Category: S

Saffell, Tom


  • From Nashville (Antioch), Tennessee.
  • Mid-1990’s, was the banjo player with the Jim Buchanon System, the Bob Smiley Band. Also performs as a solo artist.
  • “A cross between Bela Fleck and Alison Brown” –Bluegrass Unlimited.
  • Plays an eight-string banjo which he invented. There are two lower strings and one higher.
  • 1998, released Another Lifetime album (AMI).
  • 2006, joined a Celtic band called Plaidgrass.
  • 2008, released “Forgotten Pictures” album with special guests Sam Bush, Byron House, Shad Cobb, other musicians.
  • 2008, joined a Celtic band called The Fells.

Salamander Crossing


  • From Northampton, Massachusetts.
  • Play “Amphibious Bluegrass,” a blend of bluegrass, folk and rock.
  • Formed in 1991 by Andrew Kinsey (guitar), Rani Arbo (fiddle), Jeff Kelliher (mandolin), Tim Farnham (banjo). Tony Furtado played banjo in 1995, Dave Dick (formerly with Southern Rail) in 1997.
  • Got their name from a unique New England phenomenon: Every spring, yellow spotted salamanders make their way from a local hillside to a nearby bog, and must cross a road in the process, a huge media event.
  • Group owes its existence to John Hartford, who failed to show up at a music workshop he was going to conduct in Massachusetts (1991). Workshop participants decided to just do some impromptu jamming, and that’s when Salamander Crossing was born.
  • 1998, released Bottleneck Dreams album (Signature Sounds).
  • Disbanded in 1999.

Salazar, Phil


  • From Ventura, California.
  • A veteran Southern California fiddler who has been a performer and studio musician since the early 1970’s. He has taught music, owned a music store and has fronted several bands including the Phil Salazar Band, the Acousticats, The Rincon Ramblers and Phil Salazar and the Kinfolk.
  • He has also toured with John McEwen and Bob Weir (of the Grateful Dead).
  • 1982, released “Down at Evangelina’s” album (The Acousticats, no label).
  • 1989, released The Phil Salazar Band album (Flying Fish).
  • 2013, released LIfe on the Edge album (Filzar).
  • 2019, released Project 1, Part 3 album (Filzar).
  • 2021, released “All That! For This?” album (Filzar).
  • 2021, band members include Tom Corbett (guitar), Bill Knopf (banjo), Bill Flores (reso guitar), Rick Borella (bass) and Elizabeth Rizor (fiddle).

Salley, Jerry


  • From Chillicothe, Ohio. Lives in Nashville.
  • Began his music career in Nashville working at Opryland USA doing impressions of country stars like Roy Acuff, Jimmie Rodgers, Eddy Arnold and Lester Flatt. His partner who impersonated Earl Scruggs was a young Steven Curtis Chapman, who later became a well-known Christian artist).
  • Best known as a songwriter. His original songs have been recorded by such artists as Loretta Lynn, the Oak Ridge Boys, Patty Loveless, Reba McIntyre, Brad Paisley, Toby Keith, Chris Stapleton, Doyle Lawson and many others. One of his gospel songs “His Strength Is Perfect” has been published in several church hymnbooks.
  • As a solo artist, he has appeared on the Grand Ole Opry, Late Night with David Letterman, The Today Show.
  • 2004, he performed on the IBMA Award-winning “Livin, Lovin’ & Losin’: Tribute to the Louvin Brothers” CD (in a trio with Carl Jackson and Larry Cordle.)
  • 2003, won the SESAC “Country Music Songwriter of the Year” award.
  • 2007, released New Songs Old Friends album (Mountain Home) featuring guest artists Vince Gill, Del McCoury, Doyle Lawson, Ricky Skaggs, the Oak Ridge Boys and Rhonda Vincent.
  • 2012, released Showing My Age album (Very Jerry).
  • 2015, released Gospel From My Grass Roots album (Very Jerry).
  • 2017, released Front Porch Philosophy album (Very Jerry).
  • 2019, released All God’s Children Sing album (Very Jerry).
  • 2019, won his second IBMA Award for Songwriter of the Year (also won in 2018).

Sally Mountain Show, The


  • From Kirksville, Missouri.
  • Stage name used by the Vincent family bluegrass band: Johnny Vincent (banjo), Carolyn (bass); sons Darrin and Brian (guitar and mandolin respectively), and daughter Rhonda (lead vocals, mandolin and fiddle).
  • 1967, began performing on their own TV show called “The Sally Mountain Show” which eventually became the band’s name. They were called The Sally Mountain Singers on their first album.
  • The name “Sally Mountain” comes from a mountain near Worthington, Missouri which the local people called Sally’s Mountain, named after Sally Mosely, an old time fiddler who lived on the mountain and claimed to have written the fiddle tune “Sally Goodin'”.
  • They performed at many prestigious venues including the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville and the Lincoln Center in New York City.
  • Recorded four albums on their own label (Stardust) in the 1980’s.
  • 2003, reunited to record “A Family Tradition” album. Rhonda and Darrin performed on the album as did Jamie Dailey and Stuart Duncan.
  • They host an annual bluegrass festival in Sally Mountain Park near Queen City, Missouri.
  • 2014, Johnny Vincent died after a long illness at the age of 73.

Salt and Light


  • From Graham, North Carolina.
  • A family band (the Moore Family) featuring siblings Kyndal (mandolin), Morgan (guitar), Parker (banjo), Daniel (fiddle), Norah (fiddle) and Garrett (bass).
  • 2017, they ranged in age from 11 (Norah) to 21 (Parker).
  • They began performing together as a band in 2014.
  • While they are not exclusively a gospel-singing group, their band name comes from the Bible (Matthew 5:13-16).
  • 2017, released their second album “Second Course” (Whale Tone).

Sam Hill


  • From Portland, Oregon.
  • Formed in 1993 by mandolinist Jeff Smith (originally from California) who wrote much of the band’s original material.
  • 1995, released “Bring on the Blues” album (New Timey).
  • 1998, released “Hard Luck and Trouble” album (New Timey).
  • 2001, released “Haunted by a Memory” album (no label).
  • 2002 lineup: Smith, Doug Sammons (guitar), Peter Schwimmer (banjo), Pat Kramer (fiddle), Dee Ann Davidshofer (bass).
  • 2021 lineup: Smith (mandolin), Sammons (guitar), Schwimmer (banjo), Amy Hakanson (fiddle), Chuck Davidshofer (bass).

Sanbower, Jack


  • From Smithsburg, Maryland.
  • Jack Sanbower played banjo with several Baltimore-Washington DC area bands, including CC and Company, Chestnut Ridge and the Bluegrass Image.
  • 1990, formed the No Leeway Band.
  • 1994, guitarist George Garris (formerly of the Garris Brothers Band) joined the band. They performed as Sanbower, Garris and the No LeeWay Band.
  • 1994, released “Thinking of Old Memories” album (Buck Hollow).
  • 2003, released Same Ole Fools album (Buck Hollow).
  • 2005, died of cancer at the age of 45.

Sand Mountain Boys, The


  • Originally from Alabama; relocated to Milton, Florida.
  • Formed in 1989.
  • Sand Mountain is a large plateau in northeastern Alabama.
  • For years, this group wore white tuxedos decked out with rhinestones.
  • Leader and banjo player Gary Waldrep previously performed with the Warrior River Boys and the gospel group, Wendy Bagwell and the Sunliters.
  • 1994, released The Sand Mountain Boys album (Hay Holler).
  • 1995, released No Rhyme No Reason album (Hay Holler).
  • When Gary Waldrep retired, original members Wayne and Jerry Crain (father/son) relocated to Florida and changed the name of the group to Sand Mountain.
  • 2000, Waldrep began touring with his own group, The Gary Waldrep Band.

Sanders, Eddie


  • From McAlester, Oklahoma.
  • A singer/songwriter, he played guitar for many years with a band called Signal Mountain. Bandmates included Shawn Camp, Tim and Dennis Crouch, Donnie Catron and others.
  • His father, Freddie Sanders produced the Sanders Family Bluegrass Festival in McAlester, Oklahoma, one of the largest in the region.
  • Songwriting credits: “You Could Be Me” (Del McCoury) and “Down Where the River Ends” (Kix Brooks and Wayne Toups), co-written with Shawn Camp.
  • 2018, released “Fast Train to Lonesome” album (Rural Rhythm).

Sapp, Dean


  • From Aberdeen, Maryland.
  • 1980, formed his band The Harford Express.
  • Sapp’s uncle (Sonny Miller) played fiddle for Del McCoury.
  • Sapp plays all the bluegrass instruments, but plays guitar in the band.
  • He owns a music store where he teaches and repairs instruments.
  • 1995, released You’ve Never Had The Blues album (Old Train).
  • 1998, released Live From Australia album (no label).
  • 2001, released “Fare Thee Well” album (Old Train).
  • 2003, released Coal Black Gold album (Old Train).
  • 2005, released I Can Hear the Blue Ridge Calling Me album (Old Train).

Sauceman Brothers, The


  • From Bright Hope, Tennessee (eastern Tennessee, near Greenville)
  • Featured Carl and John Paul (J.P.) Sauceman.
  • In the mid-forties, Carl had a band called the Hillbilly Ramblers.
  • The brothers recorded together from 1945 until 1952.
  • 1952, Carl moved to Carrollton, Alabama and pioneered bluegrass music there with his Green Valley Boys.
  • The bothers recorded for Rich-R-Tone and Mercury. Carl and his band recorded for Capitol and Republic Records.
  • 1996, Copper Creek Records released a retrospective album of their early radio recordings: On WCYB – Bristol.
  • Carl retired from music in 1962, took over a radio station in Gonzales, Louisiana in 1969.
  • J.P died in 1984.
  • Carl died in 2005.

Saunders, Zeke


  • From Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
  • Harold K. (“Zeke”) Saunders was a former pilot and Senior Vice President of Piedmont Airlines (now U.S. Air).
  • He received the Distinguished Flying Cross medal for his service as a pilot during World War II.
  • For many years, he had a radio program on the all-bluegrass station WPAQ, Mt. Airy, North Carolina.
  • Between 1987-2003, recorded six albums including There’ll Be No Broken Hearts for Me (1990, Heritage).
  • He died in 2014 at the age of 93.

Sawmill Road


  • Based in Carson City, NV.
  • Formed in 2006 by Steve Spurgin (bass and lead vocals), Mark Miracle (mandolin), Dick Brown (banjo), Charles Edsall (guitar) and Bruce Johnson (fiddle).
  • Spurgin previously was the lead singer with California and Bluegrass Etc. and was also known as a hit songwriter.
  • Johnson previously worked with Byron Berline & the LA Fiddle Band, Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver and the Laurel Canyon Ramblers.
  • Edsall previously worked with Feather River, High Strung and Ron Spears & Within Tradition.
  • Miracle previously worked with such bands as Shady Creek and Mountain Therapy.
  • Brown previously worked with the Lynn Morris Band, Traditional Bluegrass and Lost Highway.
  • 2007, released first album Sawmill Road (no label)..
  • 2008, Johnson was replaced by fiddler Doug Barlett, formerly with Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver.
  • 2009, released “Fire on the Kettle” album.
  • 2010, broke up.
  • 2018, reunited to perform on an occasional basis, with guitarist David Dickey replacing Edsall.

