded in 1999, the group of Joe Epps, Chris Rose, Johnny Knox and Joe Mastrangelo met at Knox’ Automotive at a jam session. Soon afterward, Charlie Scudder and Bob Burrows joined to become Hard Knox. shortly after that, they won the VA State Folk Music Band Contest and enjoyed playing Regionally at the Amelia and James River Festivals as well as other know venues including Luckett’s, Framville Radio with Bill McKay, local fairs and festivals including the Smithfield Summer Series, Pine and Pork Festival, Isle of Wight, Chesapeake, New Kent County festivals and many more.
Joe Mullins & The Radio Ramblers have an energetic mix of quality Bluegrass and Gospel music, a professional presentation, inventive instrumental work, a wide variety of vocal arrangements including a capella quartets and tasteful, down-home humor.
Their professionalism and successful, heavily played recordings have kept them in demand with a national audience. JMRR have been seen by thousands of fans across the country at nearly every national bluegrass event.
A contributing factor to JMRR’s success is their active marketing capabilities, due to Mullins’ network of radio stations in the Midwest, including a 24/7 webcast available at myclassiccountry.com or the new “Classic Country Radio” app for Android and iPhone.
During the last 35 years, Windy Ridge has played thousands of gigs up and down the eastern United States, represented our hometown of Baltimore, Maryland in a cultural exchange with Holland during a whirlwind European tour, proudly performed weekly at Baltimore’s famous Cub Hill Inn for seven years, and even a record, twenty-six year run at Maryland’s famous, “Friendly Inn.”
From the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia comes one of bluegrass music’s most honest voices in the genre’s history, Junior Sisk. Over the years, his haunting, almost lonesome vocals have earned him the devotion of countless traditional bluegrass fans from all over the world. His songwriting talents helped the Lonesome River Band make their ascent into bluegrass stardom in the early 1990’s and then he became a member of Wyatt Rice & Santa Cruz and ultimately Blueridge, again reaching new audiences that would eventually follow him on his own musical path. In 1998, Sisk formed Ramblers Choice and together they recorded and released their first solo project titled Sounds Of The Mountains and also contributed to the award winning, The Stanley Gospel Tradition
The year 2001 brought a lot of new changes with the addition of Brandon Rickman and Jeff Parker along with fiddler Mike Hartgrove who had just left IIIrd Tyme Out, along with bassist Irl Hees. The band was rewarded rave reviews for Window of Time, the first recording with that band configuration.John Wade soon replaced Hees on bass, and the group the recorded Head On Into Heartache CD.
In 2005, Hartgrove left to join Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, and Rickman chose to give up touring to spend more time focusing on songwriting, but more importantly much needed time with his family. With Jeff Parker’s contributions on mandolin and tenor vocals, this took LRB into the next generation returning to the bands aggressive, four piece sound that had brought them to prominence years earlier. Shelor brought on a strong picker and a distinctive singer, Barry Berrier on bass who had made a name singing lead and playing guitar with The Lost & Found. Shannon Slaughter then came onboard after initially being hired to fill in during the search for a new guitar man.
Mill run is comprised of accomplished vocalists, musicians, songwriters and recording artists. The group’s musical style spans traditional, contemporary, progressive, and bluegrass gospel featuring tight vocal harmonies structured around the lead vocal efforts of Bob Goff, Jr. and Billie Sue Goff. The instrumentation features the strong presence of guitar, mandolin, banjo and fiddle that tastefully enhance the vocal performance.
Onstage the group is dynamic and energetic and they are able to adapt to the musical tastes of the most discerning audience. Curt Alvis is known for his clean, straight-ahead style of banjo. Corey rackley has established himself as a solid vocalist and has forged his own unique style on the mandolin incorporating a wide range of influences. Ty Molleen brings a hard driving rhythm to the forefront on guitar and the smooth styling of lead guitar that solidifies each song performed. Chris Gillikin is a fiddle virtuoso and is featured on guitar lead work as well. Billie Sue Goff and Bob Goff, Jr. maintain the solid rhythm section on guitar and bass, respectively. The band’s vocal blend is phenomenal!
Saltwater Stringband (SWSB) is a high-energy, low-stress bluegrass group based in Ocean City, MD, USA. Originally formed in late 2010, Nate Clendenen (guitar, vocals), Darin Engh (mandolin, vocals) and Bob Wilkinson (bass, vocals), joined together over a love of bluegrass and a few beers. Over the years they’ve been joined by some of the Mid-Atlantic’s best pickers such as Sam Guthridge (banjo, vocals), Marc Dykeman (bass, vocals), Patrick McAvinue (fiddle, vocals), Lucy Cochran (fiddle, vocals), Joe Esham (Dobro), Dave Shepherd (upright bass), Robert Mabe (banjo, vocals), and others! No matter what lineup they take the stage with, listeners should be ready for spirited performances at every showing.
What does it take for a bluegrass band to remain popular for more than four decades? For the Seldom Scene, it’s taken not only talented musicians, a signature sound, and a solid repertoire, but also a sheer sense of fun. On April 22, the longtime pillars of the bluegrass world will return with the aptly titled LONG TIME…..SELDOM SCENE. The newly recorded collection features fresh interpretations of the 16 oft-requested tunes and is the band’s first studio album since the GRAMMY nominated album Scenechronized in 2007. It’s a family reunion in all the best ways, featuring the current-and longest running- lineup, joined by founding members Tom Gray and John Starling and guests Chris Eldridge, Emmylou Harris, and Rickie Simpkins.