Sawtelle, Charles


  • From Boulder Colorado.
  • Played guitar for the group Hot Rize.
  • After the group disbanded in 1990, he built “Rancho De Ville” a vintage recording studio in Boulder.
  • 1993, was diagnosed with leukemia. He died from the disease in 1999.
  • 2001, an album was released posthumously of music recorded at his studio. It was nominated for an IBMA award for Recorded Event of the Year.

Sawtooth Mountain Boys, The


  • From Monmouth (Willamette Valley), Oregon.
  • Oregon’s “original bluegrass band.”
  • Formed in 1970 by Steve Waller (mandolin) and Mike Eisler (banjo). Before then, the two had a group called the Sawtooth Mountain Volunteers. They were both students at Oregon State University at the time.
  • The band was named after a mountain range in Idaho.
  • Waller died in June, 2015.

Schankman Twins, The


  • From Calabasas, California (San Fernando Valley).
  • A bluegrass/country duo featuring Identical twins Dana (banjo) and Lauren (fiddle).
  • They both played the role of “Heather” on the CBS TV soap opera “Young and the Restless.”
  • Their first “bluegrass” influence: a Donald Duck and Goofy record with “Dueling Banjos” on it.
  • Dana won the Topanga Banjo contest and the New York City banjo contest, both at age 14.
  • They began performing bluegrass music professionally when they were 16 years old (1996).
  • 1996, released Duality album (City West).
  • An early highlight of their musical career was performing with Ralph Stanley and the Clinch Mountain Boys.
  • 2002, graduated from UCLA, both majoring in ethno-musicology.
  • 2002, signed with Rounder Records.
  • 2004, released an album (country) Malibu Storm under the name Malibu Storm.
  • 2010, after a five-year hiatus from music to marry and have children, they returned to performing and recording as Dana and Lauren. First single: a cover of Tupac Shakur’s “California Love.”

Schatz, Mark


  • From Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Grew up in Lexington, Massachusetts (near Boston).  Has also lived in Maryland, Nashville, Berkeley, California.
  • Best known as one of the top acoustic bass players in bluegrass music.
  • First band: Mandala, a folk dance group, while he was still in college.
  • 1978, formed Tasty Licks with Bela Fleck, Pat Enright, Jack Tottle, Robin Kincaid, Stacy Phillips.
  • 1981, moved to Nashville and formed Spectrum with Glenn Lawson, Bela Fleck, Jimmy Gaudreau and Jimmy Mattingly.
  • 1983, played country music (electric bass) in various bands around Nashville. Worked with Pam Tillis, Pure Prairie League, others.
  • 1985, joined the Tony Rice Unit, playing bass.
  • 1990-1998, played bass with Tim and Mollie O’Brien as one of the O’Boys.
  • Also plays clawhammer-style banjo (his banjo is heard on the theme for the IBMA awards show.)
  • 1995, released solo project Brand New Old Tyme Way album (Rounder).  Began performing as Mark Schatz and friends.
  • He is an accomplished dancer. He served as musical director for the dance troupe Footworks.
  • 1996, he performed with the hit show Riverdance.
  • 1998, formed a side band with Tim O’Brien, Jerry Douglas and Charlie Cushman called The Flatt Heads. Also worked with John Hartford.
  • 1994, 1995, won the IBMA award for Bass Player of the Year.
  • 2003-2007, began performing regularly (on bass) with Nickel Creek.
  • 2006, released second solo album Steppin’ in the Boiler House (Rounder) featuring his clawhammer banjo playing & original songs.
  • 2008, joined the Claire Lynch band.
  • 2014, re-joined Nickel Creek for their 25th anniversary tour.
  • 2019, his wife, dancer Eileen Carson Schatz (founder and director of the Footworks Dance ensemble, died of cancer.
  • 2021, released Grit and Polish album (Patuxent) with fiddler Bryan McDowell, his former bandmate in the Claire Lynch band.
  • 2022, moved to Berkeley, California and has been playing with several California musicians.
  • 2023, toured with Bela Fleck’s “My Bluegrass Heart” and “Rhapsody in Bluegrass.”

Schwimmer, Peter


  • From New York. Lived several years in Colorado before moving to Portland, Oregon.
  • Has played with several bluegrass bands from New York to Seattle, including The Virginia Mountain Boys, Del McCoury’s Dixie Pals, and Generic Bluegrass.
  • 1983-1989, played banjo with Front Range.
  • 1985, won the banjo, mandolin and guitar contests at Telluride.
  • 1998, joined Sam Hill (an Oregon-based band).

Schlegel, Becky


  • From St. Paul, Minnesota.
  • Began performing in high school in central South Dakota, performing at VFW and American Legion Halls. She also spent four summers as part of the “Mountain Music Show” in the Black Hills.
  • 1997, formed a bluegrass band called True Blue.
  • 1998, released This Lonesome Song album (no label).
  • 2001-2004, won Bluegrass/Old Time Artist of the Year at the Minnesota Music Awards (4 years in a row).
  • 2002, released first solo album Red Leaf (Lilly Ray).
  • 2005, released Drifter Like Me album (Lilly Ray).
  • 2006, appeared in the movie “A Prairie Home Companion” with Garrison Keillor. She has been a frequent performer on the radio program.
  • 2006, formed the Becky Schlegel Band.
  • 2007, released For All the World to See album (Lilly Ray).
  • 2007, released Heartaches album (Lilly Ray).
  • 2008, released Country Ballads album (Lilly Ray).
  • 2010, released Dandelion album (Lilly Ray).
  • 2012, released Opry Lullaby album (no label).

Scott, Barry


  • From Ellijay, Georgia.
  • Began singing and playing bass with his family band (The Scott Family Band) at age 7. At age 11, he learned to play piano.
  • 1984 (age 17), formed a southern Gospel quartet called The Harmony Brothers.
  • 1986, joined The Perry’s, another southern Gospel group.
  • 1988, worked with the Gold City Quartet and the Dixie Melody Boys.
  • 1990, formed a bluegrass gospel group called Silver Creek with Barry Abernathy.
  • 1993, rejoined The Perry’s.
  • 1996, joined Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver, playing guitar and singing lead. Worked with Doyle for nine years.
  • 2005, left Doyle Lawson to pursue a solo career. Formed his own band, Second Wind.
  • 2009, released first album In God’s Time (Rebel).
  • 2010, teamed up with former Quicksilver bandmate Darren Beachley to form the Beachley and Scott Band.
  • 2011, left the Beachley and Scott Band to return to gospel music.

Scott, Darrell


  • Born in London, Kentucky. Grew up in the Chicago area. Lives in Nashville.
  • A successful songwriter: “Long Time Gone” and “Heartbreak Town” (Dixie Chicks); “Great Day to Be Alive” (Travis Tritt); “You’ll Never Leave Harlan Alive” (Patty Loveless, Brad Paisley); “Born to Fly” (Sara Evans); “When No One’s Around” (Garth Brooks).
  • 2o12, released Live: We’re Usually A Lot Better Than This (Full Skies), an album of duets with Tim O’Brien.
  • 2013, released Memories & Moments, a second album of duets with Tim O’Brien (Full Skies).

Scott, Mike


  • From Wautaga, Tennessee. Lives in Gallatin, Tennessee.
  • 1972-1973, formed his first band at the age of 10, the Rocky Mountain Boys.
  • 1974-1977, played with The Tennessee Bluegrass Four.
  • 1978-1979, played with The Cumberland Mountain Boys.
  • 1980-1982, played with Carl Story and the Rambling Mountaineers.
  • 1982-1986, played with Jim and Jesse and the Virginia Boys.
  • 1983, released first album “Classics for Banjo” (CMS).
  • 1986, formed Mike Scott and The All American Band.
  • 1987-1991, performed part-time with Danny Davis and the Nashville Brass.
  • 1995, married Brenda Marshall (formerly of the Marshall Family, a gospel group).
  • 2002, joined Ronnie Reno and the Reno Tradition (as well as performing with Jesse McReynolds, Danny Davis and his own band.)
  • 2005, recorded several instrumental albums (“Star Spangled Bluegrass,” “Mountain Valley Bluegrass,” and “Applachian Sunday Bluegrass”) for Homestead Music, a Nashville label specializing in the gift shop market.
  • He is also an expert woodworker who restores vintage homes.
  • Nickname given to him by Bill Monroe: “Mike the Smilin’ Scott.”
  • He performs with his own band Mike Scott and the Nashville Band.
  • 2012, released Blue Moon of Kentucky: An Instrumental Tribute to Bill Monroe (Rural Rhythm)
  • 2012, released gospel album Take Me Lord & Use Me (Rural Rhythm).
  • 2013, released Home Sweet Home, an album of civil war era instrumentals (Rural Rhythm).
  • 2015, released Foggy Mountain Breakdown album (Green Hill Productions).

Scottsville Squirrel Barkers, The


  • From San Diego, California.
  • Included Chris Hillman (who was still in high school), Larry Murray, Kenny Wertz, Ed Douglas and Gary Carr.
  • 1963, recorded a now-legendary album called Blue Grass Favorites (Crown).
  • Kenny Wertz (banjo) later played with the Country Gazette and the Flying Burrito Brothers. He still lives in San Diego and plays with a local band.
  • Wertz was replaced in the Squirrel Barkers by Bernie Leadon (later a member of the Eagles.)
  • Chris Hillman (mandolin) left this group to play with The Golden State Boys (AKA The Hillmen) and was a founding member of The Byrds and the Desert Rose Band. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with the Byrds.
  • Larry Murray (Dobro™) later formed the folk-rock group Hearts and Flowers.
  • Ed Douglas (bass) later managed the rock group The Stone Ponies (with Linda Ronstadt).
  • Gary Carr (guitar, lead vocals) later performed with Geoff Stelling’s Hard Times Bluegrass Band (late 1970’s). He died in 1985.

Scroggins, Jeff (and Colorado)


  • From Oklahoma. Has also lived in Colorado, New Mexico, Kansas and Canada (British Columbia).
  • Grew up playing rock guitar in several garage bands but picked up a banjo at age 19 and became obsessed with it.
  • 1989, won the National Bluegrass Banjo championship at Winfield, Kansas.
  • 1990, was a founding member of the Andy Owens Project.
  • 1996, was inducted into the Texas Tornadoes, an unofficial Texas music Hall of Fame.
  • 1999, formed Big Twang, a Wichita, Kansas group.
  • 2007, joined the Blue Canyon Boys, a Colorado-based band which won the Telluride Band Contest a year later.
  • 2009, moved to Colorado and formed his own band Colorado with his 13-year old son Tristin (mandolin). Other members include Greg Blake (guitar), Annie Savage (fiddle), KC Groves (bass).
  • 2013, released Western Branches album (no label) produced by Sally Van Meter.
  • 2016, released “Ramblin Feels Good” album (no label) produced by Bill VornDick.
  • 2019, released Over the Line album (Patuxent), produced by Mark Schatz (who also played bass on the album).
  • 2019, the group disbanded (except to play selected dates). Greg Blake (lead vocals, guitar) moved to Kansas City to form his own band Real Country. Tristan Scroggins (mandolin) moved to Nashville and is pursuing other musical opportunities. Jeff formed a new band called The ScroggDogs.

Scruggs, Earl


  • From Shelby, North Carolina. Lived in Madison, Tennessee for most of his life.
  • Full name: Earl Eugene Scruggs.
  • He is credited with being the first master of the three-finger style of banjo-playing which defines bluegrass music and which bears his name. Every bluegrass banjo player plays a variation of “Scruggs-style” banjo.
  • First pro job:  At age 15, he played banjo with Zeke and Wiley Morris, the Morris Brothers.
  • 1945, age 21, joined Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys.
  • 1948, Earl and Lester Flatt left Monroe’s band to form their own group, Lester Flatt, Earl Scruggs and the Foggy Mountain Boys.
  • 1969, after 21 years, he parted company with Lester Flatt to form a new country-rock band with his sons, Gary, Randy and Steve: The Earl Scruggs Revue. The group disbanded ten years later.
  • 1992, was presented with the National Medal for the Arts by President George H.W. Bush in a ceremony at the White House (July 22).
  • 1994, received the Million-Air Award from BMI representing one million broadcast performances of “Foggy Mountain Breakdown.”
  • 1996, underwent hip replacement surgery and suffered a heart attack requiring bypass surgery, all in the same month (October).
  • 1997, returned to the stage, performing at the IBMA Awards Show, the Grand Ole Opry (with Ricky Skaggs, Vince Gill, Marty Stuart and Alison Krauss), and selected festivals. Also played on son Randy’s solo album, and was nominated for Banjo Player of the Year (1998 IBMA Awards).
  • 2002, won Grammy for Best Country Instrumental Performance for “Foggy Mountain Breakdown” from his Earl Scruggs And Friends album (MCA Nashville).
  • 2003, received his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
  • 2003, recorded and performed with Doc Watson and Ricky Skaggs as The Three Pickers (Rounder).
  • Quote from John Hartford: “Who was the first three-finger style banjo picker? It doesn’t really matter, because without Earl no one would be asking that question.”
  • Quote from Sammy Shelor: “Without Earl Scruggs, none of us would be here.”
  • 2005, the Country Music Hall of Fame presented a year-long special exhibit honoring Earl Scruggs titled “Banjo Man: the Life and Legacy of Earl Scruggs.”
  • 2005, appeared on the David Letterman show with Steve Martin, Peter Wernick and other banjo players in a group called “Men With Banjos Who Know How to Use Them.” They played “Foggy Mountain Banjo” together.
  • 2008, received a Grammy Award for Lifetime Achievement.
  • 2008, released Earl Scruggs with Family & Friends: The Ultimate Collection – Live at the Ryman (Rounder), recorded in 2007 at age 83.
  • 2010, his wife Louise was inducted into the IBMA’s Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame for her contributions to the business side of bluegrass.
  • 2012, Earl died on March 28 at the age of 88.
  • 2014, The Earl Scruggs Center, a museum honoring the life and legacy of Earl Scruggs, was opened in his home town of Shelby on January 11.

Seckler, Curly


  • From China Grove, North Carolina..
  • Real name: John Ray Sechler.
  • First band: The Yodeling Rangers, with his brothers (1935).
  • 1939, was one of the original members of Charlie Monroe’s Kentucky Partners.
  • 1945, first played on the Grand Ole Opry, with Danny Bailey.
  • 1946, recorded with Charlie Monroe (first recordings by the Kentucky Partners).
  • 1949, joined Flatt & Scruggs, over the next dozen years he sang tenor and played mandolin on many of their biggest hits of the day and their most popular classics all of have stood the test of time.
  • 1952, recorded with Jim & Jesse McReynolds on their first Capitol records.
  • 1955-1962, appeared with Flatt & Scruggs on television across the southeast, and on the Grand Ole Opry.
  • 1962, retired from music (temporarily) and started a trucking business.
  • 1971, recorded “Curly Seckler Sings Again” (Country Records).
  • 1973, un-retired to join Lester Flatt and The Nashville Grass. Lester died in 1979, but at Lester’s request, took over the Nashville Grass and kept the group going until 1994 (He formed a partnership with lead singer Willis Spears, who joined the group in 1981).
  • 1994, released 60 Years of Bluegrass album (Vine Street Records). This album was later re-issued by Copper Creek Records (in 2005).
  • 1996, received a Distinguished Achievement Award from IBMA.
  • 2004, inducted into IBMA Hall of Fame.
  • 2005, released That Old Book of Mine album (County).
  • 2005, released Down in Caroline album (Copper Creek).
  • 2006, released Bluegrass Don’t You Know album (Copper Creek).
  • 2008, performed on the PBS show, Song of the Mountains, accompanied by the Steep Canyon Rangers.
  • 2010, inducted into North Carolina Music Hall of Fame.
  • 2010, celebrated his 90th birthday and his 75th anniversary in music.
  • 2011, inducted into Bill Monroe’s Bluegrass Hall of Fame.
  • 2016, his biography was published Foggy Mountain Troubador (Univ. of Illinois Press), written by Penny Parsons.
  • 2017, died at the age of 98 (on 12/27)

Seldom Scene, The


  • From Washington, D.C.
  • Formed in 1971 by John Duffey (mandolin), John Starling (guitar and lead vocals), Ben Eldridge (banjo), Mike Auldridge (Dobro™), Tom Gray (bass).
  • Name “Seldom Scene” was originally chosen because the group decided to stay at home and play once a week at a local club near their homes and day jobs.
  • First gig: The Rabbit’s Foot (a bar) in Washington, D.C. (November, 1971). Quit because the bartender wouldn’t turn down the TV.
  • Performed for several years on Thursday nights at the Red Fox Inn in Bethesda, Maryland. Later moved to the Birchmere in Alexandria, Virginia.
  • Mandolinist Duffy previously worked with the Country Gentlemen.
  • Lead singers: John Starling (he was both the first and the fourth), Phil Rosenthal, Lou Reid, Moondi Klein, Dudley Connell.
  • 1988, T. Michael Coleman replaced Gray after having worked with Doc and Merle Watson.
  • November 10th, 1986, celebrated their 15th anniversary at Washington D.C.’s Kennedy Center. Special guests: Ricky Skaggs, Linda Ronstadt, Emmylou Harris, the Whites, Jonathan Edwards and presidential press secretary James Brady, who brought congratulatory greetings from then-President Ronald Reagan.
  • Career highlight: performing for President Jimmy Carter at the White House.
  • 1992, John Starling returned to the band as lead singer. Was replaced by Moondi Klein in 1994.
  • 1995, Moondi Klein, Mike Auldridge and T. Michael Coleman left to devote full time to their new band, Chesapeake.
  • 1996, Klein, Auldridge and Coleman were replaced by Dudley Connell (guitar/lead vocals), Ronnie Simpkins (bass) and Fred Travers (Dobro™).
  • Sept. 1996, John Duffey was inducted in the IBMA Hall of Fame with the “Classic Country Gentlemen.”
  • Sept. 1996, Connell underwent surgery to remove a growth from his vocal chords.
  • December 1996, John Duffey died at the age of 62.
  • 1997, Lou Reid rejoined the group, replacing Duffey on mandolin.
  • 2000, Connell won IBMA award for Male Vocalist of the Year.
  • 2003, the original Seldom Scene re-united for several concerts (calling themselves The Seldom Seniors) with Larry Stephenson taking John Duffy’s spot.
  • 2013 (October) celebrated their 40th anniversary with a concert at the Red Fox Inn in the Washington DC area with past and present band members plus guests including Emmylou Harris.
  • 2014, the original band was inducted into the IBMA’s Hall of Fame.
  • 2014, released Long Time: Seldom Scene album (Smithsonian Folkways).
  • 2016, Ben Eldridge (the last remaining original member) officially retired from the band. Rickie Simpkins joined the band, playing banjo and fiddle.
  • 2017, Ronnie Stewart joined the band, replacing Rickie Simpkins.
  • 2019, original guitarist and lead singer John Starling died at the age of 79.
  • 2019, released Changes album (Rounder).
  • 2024, original banjo player Ben Eldridge died at the age of 85.


Senauke, Alan


  • Guitarist and singer from Berkeley, California.
  • Former editor of the Folk Music magazine “Sing Out!”
  • 1978, formed a duo with Howie Tarnower (mandolin) called the Fiction Brothers.
  • Former member of High Country.
  • 1986, recorded a guitar duet album with Eric Thompson.
  • 2001, joined a California band called The Bluegrass Intentions. Also performs with The Earls, the Aux Cajunals, and the Blue Flame Stringband.
  • 2002, released solo project Wooden Man: Old Songs From The Southern School (no label).
  • He is a Zen Buddhist priest.

Sewell, Keith


  • From Duncanville, Texas.
  • Began playing fiddle at age 3. Also plays banjo and mandolin, but is best known as a guitarist and songwriter.
  • Early years, played with his grandfather’s band, “The Shady Grove Ramblers” (Texas).
  • Moved to Nashville shortly after high school. Has worked with James Taylor, the Dixie Chicks, Earl Scruggs, Marty Stuart and Ricky Skaggs (he played in Ricky’s country band at age 19.)
  • His songs have been recorded by Montgomery Gentry, Steve Wariner, Alison Krauss, BR-549, Ricky Skaggs (“Brand New Strings”), other country and bluegrass artists.
  • 2002, toured with the Dixie Chicks (performed on their “Top of the World” Tour).
  • 2004, joined Jerry Douglas’ band, playing guitar.
  • 2006, joined the Sam Bush band, playing guitar.
  • 2006, released solo album Love Is a Journey (Skaggs Family).
  • 2007, toured with Lyle Lovett.

Sexton, Chris


  • From Manassas, Virginia.
  • Graduated from Shenandoah University in Winchester, VA with a degree in music performance.
  • Plays classical violin (in orchestras) as well as fiddle.
  • As a teen, was a member of his father’s group The East Coast Bluegrass Band.
  • 2000, joined Nothin’ Fancy.
  • 2005, released solo project Coffee at Midnight (Pinecastle).
  • 2013, became a professor of violin and viola at Northern Virginia Community College.

Shadd, Allen


  • From Middleburg, Florida.
  • Played guitar with the Front Porch String Band, Mark Johnson and Clawgrass.
  • 1997, won the National Guitar Championship at Winfield, Kansas.
  • 1997, won 1st place at the First Annual Flatpick Guitar Contest held at Steve Kaufmann’s guitar camp.
  • He has also won guitar contests at Merlefest and Rockgrass.
  • He has performed with
  • 1997, released solo project A Cut Above (Mid-Knight).
  • 2013, won the National Guitar Championship at Winfield for the second time.
  • 2014, released “Miles from the Hard Road” album (no label).

Shady Grove Band, The


  • From Chapel Hill, North Carolina..
  • Formed in 1981 by Jerry Brown (guitar) and Charles Pettee (mandolin).
  • Have toured Europe several times.
  • Sponsored by the North Carolina Arts Council and the Southern Arts Federation.
  • Brown previously recorded with a Holland group called the Dixie Wondertones.
  • 1987, released On the Line album (Flying Fish).
  • 1993, released Mulberry Moon album (Flying Fish).
  • 2001, released Out of the Blue album (BWR).

Shelasky, Paul


  • From San Francisco.
  • Fiddler who has worked with the Good Old Persons (12 years), John Reischmann, David Grisman, Jann Browne, Laurie Lewis and Grant Street, Lost Highway, the Walden Dahl Band, the Rhythm Brothers (at Disneyland) and other California-based groups.
  • 1975, 1981 won the California State Fiddle Championship.
  • 1996-2004, played fiddle for Lost Highway.
  • 1999, recorded a solo album called Fiddle-Crazy! (Lost Highway).
  • 2004, joined the David Thom Band (a bay area group).
  • 2008, formed Blue and Lonesome with Ed Neff and Larry Cohea, veterans of such bay area bands as High Country, the Vern Williams Band, etc.

Shelor, Sammy


  • From Ferrum, Virginia.
  • 1967, started playing banjo at age 5. First band: Posey Boyd family band at age 16.
  • 1980-81, played with Interstate Exchange (later became Summer Wages), and the Heights of Grass.
  • 1983-1989, founding member of the Virginia Squires.
  • 1990, joined the Lonesome River band
  • 1992, did a six-month stint with the country group Matthews, Wright and King. Toured with Reba McIntyre.
  • 1997, released first solo album Leading Roll (Sugar Hill).
  • 2002, became the leader of the Lonesome River Band.
  • 2012, won the Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Banjo and Bluegrass.
  • 2012, won his 5th IBMA Award for Banjo Player of the Year (also won in 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998).
  • 2013, appeared on Alan Jackson’s Bluegrass album.

Shelton, Allen


  • From Reidsville, North Carolina.
  • Legendary banjo player who began his career with Mac Wiseman in the early fifties, also with Jim Eanes and the Shenandoah Valley Boys.
  • Best known for his work with Jim and Jesse and the Virginia Boys (1959-1966). He recorded 89 tracks with them during this period.
  • Left music to work as a pipe fitter at a nuclear power plant for the Tennessee Valley Authority—primarily to earn enough money to put his four kids through college. Returned to work again with Jim and Jesse in 1983 (playing the five-string Dobro™) and then retired from music again in 1989.
  • 1977, released Shelton Special album (Rounder).
  • 2004, came out of retirement to play with Jesse McReynolds.
  • 2009, died of Leukemia at the age of 73.
  • 2010, an album was released featuring Shelton’s most popular tunes At His Best (Gusto).
  • 2018, was inducted into the Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame.

Shelton, Eddie


  • From Temple, Texas.
  • 1955 to 1963, played banjo with a Dallas group called the Country Cutups.
  • 1965 to 1968, lived in Oklahoma City and played in various ensembles with Byron Berline, Bobby Clark, Vince Gill, David Ferguson, Buck White, Alan Munde, Johnny Sanders and other area musicians.
  • Alan Munde credits Eddie as a major influence on his playing.
  • 1968, Lester Flatt invited Eddie to replace Earl Scruggs when Lester and Earl split up. Turned it down.
  • Performed for several years with Leon Valley Bluegrass, a band from Copperas Cove, Texas.
  • 1977, released Expedition album (Ridge Runner).
  • Died December 31, 1999.

Shelton, James Alan


  • From Gate City, Virginia. Made his home in Church Hill, Tennessee.
  • Played guitar with such bands as the Bluegrass Travelers, the Larkin Brothers, the Southern Grass and Flint Hill before joining Ralph Stanley and the Clinch Mountain Boys in 1994. He also served as the band’s road manager.
  • He emulated the guitar style of his musical hero George Shuffler (lead guitarist with the Stanley Brothers).
  • 1996, released Blue in the Blue Ridge album (Freeland).
  • 1998, released Clinch Mountain Guitar album (Freeland).
  • 1999, released Standing Room Only album (Freeland).
  • 2002, released Songs for Greta album (Rebel).
  • 2004, released Half Moon Bay album (Rebel).
  • 2007, released Walking Down the Line album (Sheltone).
  • 2010, released Where I’m Bound album (Sheltone).
  • When not on the road, he made hand-tooled, customised leather instrument straps, for guitar, banjo, and mandolin.
  • 2014, died of cancer at the age of 53.

Shelton, Tim


  • From Carlisle, Ohio.
  • Began his career in gospel music. He worked at Renfro Valley with David Marshall (of the Marshall Family).
  • Did a brief stint as a member of Larry Sparks and the Lonesome Ramblers.
  • Had an Ohio-based gospel group called the Beacons.
  • 2000, recorded a gospel album “I Stand Amazed” (Legend).
  • 2001, formed NewFound Road as a bluegrass gospel group but eventually transitioned the group to a broader, more secular audience.
  • 2013, disbanded NewFound Road to spend more time with his family and to pursue a solo career. He has also worked part-time with the Clay Hess Band, Trinity River Band, and Jesse Gregory.
  • 2016, launched a podcast on iTunes called the Tim Shelton Show.
  • 2016, teamed up with guitarist Clay Hess to form a group called The Surly Gentlemen.
  • 2018, created a Christmas program called Tim Shelton’s Very Vintage Christmas featuring songs from Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, Bing Crosby and other 1950’s-era holiday classics. He is also working with Heidi and Ryan Greer, and Tim Stafford of Blue Highway in a group called Sailor Street.
  • 2020, formed the Tim Shelton Syndicate, a bluegrass band with some of his former Newfound Road bandmates.

Shenandoah Blue


  • From Winchester, Virginia.
  • Formed in 2002 by Scott Walker and Dave Probst.
  • Walker (banjo) and Probst (mandolin) previously worked with Paul Adkins and the Borderline Band and Fastest Grass Alive.
  • Probst (leader/mandolin) formerly performed with Leon Morris, Paul Adkins, Special Blend, The Travelers.

Shotgun Holler


  • From Kentucky.
  • Formed in 2014 by Shawn Brock and Matt Jones.
  • Band members: Shawn Brock (mandolin), Matt Jones (guitar), Rod Lunger (bass), Nathan Treadway (banjo) and Alex Benefiel (fiddle). Band members live in Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio.
  • They specialize in performing and recording songs with non-traditional themes.
  • 2015, released first album Loaded (Lonesome Day/Dry Lightning)

Shuffler, George


  • From Valdese, North Carolina.
  • Best known as the man who made the guitar solo an integral part of the “Stanley Sound” when he was with The Stanley Brothers in the fifties and early sixties.
  • 1950, was in a comedy group called Mustard and Gravy.
  • 1951, worked in a band with Jim and Jesse McReynolds and Hoke Jenkins
  • Worked with the Stanley Brothers off and on throughout the 1950’s. Developed his “cross-picking” style on the guitar to compliment Carter’s singing. Many considered him “the third Stanley Brother.”
  • After Carter’s death in 1966, he worked with Ralph for a short time, then joined Don Reno and Bill Harrell until 1970.
  • 1970, formed the Shuffler Family Band, with his brothers and children, playing traditional southern gospel music.
  • 1996, received IBMA’s Distinguished Achievement Award.
  • 1999, came out of retirement to work with Ralph Stanley’s Clinch Mountain Boys, playing bass (replaced Jack Cooke for several months, when Jack had health problems).
  • 2011, was inducted into the Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame.
  • 2014, died on April 7, four days shy of his 89th birthday.



  • From Longview, Texas.
  • First group: Stringbean and His Mountain Playboys (in high school).
  • Early career: he was a pipeline inspector for a major gas company and an aide for a state hospital.
  • 1980-87, formed a group called Southern Heritage.
  • 1990, joined the Sullivan Family (gospel group).
  • 1993, formed Big Country, which eventually became known as Karl Shiflett and The Big Country Show.
  • Specializes in re-creating classic bluegrass circa 1949, with retro outfits, one mike, even toured in a 1947 Chrysler New Yorker with a string bass tied to the top.
  • 1999, released Karl Shiflett & The Big Country Show album (Rebel).
  • 2001, won IBMA award for Emerging Artist of the Year.
  • 2001, released In Full Color album (Rebel).
  • 2003, released Worries on My Mind album (Rebel).
  • 2012, released Take Me Back album (Pinecastle).

Shumate, Jim


  • From Hickory, North Carolina.
  • Began playing fiddle at age 14. He is considered one of the pioneers of classic bluegrass fiddling. He is the only fiddler to have worked as a member of each of the first three “Hall of Fame” bluegrass acts: Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys (1943), The Stanley Brothers (1948) and Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs and the Foggy Mountain Boys (1948).
  • 1943-1945, played with Bill Monroe’s Blue Grass Boys. In Nashville, introduced Earl Scruggs (also from Hickory NC) to Bill Monroe.
  • 1943, returned to the furniture business in Hickory.
  • 1948, won the National Fiddlers Convention in Richlands, Virginia.
  • 1948, worked briefly with the Stanley Brothers.
  • 1948, joined Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs and the Foggy Mountain Boys. Appeared on their first Mercury recordings.
  • Retired from life on the road to build furniture in the Hickory, NC area.
  • 1980, recorded “Bluegrass Fiddle Supreme” (RSR Records) backed by the Blue River Boys.
  • 1995, won the North Carolina Folk Heritage Award.
  • 1999, appeared in the CNN TV Special “Grass Roots to Bluegrass.”
  • 2011, was inducted into the Blue Ridge Music Hall of Fame.
  • Performed with his own band “Sons of the Carolinas.”
  • 2013, died at the age of 91.



  • From North Carolina.
  • Formed by Steve Dilling in 2010 as a part-time band to perform during open dates when his full-time band IIIrd Tyme Out was not touring. Original band: Dilling (banjo), Darrell Webb (mandolin, lead vocals) who fronts his own band, Skip Cherryholmes (guitar) who performs with Lou Reid and Carolina and is also Dilling’s son-in-law, Jason Moore (bass) who is a member of Mountain Heart, and Justin Haynes (fiddle) who is also in IIIrd Tyme Out. Haynes was later replaced by Greg Luck.
  • 2013, released first album called Session 1 (Mountain Fever Records.)
  • 2013, Dilling announced his retirement from IIIrd Tyme Out, making Sideline his primary musical outlet.
  • 2014, Webb and Luck left the band. Dilling decided to make Sideline a full-time band (rather than just a “sideline”) so he hired musicians (and brothers) Brian Aldridge (mandolin) and Nathan Aldridge (fiddle) later in the year.
  • 2015 lineup: Dilling (banjo), Cherryholmes (guitar), Moore (bass), Brian Aldridge (mandolin), Nathan Aldridge (fiddle), Brad Hudson (Dobro™).
  • 2015, released second album Session 2 (Mountain Fever).
  • 2016, Brian Aldridge left the group. He was replaced by Troy Boone.
  • 2016, released Colors and Crossroads album (Mountain Fever).
  • 2017, Hudson (reso guitar/vocals) left the group to pursue a solo career. Multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Bailey Coe (guitar) took his place. Coe was formerly a member of the Grass Cats.
  • 2018, Nathan Aldridge (fiddle) left the band to join Russell Moore and IIIrd Tyme Out. He was replaced by fiddler Daniel Greeson.
  • 2018, released Front and Center album (Mountain Fever).
  • 2019, Zack Arnold (mandolin; formerly with Claybank) replaced Troy Boone. Jamie Harper (fiddle; formerly with Junior Sisk) replaced Greeson.
  • 2019, won the IBMA Award for Song of the Year (“Thunder Dan”).
  • 2021, Nick Goad replaced Zack Arnold (mandolin). 2020 lineup: Dilling (banjo), Cherryholmes (guitar), Moore (bass), Goad (mandolin), Harper (fiddle) and Jacob Greer (guitar; formerly with Claybank).
  • 2021, released Ups, Downs and No Name Towns album (Mountain Fever).
  • 2021, bass player Jason Moore died at the age of 48 (heart attack).
  • 2021, Greer left the band. New lineup: Dilling (banjo), Cherryholmes (guitar), Kyle Windbeck (bass), Goad (mandolin), Harper (fiddle) and Andy Buckner (guitar).
  • 2023, stopped touring as a band.

Sidemen, The


  • From Nashville, Tennessee.
  • A group of side musicians, most of whom work regularly with other bands.
  • Perform on Tuesday nights at Nashville’s Station Inn when they are not on the road.
  • Members have included Terry Eldridge, Mike Bub, Jimmy Campbell, Ronnie McCoury, Gene Wooten, Ed Dye, Kristin Scott Benson and Larry Perkins.



  • From Saratoga, California (near San Jose).
  • Formed in 1979.
  • For 14 years, they were an all-female band. Went co-ed in 1993 and changed the name to Sidesaddle and Company.
  • Original members: Kim Elking (fiddle), Lisa Burns (bass) and Lee Anne Welch (mandolin). Other members: Beth McNamara (bass), Jerry Ashford (guitar), Bob Smith (banjo).
  • 1991, released Daylight Train album (Turquoise).

Silver, Chris


  • From River Falls, Wisconsin.
  • 1987-1992, played guitar and mandolin with Stoney Lonesome.
  • Mid-1990’s, toured with Kate McKenzie.
  • 1993, released solo project “Over Time.”
  • Late-1990’s, formed two bands: Tangled Roots (bluegrass) and Ruby Boots (country/acoustic.)
  • 2003, recorded “Souls and Spirits” album.

Simpkins, Rickie


  • From Christiansburg, Virginia. Lives in Nashville.
  • Learned fiddle at age six.
  • Age 9, played fiddle on stage with Flatt and Scruggs in his home town.
  • First band: Upland Express (recorded one album for Leather Records in 1979.) His brother Ronnie was also in this band.
  • 1979, joined the McPeak Brothers.
  • 1981, joined the Heights of Grass which morphed into the Virginia Squires (with brother Ronnie, Mark Newton and Sammy Shelor).
  • 1983, joined the Tony Rice Unit.
  • 1996, joined David Parmley, Scott Vestal and Continental Divide.
  • 1997, released Dancing on the Fingerboard album (Pinecastle).
  • 2000, joined the Lonesome River Band.
  • 2001, joined the Isaacs.
  • 2002, toured with the Gaithers.
  • 2002, released Don’t Fret It album (Doobie Shea).
  • 2008, was inducted into the Virginia Music Hall of Fame.
  • 2008, began touring with Emmylou Harris and Her Red Dirt Boys.

Simpson,, Sturgill


  • From Jackson, Kentucky; grew up in Lexington. Lives in Nashville.
  • 2004, after serving in the U.S. Navy, he formed a country-rock band in Seattle, Washington called Sunday Valley.
  • 2012, moved to Nashville and recorded his first album High Top Mountain (no label).
  • 2014, released Metamodern Sounds of Country Music (High Top Mountain Music). Made guest appearances on Late Night with David Letterman, The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, The Conan O’Brien Show and several other late night programs.
  • 2015, toured with Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard.
  • 2016, released A Sailor’s Guide to Earth album (Atlantic).
  • 2018, he acted in the movie Orca Park. Since then, he has acted in several other films.
  • 2019, released Sound and Fury album (Elektra).
  • 2020, released two bluegrass albums, Cuttin’ Grass Volume 1 and Cuttin’ Grass Volume 2 (High Top Mountain).
  • 2021, released a third bluegrass album, The Ballad of Dood and Juanita (High Top Mountain).

Sims, Benny


  • From Johnson City, Tennessee.
  • One of the pioneers of bluegrass fiddling. Began his career in the 1940’s with the Morris Brothers, Wiley and Zeke.
  • 1949, was a founding members of Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs’ band The Foggy Mountain Boys. Playe with them for about a year.
  • He played fiddle and sang lead on the classic F&S recording of “Salty Dog Blues.” He also played fiddle on the classic F&S recording of “Foggy Mountain Breakdown.”
  • He also worked with Roy Acuff and Bill Monroe.
  • 1982, released an album of fiddle tunes with banjo player E.C. Miller, “Bluegrass on the Mountain.”

Singleton, Emily


  • From Bell Buckle, Tennessee.
  • A vocalist who performs with her band Cumberland Plateau. Her sister Teressa also sings with her.
  • Her husband Dave Higgs plays guitar in the band. He is also co-owner of Bell Buckle Records and has a syndicated radio program “Bluegrass Breakdown.”

Sisk, Junior


  • From Ferrum, Virginia (born in Arlington).
  • Began performing at age 16, playing bass with local bands around Virginia. Eventually switched to guitar.
  • 1995, worked with Wyatt Rice and Santa Cruz with his cousin, Tim Massey (a successful bluegrass songwriter).
  • 1998-2001, lead singer with Rambler’s Choice, a band he formed with Massey, Elmer Burchett, Jimmy VanCleve and Allan Perdue.
  • 1998, was featured on the Doobie Shea “A Stanley Tradition” album.
  • 2001, he and his wife Susan were in a serious auto accident. He suffered minor injuries, but his wife had multiple surgeries and a long recovery.
  • 2001, worked with the Lost and Found.
  • 2002, joined Baucom, Bibey and BlueRidge.
  • 2007, re-formed Rambler’s Choice with Massey, Darrell Wilkerson (banjo), Chris Harris (mandolin), and Billy Hawks (fiddle).
  • 2008, released Blue Side of the Blue Ridge album (Rebel).
  • 2010 released Heartaches and Dreams album (Rebel).
  • 2011, released The Heart of a Song album (Rebel).
  • 2013, released The Story of the Day That I Died album (Rebel).
  • 2012, won IBMA Award for Song of the Year (“A Far Cry from Lester and Earl”) and Album of the Year (“The Heart of a Song”).
  • 2013, won IBMA Award for Male Vocalist of the Year.
  • 2013, released an album of duets with Joe Mullins Hall of Fame Bluegrass (Rebel).
  • 2014, released Trouble Follows Me album (Rebel).
  • 2016, won IBMA Award for Recorded Event of the Year for “Longneck Blues” (with Ronnie Bowman).
  • 2017, released The Mountains Are Calling Me Home album (Mountain Fever)
  • 2018, disbanded Ramblers Choice. Band members Jason Davis (banjo) and Kameron Keller (bass) formed a new band with several members of the Boxcars (also recently disbanded) called the Highland Travelers.
  • 2018, released Brand New Shade of Blue album (Mountain Fever).
  • 2022, released Lost and Alone album (Mountain Fever).
  • 2023, his band included Heather Berry Mabe (guitar), Tony Mabe (banjo), Jonathan Dillon (mandolin), and Curt Love (bass). They also perform on their own as Red Camel Collective.

Sister Sadie


  • From Nashville and various locations in the bluegrass heartland.
  • A all-female band that formed in 2012 after an impromptu jam session at the Station Inn in Nashville.
  • Original members: Dale Ann Bradley (guitar), Tina Adair (mandolin), Deanie Richardson (fiddle), Gena Britt (banjo) and Beth Lawrence (bass).
  • 2016, released self titled album (Pinecastle).
  • 2019, released Sister Sadie II album (Pinecastle). This album was nominated for a Grammy Award.
  • 2019, won the IBMA Award for Vocal Group of the Year.
  • 2020, won IBMA Awards for Entertainer of the Year and Vocal Group of the Year.
  • 2020, Dale Ann Bradley left the group to give more attention to her solo career.
  • 2021, Jaelee Roberts (guitar) and Hasee Ciaccio (bass) joined the band.
  • 2021, the group was featured in a special exhibit at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum called American Currents: State of the Music.
  • 2022, Mary Meyer (mandolin) joined the band, replacing Tina Adair who left to pursue her solo career.
  • 2023, Meyer left the band and was replaced by Dani Flowers (guitar). Also, Maddie Dalton (bass) replaced Ciaccio.

Sitze Family, The


  • From Fredericktown, Missouri.
  • Formed in 1990.
  • Denny (guitar) and Candy Sitze and their three sons: Dennijo (mandolin), Chad (banjo) and Andy (bass).
  • 1994, won the “National Old Time Band Championship” (National Traditional Country Music Association).
  • 1996, won the Pizza Hut International Bluegrass Showdown in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
  • 1997, released “Time Flies By” album (no label).
  • 1999, released “Livin’ in the Real World” album (Homeplace).
  • 2001, released From Within album (Three Hills).
  • 2004, released “Witness” album (no label).

Sizemore, Charlie


  • From Magoffin County, (eastern) Kentucky.
  • 1976, began performing with his father in a local bluegrass band and also worked briefly with the Goins Brothers.
  • 1997, at age 17 replaced Keith Whitley as guitarist and lead singer with Ralph Stanley and the Clinch Mountain Boys (1977-86).
  • 1986, left the Clinch Mountain Boys to form his own band and to return to school.
  • 1986, released first album “Congratulations” (Acoustic Revival).
  • 1988, released “Gravel Road” album (Rutabaga).
  • 1989, released “Call of the Honky Tonk” album (Rutabaga).
  • 1989, released “Singing with the Angels” album (Rutabaga).
  • 1990, graduated from the University of Kentucky at the top of his class. The only bluegrass artist to play the Grand Ole Opry and deliver a college commencement address—all in the same year.
  • 1990, released “I’ve Got a Good Memory” album (Rutabaga).
  • After college, he moved to Nashville and wrote songs for Paul Craft Music. His songs have been recorded by Ralph Stanley, Jimmy Martin, Doyle Lawson and others.
  • 1994, released Back Home album (Rebel).
  • After finishing law school in 1994, he opened a private law firm in Goodlettsville, Tennessee and began his career as an attorney. He continued to make recordings and occasional performances.
  • 1996, released In My View album (Rebel).
  • 2002, released The Story Is … The Songs of Tom T. Hall album (Rebel).
  • 2007, put his law practice on hold and returned to performing with the release of his Good News album (Rounder).
  • 2010, released Heartache Looking For A Home album (Rounder).
  • 2024, he was inducted into the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame.

Sizemore, Herschel


  • From Leighton, Alabama (near Muscle Shoals). Lives in Roanoke, Virginia.
  • 1957-1965, played mandolin with the Alabama-based group, The Dixie Gentlemen (with Jake Landers and Rual Yarbrough). Recorded for United Artists.
  • Other bands: The Boys from Shiloh (‘66), Jimmy Martin (‘67-68), The Shenandoah Cut-ups (‘69-74), Country Grass (‘74-’76), Del McCoury’s Dixie Pals (‘78-’79), The Bluegrass Cardinals (‘91-’95).
  • 1995, formed the Herschel Sizemore Band.
  • Is best known for his classic mandolin instrumental “Rebecca,” named after his mother.
  • 2012, “Mandolin in B,” a documentary film about his life and music was released.
  • 2022, he died at the age of 87.

Skaggs, Ricky


  • From Brushy Creek (near Cordell), Kentucky.
  • Learned to play mandolin at age 5.
  • Age 7, performed on Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs’ TV show.
  • First pro job: age 15 with Ralph Stanley’s Clinch Mountain Boys. Keith Whitley also was in that group.
  • 1970, he and Whitley recorded a duet album called Second Generation Bluegrass.
  • 1971-73, lived in Washington D.C. and worked with the Country Gentlemen, playing fiddle. He dropped out of high school and never finished. In 2020, Lawrence County High School in Louisa, KY awarded him an honorary high school diploma.
  • 1974, played mandolin and fiddle in J.D. Crowe’s band, The New South.
  • 1975, formed Boone Creek with Terry Baucom, Jerry Douglas and Wes Golding.
  • 1978, left Boone Creek to join Emmylou Harris’ Hot Band singing background vocals and playing guitar, fiddle and mandolin.
  • 1979, recorded Sweet Temptation album (Sugar Hill) which launched his career in country music.
  • 1982, won CMA Horizon award and Male Vocalist of the Year award.
  • 1982, married Sharon White (of the Whites). They have four children.
  • 1984, joined the Grand Ole Opry.
  • 1985, won CMA award for Entertainer of the Year.
  • His recording of Bill Monroe’s “Uncle Pen” was the first bluegrass recording to make #1 on the country charts since “The Ballad of Jed Clampett.
  • As a country artist, he had 18 top ten songs, 12 number one hits, 8 Grammies, 8 CMA Awards, 4 gold albums, 1 platinum album.
  • 1995-97, hosted TNN’s “Live at the Ryman” series.
  • 1996, formed new bluegrass band Kentucky Thunder.
  • 1997, released Bluegrass Rules, his first bluegrass album since “Family and Friends” (1982). This album won Album of the Year (IBMA).
  • Hosted the IBMA Awards show for four consecutive years (1995-1998). Also co-hosted the show in 2002 with Patty Loveless and in 2005 with Alison Krauss.
  • 2003, performed and recorded with Doc Watson and Earl Scruggs as The Three Pickers. The live concert was televised nationally on PBS.
  • 2004, inducted into the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame (in Renfro Valley).
  • 2004, became Dr. Ricky Skaggs. He was awarded an honorary doctorate of humanities from Eastern Kentucky University.
  • 2006, he and his band Kentucky Thunder won the IBMA Award for Instrumental Group of the Year for the 8th time in 9 years. (1998-2006. In 2001, the award was won by Nickel Creek.)
  • 2008, won the Grammy (his 13th) for Salt of the Earth with the Whites (Best Southern, Country or Bluegrass Gospel).
  • 2009, won the Grammy (his 14th) for Best Bluegrass Album: Honoring the Fathers of Bluegrass: Tribute to 1946 & 1947.
  • 2011, won Entertainer of the Year at the ICM (Inspirational Country Music) Awards.
  • 2013, released live album with Bruce Hornsby.
  • 2013, his autobiography Kentucky Traveler (with writer Eddie Dean) was published.
  • 2018, was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.
  • 2018, was inducted into the Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame.
  • 2021, was awarded the Presidential Medal of the Arts from President Donald Trump.
  • Hobbies: photography, fishing, collecting pocketwatches, old Marx Brothers and Three Stooges videos.


  • That’s It (Rebel, 1975) This is Ricky’s first album of bluegrass songs, showing the promise that would lead to superstardom ten years later.
  • Sweet Temptation (Sugar Hill, 1979) Ricky shocked his fans by adding steel guitars and drums to several songs but this album launched his career in country music.
  • Skaggs & Rice (Rounder, 1980) This is a re-issue of a classic album of country duets with Tony Rice.
  • Family & Friends (Rounder, 1982) A classic bluegrass album released after he had signed with Epic Records. Features the Whites, Jerry Douglas and other top musicians.
  • Bluegrass Rules (Rounder, 1997) This is the album that kicked off Ricky’s Kentucky Thunder years. Won the IBMA Award for “Album of the Year.” Features Bryan Sutton on guitar and Marc Pruett on banjo.
  • Soldier Of The Cross (Skaggs Family, 1999) Gospel songs. Some incredible harmony vocals throughout by Ricky, Paul Brewster and Darren Vincent.
  • Ancient Tones (Skaggs Family, 1999) Won the Bluegrass Grammy Award in 2000.
  • Sing the Songs of Bill Monroe (Skaggs Family, 2000) Originally titled “Big Mon: The Songs of Bill Monroe,” this album features Skaggs and his band with guests John Fogarty, Dwight Yoakum, Patty Loveless, Bruce Hornsby, the Dixie Chicks, Charlie Daniels, etc.
  • History of the Future (Skaggs Family, 2001)
  • The Three Pickers (Rounder, 2003) Ricky performs live in concert with Earl Scruggs and Doc Watson. A DVD of this concert is also available.
  • Live at the Charleston Music Hall (Skaggs Family, 2003) Great live recording capturing the feel of Skaggs and his band at their peak.
  • Brand New Strings (Skaggs Family, 2004) Won the Bluegrass Grammy Award in 2005.
  • Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder: Instrumentals (Skaggs Family, 2006) Bluegrass and Celtic instrumentals. Won the Bluegrass Grammy Award in 2007.
  • Ricky Skaggs & Bruce Hornsby (Skaggs Family, 2007) First collaboration between Skaggs and Hornsby with Kentucky Thunder. Bluegrass piano at its best.
  • Salt of the Earth (Skaggs Family, 2007) Ricky and the Whites. This album won a Grammy in the country Gospel category.
  • Honoring the Fathers of Bluegrass: Tribute to 1946 & 1947 (Skaggs Family, 2008) The “Fathers” are of course Bill Monroe, Flatt and Scruggs and the Stanley Brothers. This album won the Bluegrass Grammy award in 2009.
  • Songs My Dad Loved (Skaggs Family, 2009) Ricky sings self-accompanied on guitar, mandolin, banjo. No band.
  • Country Hits: Bluegrass Style (Skaggs Family, 2011). The title says it all. This originally came out on Cracker Barrel Records.
  • Music To My Ears (Skaggs Family, 2013) Contemporary gospel feel to this album.
  • Cluck Ol’ Hen (Skaggs Family, 2014) Great live recording featuring Skaggs and Bruce Hornsby with Kentucky Thunder.
  • Hearts Like Ours (Skaggs Family, 2014) This is an album of duets with his wife, Sharon (White).

Skeeter and the Skidmarks


  • From Virginia.
  • Formed in 1992 by Willard Gayheart and his son-in-law, Scott Freeman.
  • Performed both bluegrass and old-time music, featuring the clawhammer banjo of Edwin Lacey.
  • 1996, released one album Hubbin It (Hay Holler).
  • Disbanded in 1997.
  • Gayheart and Freeman formed a new group, Alternate Roots.
  • Gayheart is also an accomplished pencil artist, with a gallery in Woodlawn, Virginia.
  • Lacey went to seminary and became a Presbyterian minister in Indiana.
  • 2012, Lacey and Freeman recorded a duet album called “Siamese Cousins.”



  • From New York City.
  • Led by banjo whiz Tony Trischka.
  • Formed in 1981, broke up in 1989—after six European tours, two Japanese tours, and four albums.
  • 1981, released “Late to Work” album (Flying Fish).
  • 1984, released “Stranded in the Moonlight” album (Flying Fish).
  • 1986, released Skyline Drive album (Flying Fish).
  • 1989, released Fire of Grace album (Flying Fish).
  • Members included Trischka (banjo), Larry Cohen (bass), Dede Wyland (vocals), Danny Weiss (guitar), and Barry Mitterhof (mandolin). Wyland left the group in 1988 and was replaced by Rachel Kalem.

Slaughter, Shannon (and Heather)


  • From Chiefland, Florida.
  • 1992, began professional career playing guitar with the Lost and Found.
  • 1992-1995, joined the Larry Stephenson Band.
  • 2005-2007, joined the Lonesome River Band.
  • 2007, joined Lou Reid and Carolina.
  • 2009, worked with Melonie Cannon.
  • 2010, formed his own band County Clare.
  • 2011, released solo project The Sideman Steps Out (no label).
  • 2013, released album One More Road (no label) with his wife Heather and County Clare.
  • 2013, announced new lineup for his band County Clare: Jesse Daniel (Mandolin, Dobro™), Casey Foster (Banjo, Guitar), Cliff Bailey (Bass), and Stephen Burwell (fiddle). Wife Heather performs with the band on a limited basis due to the arrival of a new baby girl.
  • 2014, joined Grasstowne.
  • 2015, released Shannon and Heather Slaughter album Never Just a Song (no label).
  • 2017, released solo project Never Standing Still (Elite Circuit).
  • 2010, released solo project Hold On to Your Heart (no label).

Slay, Scott


  • From Denver Colorado. Originally from Pensacola, Florida.
  • 2012, was in a band with Sammy Shelor (of the Lonesome River Band) called Big Virginia Sky. They released one self-titled album in 2015. He played mandolin.
  • 2016, formed his own group Scott Slay and the Rail, playing guitar.
  • 2018, was a featured band at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival and the IBMA World of Bluegrass.
  • 2018, Scott won 2nd place in the guitar and mandolin instrumental performance competition at the Rockygrass festival.
  • 2019, released The Rail album (Bonfire) with guest artists, Sierra Hull, Sammy Shelor, Jim VanCleve, Mike Munford, Josh Shilling, Brandon Rickman, Aaron Ramsey and others.
  • 2021, released Mine All Mine album (Bonfire).

Sleepy Man Banjo Boys, The


  • From Lebanon Township, Western New Jersey.
  • Three brothers: Tommy (age 14, guitar), Robbie (age 13, fiddle) and Jonnie (age 9, banjo) Mizzone (ages as of July 2012).
  • 2011, they uploaded their bedroom “practice videos” to YouTube. They went viral and received over 10 million views the first year alone.
  • The name Sleepy Man Banjo Boys resulted from Jonnie’s habit of playing the banjo lying on his back on his bed and falling asleep. The boys say the name also comes from Psalm 4 which teaches that “sleep comes when your heart is right with God.”
  • 2011, appeared on the David Letterman show, Ellen DeGeneres, NBC Today Show, Mike Huckabee show, the Grand Ole Opry and numerous music festivals.
  • 2012, released “America’s Music” album, debuting at #8 on the Billboard Album Chart.
  • 2012, performed a tribute to Earl Scruggs on the IBMA Awards Show at the Ryman Auditorium, introduced by Steve Martin and joined by dozens of legendary bluegrass musicians.
  • 2013, played Carnegie Hall.
  • 2015, changed their name to Sleepy Man.

Slocan Ramblers, The


  • From Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
  • Original members: Frank Evans (banjo), Adrian Gross (mandolin), Darryl Poulsen (guitar) and Alastair Whitehead (bass). Charles James replaced Whitehead on bass.
  • 2014, released debut album Shaking Down the Acorns (SloMusic).
  • 2015, released Coffee Creek album (SloMusic), produced by Chris Coole of the Foggy Hogtown Boys and the Lonesome Ace Stringband.
  • 2018, released Queen City Jubilee album (SloMusic).
  • 2020, received the IBMA Momentum Award for Band of the Year.



  • From central Massachusetts.
  • Formed in 1989 by Mark Davis (guitar), Fran McConville (mandolin) and David DiBiasio (fiddle). Bob Dick (bass) joined them in 1993.
  • The play a mix of bluegrass, blues, jazz, folk and world music.
  • Their name originally had to do with the tempo of the fiddle tunes they played and also a mindset, of slowing things down. Or, an acronym that fits: Sustainable, local and organic.
  • They have recorded 3 albums (as of 2013).

Smathers, Jesse


  • From Eden, North Carolina. Lives in Floyd, VA.
  • 2009, won the guitar championship from the Virginia Folk Music Association.
  • 2010, after graduation from high school, joined the James King band playing mandolin.
  • 2014, joined Nothin’ Fancy.
  • 2015, joined the Lonesome River Band, playing mandolin. In 2021, switched to guitar.
  • 2021, released first single as a solo artist “Nothing In the World To Do” (written during the pandemic in 2020).
  • 2022, released self-titled album (no label).

Smith, Billy and Terry


  • From Nashville, Tennessee (originally from Reidsville, North Carolina).
  • Billy plays guitar, Terry plays bass.
  • Terry played bass for several years with the Osborne Brothers.
  • After coming to Nashville in the early 70’s, they worked on Bill Monroe’s farm.
  • Have recorded several albums for the K-Tel label including Long Live the Dead – A Tribute to the Grateful Dead.
  • Bill Monroe’s last recording was made with the Smith Brothers (2/21/96). He sang “Blue Moon on Kentucky” and played mandolin on their Bill Monroe Tribute album (K-Tel). Two days later he was hospitalized, and never returned to performing.
  • 2004, Terry was a founding member of the Grascals, playing bass.
  • Billy has written or co-written dozens of songs which have been recorded by Del McCoury, Bill Monroe, the Osborne Brothers, Dan Tyminski, the Seldom Scene, the Lonesome River Band, Doyle Lawson, IIIrd Tyme Out, Rock County, Dale Ann Bradley, James King, many others.
  • 2009, Billy released a solo project called Live From the Moose Lodge (no label) under the name Billy Boone Smith.

Smith, Craig


  • From San Bernardino, California. Lives in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
  • One of bluegrass music’s top session banjo players.
  • 1976, played with a California group called Wild Hickory Nuts.
  • Moved east to work with The Country Gentlemen, Charlie Moore, Jim Eanes.
  • 1980, formed Summer Wages.
  • 1990, formed ASH & W.
  • 1997, released Craig Smith album (Rounder).
  • 1998, joined Laurie Lewis’ Bluegrass Pals.

Smith, Dick and Mike O’Reilly Band


  • From Alexandria, Virginia.
  • Dick Smith (banjo) has also worked with The Country Store, The Del McCoury Band, The Country Gentlemen, The Lynn Morris Band, Bill Clifton and others.
  • Mike O’Reilly (guitar), a Canadian, is a bluegrass DJ and emcees many bluegrass festivals and events. Has also worked with his band Cody and is a multiple recipient of the Entertainer of the Year Award at the Canadian Bluegrass Awards.
  • Ray Legere (fiddle/mandolin) is a member of this band.
  • 1998, released Dick Smith & Mike O’Reilly Band album (New Era).
  • 2005, released “A Honky Tonk Frame of Mind” album (New Era).
  • 2005, released “Life’s Road” album (New Era).
  • 2008, released On The Town album (no label).
  • 2021, O’Reilly died at the age of 76.
  • 2022, Smith died at the age of 78.

Smith, Emma


  • From Hindman, Kentucky.
  • Began singing Gospel music and playing guitar while in her teens, influenced heavily by Molly O’Day and Loretta Lynn. Made early appearances on radio station WKCB in Hindman and on TV in nearby Hazard.
  • 1972, recorded first album “Angel Mother” (Majesty).
  • Larry Sparks began performing some of her songs which led to her recording contract with Old Homestead Records.
  • 1981, released “Hazard” album (Old Homestead) and a gospel album “Ship from King’s Harbor Shore” (Old Homestead).
  • 1984, she recorded on albums by Larry Sparks, Dave Evans, Kenny Baker and Josh Graves.
  • 1989, released “I Will Sing Of My Redeemer” album (Old Homestead).
  • 1991 released “Memories” album (Old Homestead)
  • 1992, released albums “Back To The Basics” (Old Homestead).
  • 1995, released “The Mighty Captain” album with Terri Caldwell (Old Homestead).
  • 2003, released “Coal Dust Country” album (Old Homestead) and “That Little White Church” album (Old Homestead).
  • She was awarded “Songwriter of the Year” and “Female Vocalist of the Year” (traditional category) by SPBGMA.
  • She retired to live with her family in Florida.

Smith, Fred E.


  • From Marshall, North Carolina.
  • A legendary country comedian and guitarist who with his cousin Red Rector (mandolin) performed as “Red and Fred.”
  • 1942, recorded in New York City the “Old Chisholm Trail” with Woody Guthrie, Burl Ives, J.E. and Wade Mainer for the BBC.
  • Also worked with Archie Campbell, Boots Randolph, Grandpa Jones, Kenny Baker, Jimmy Martin and many other country and bluegrass artists.
  • During the last years of his life performed at the Comedy Barn in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee and recorded with the VW Boys.
  • 2006, passed away at the age of 81.

Smith, Gerald


  • From Statesboro, Georgia. Has lived in Nashville since 1986.
  • He is a singer/songwriter with several number one songs to his credit including “What Part of No” (Lorrie Morgan) and “Every Minute” (Collin Raye). His songs have been recorded by dozens of country and bluegrass artists.
  • He was a regular on the “Hee Haw” television show. He was called “The Georgia Quacker” because of his ability to make realistic duck calls using just his hands and mouth.
  • He has written numerous humor and novelty songs like “You Play Like Chet” and “Where There’s a Will (There’s a Relative).”
  • 2021, he released Where There’s a Will album (no label), featuring bluegrass covers of many of his songs.

Smith, Kenny and Amanda


  • Kenny is from Nine Mile, Indiana. Amanda is from Davisville, West Virginia. They live in Meadows of Dan, Virginia.
  • 1992, Kenny won the guitar contest at Merlefest. Placed at Winfield in ‘92, ‘93, and ‘94.
  • 1993-4, Kenny was a member of Claire Lynch’s Front Porch String Band.
  • 1994, Kenny joined the Lonesome River Band.
  • 1997, Kenny released first solo album Studebaker (Sugar Hill).
  • Kenny’s hobby: collecting old glass marbles and restoring bicycles.
  • 1998, 1999, Kenny won IBMA award for Guitar Player of the Year.
  • 2001, Kenny left the Lonesome River Band to perform in a duo with his wife Amanda. They met in 1995 at a Lonesome River Band concert and married soon thereafter.
  • 2003, Kenny and Amanda won the IBMA Award for Emerging Artist of the Year.
  • 2004, released House Down the Block album (Rebel).
  • 2005, released Always Never Enough album (Rebel).
  • 2007, released Tell Someone album (Rebel).
  • 2008, released Live & Learn album (Rebel).
  • 2011, Kenny released his second guitar solo project “Return” (GAT-3).
  • 2012, released “Catch Me If I Try” album (Farmboy).
  • 2012, Kenny reunited with Ronnie Bowman and Don Rigsby (former bandmates in the the Lonesome River Band) to form The Band of Ruhks.
  • 2014, Amanda won the IBMA Award for Female Vocalist of the Year

Smith, Tim


  • From Kernersville, North Carolina.
  • Began playing fiddle at age 10. Had a group in high school called The Country Five and The Teenage Travelers.
  • 1974, won first place in fiddle contest at Lester Flatt’s Pinnacle, NC festival, which entitled him to play with Lester and the Nashville Grass on the Grand Ole Opry.
  • 1977, won first place in the fiddle contest at Galax, Virginia.
  • 1978, won first place in the fiddle contest at Union Grove. North Carolina.
  • 1975-1978, worked with L.W. Lambert and the Blue River Boys.
  • 1976, worked with a Florida group called the Poindexter Band.
  • 1979-1982, worked with The Bluegrass Cardinals.
  • During the 80’s and 90’s, he free-lanced with Bill Monroe, Jim and Jesse, Del McCoury, the Lost and Found, the Virginia Squires, Larry Stephenson, Wes Golding, The Country Gentlemen, the McPeak Brothers, Jim Eanes, Blue Ridge and other bands.
  • 2000, formed a new band with Les Deaton, Eric Ellis and Wes Golding called First in Line.
  • 2007, joined the Gospel group The Churchmen.
  • 2010, joined Rich in Tradition.
  • Has his own record company TRS Records. He has recorded six solo albums: “1978 World Champion Fiddler”, “Favorite Pastimes”, “Straight From The Heart”, “Plain and Simple”, “The Lonesome Blueridge” and “Fiddler Tim Smith & Friends.” on the TRS Records label.

Smith, Valerie


  • From Holt, Missouri. Lives in Nashville, Tennessee.
  • Began performing at age 11 at the Gas Station Garage in her hometown.
  • While in high school, she performed on shows with Vince Gill, John McEuen and Vern Gosdin.
  • Studied at the University of Missouri’s Conservatory of Music. Graduated in 1989.
  • Was an elementary school teacher before moving to Nashville in 1992.
  • Performs regularly at the Bell Buckle Cafe and Music Parlor (in Bell Buckle, Tennessee).
  • 1997, first appearance on the Grand Ole Opry as a guest of Charlie Louvin.
  • 1997, recorded first album Patchwork Heart (Bell Buckle), produced by Alan O’Bryant.
  • 1998, formed her band Liberty Pike.
  • 2000, released Turtle Wings album (Bell Buckle).
  • 2001, Valerie’s mandolin player Eddie Lee Miller died in an auto accident on the way to the IBMA trade show in Louisville.
  • 2002, released No Summer Storm album (Bell Buckle).
  • 2005, Valerie and her band performed on the sound track to “Bell Witch: the Movie.”
  • 2006, released Wash Away Your Troubles album (Bell Buckle).
  • 2006, underwent surgery to remove cysts from her vocal chords. After several months of rehabilitation, she returned to performing with her band.
  • 2008, recorded an album of duets with Becky Buller who was a member of her band at the time, Here’s a Little Song (Bell Buckle).
  • 2008, released That’s What Love Can Do album (Bell Buckle).
  • 2014, released The Human Condition album (Bell Buckle).
  • 2016, released “Small Town Heroes” album (Bell Buckle).
  • 2021, released “Renaissance” album (Bill Buckle).

Smoak, Jim


  • From Walterboro, South Carolina. Currently lives in Pekin, Indiana (near Louisville.)
  • Learned to play banjo from listening to the original three-finger style banjo player, Snuffy Jenkins.
  • At Age 18, moved to Knoxville, TN and worked with Carl & Perl Butler on the Cas Walker Show (WROL Radio).
  • 1952, played banjo with Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys. He left when Monroe was injured in an auto accident (January 1953).
  • 1953, worked with Jimmy Dickens until Monroe was able to start working again (December 1953).
  • 1953-1954, worked with Bill Monroe and recorded several classics with him including “Close By” and “My Little Georgia Rose.”
  • 1954-1955, worked with Arthur Smith (replacing Don Reno who formed a band with Red Smiley).
  • 1955-1957, served in the U.S. Army.
  • 1957-1960, played banjo with Hylo Brown and the Timberliners (Earl Scruggs recommended him for the job).
  • 1960-1962, moved to Baton Rouge the second time (he had previously worked there following his stint with Monroe in 1954) and formed his own band, Jim Smoak and the Louisiana Honeydrippers, recording two albums Bayou Bluegrass and “Louisiana Bluegrass.”
  • 1962-1973, moved to Alexandria, Louisiana and with Harold and Betty Thom, formed the Cumberlands, a folk group.
  • In the 1970’s, authored several popular banjo instruction books.
  • 1979, recorded “Moonshine Sonata” CD.
  • As a songwriter, his songs have been covered by the New Grass Revival, J.D. Crowe & the New South, and the Dixie Chicks. Songs include “This Heart of Mine,” “You Can Share My Blanket,” “Cold Sailor” and “Colly Davis”
  • 1982-2003, performed at the Old Stable Restaurant in Bardstown, Kentucky with a group called the Mountain Dew Hillbillies.
  • 2004, released Carolina Boy album (Copper Creek).
  • 2008, released “The Orange Blossom Special” album (no label).
  • 2013, released solo project Smoak House Jam (no label).

Smokey River Boys


  • From Nashville.
  • A “trademarked” recording group that has been the property of MCA (Decca) records since 1950. The original group included Lefty Jenkins, Luke Rogers, Sonny Wyatt and Bill Jackson, all of whom are now deceased. They were also stunt men in Hollywood westerns.
  • The second generation of Smokey River Boys were trademarked by MCA/Universal in 1963. They recorded two albums called “Dueling Banjos” and “Best of Banjo” which were marketed as a Time-Life series and sold through Readers Digest. They were re-released in 1999 by MCA/Universal as a result of the popularity of the movie “O Brother Where Art Thou.” As of 2002, only two members of that group were still alive, Larry Lee and Len Chapman.
  • The 2002 (third generation) of the Smokey River Boys includes Robert Metzger, Stephen Hill, Woody Wright and Doug Clements. Still on MCA/Universal, they released a single with the title “O Brother” which entered the Billboard charts in November 2002 at #37. Their publisher is Walt Disney Music.

Snider, Mike


  • From Gleason, Tennessee.
  • A member of the Grand Old Opry since 1990.
  • He was a regular on the Hee Haw television show.
  • 1983, won the national banjo championship in Winfield, Kansas.
  • He is also a gifted comedian and storyteller.
  • His entire home town (Gleason, Tennessee) came to Nashville to watch him perform for the first time on the Grand Ole Opry.
  • Known for his heavy southern drawl: “Heck no, it ain’t no put-on! My daddy’s talked like this all his life,” he says.
  • Has released several albums on his own record label (Tater Tot).

Snyder Family Band, The


  • From Lexington, North Carolina.
  • A family band featuring Bud Snyder (bass), his son Zeb (guitar and banjo) and daughter Samantha (fiddle).
  • 2010, released first album Comin’ On Strong (no label) when Zeb was 14 and Samantha was 10.
  • 2011, released Stages album (no label).
  • 2013, released Building Bridges album (no label).
  • 2013, Samantha appeared on the IBMA Awards Show as a member of the “2013 Bluegrass Youth All-Stars.”
  • 2015, released Wherever I Wander album (Mountain Home).
  • 2017, released The Life We Know album (Mountain Home).
  • 2020, Samantha is a member of the Darin & Brooke Aldridge band.

Soggy Bottom Boys, The


  • A fictional trio that performed in the movie “O Brother Where Art Thou” in 2001.
  • In the movie, the group was portrayed by actors George Clooney, John Turturro and Tim Blake Nelson.
  • On the soundtrack recording, the group included Dan Tyminski, Pat Enright and Harley Allen, with backing musicians Ron Block, Barry Bales, Jerry Douglas, Chris Sharp, Mike Compton and Stuart Duncan.
  • On the soundtrack album, Tim Blake Nelson sang lead on one song: “In the Jailhouse Now.”
  • 2014, Tyminski, Block, Duncan, Bales and Compton appeared together for a “reunion” of the Soggy Bottom Boys at the Ole Smoky® Moonshine Distillery in Gatlinburg, Tennessee.

Solivan, Frank (and Dirty Kitchen)


  • From Modesto, California. Lives in Alexandria, Virginia.
  • Began playing fiddle and banjo as a youngster. In high school studied the cello and was second chair in the California All-State Honor Orchestra.
  • 1995, moved to Alaska. Taught fiddle, mandolin and guitar. Played first chair violin in the University of Alaska Symphony Orchestra. Helped the Alaskan group Bearfoot Bluegrass get their start.
  • He is also a gourmet chef, hunter, fisherman and leathersmith.
  • 1996, toured with the Doug Dillard Band.
  • 2002, released first solo project I am a Rambler (no label).
  • 2003-2008, played mandolin and fiddle with the U.S. Navy Band Country Current.
  • 2009, formed his band Frank Solivan and Dirty Kitchen with Mike Munford (banjo), Chris Luquette (guitar) and Danny Booth (bass).
  • 2010, released Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen album (no label).
  • 2013, released Cold Spell album (Compass).
  • 2013, band member Munford was awarded IBMA Award for Banjo Player of the Year.
  • 2013, band member Luquette was awarded IBMA Momentum Award for Instrumentalist of the Year.
  • 2014, 2016, won the IBMA Award for Instrumental Group of the Year.
  • 2014, released On the Edge album (Compass).
  • 2015, did some dates with the Earls of Leicester, playing mandolin and singing tenor.
  • 2015, won 8 WAMMY awards (Washington Area Music Association) including Artist of the Year, Album of the Year, Song of the Year, Musician of the Year and Songwriter of the Year. He won 8 of the 9 awards that he was nominated for.
  • 2018, released If You Can’t Stand the Heat album (Compass).
  • 2023, Luguette (guitar) left Dirty Kitchen to pursue other opportunities.

Songs from the Road Band


  • From Asheville, North Carolina.
  • A project band formed by bass player and songwriter Charles R. Humphrey III (formerly with the Steep Canyon Rangers.)
  • Musicians have included Nicky Sanders (fiddle), Andy Thorn (banjo), Mark Shimick (mandolin), John Stickley (guitar), Sam Wharton (lead guitar). They are all members of other bands: The Steep Canyon Rangers, Shannan Whitworth and the Refugees, Larry Keel and Natural Bridge, The Emmitt-Nershi Band, Town Mountain, The Grit Pixies, Big Fat Gap, The Super Grit Cowboys and others.
  • 2006, recorded first album Songs from the Road (Lucks Dumpy Toad Records).
  • 2008, released second album As the Crow Flies (Lucks Dumpy Toad Records).
  • 2015, released third album Traveling Show (Lucks Dumpy Toad Records).
  • 2018, began touring together as a band with Charles Humphrey III (recently retired from the Steep Canyon Rangers), Ryan Cavanaugh (banjo), Mark Schimick (mandolin), Sam Wharton (guitar) and James Schlender (fiddle).
  • 2019, released Waiting on a Ride album (Lucks Dumpy Toad).
  • 2019, Cavanaugh left the band. He was replaced by Gabe Epstein (banjo).

Sonoran Dogs, The


  • From Tucson, Arizona.
  • Formed in 2011 by Peter McLaughlin (guitar), Mark Miracle (mandolin), Tyler James (banjo) and Bryan Davies (bass).
  • McLaughlin (guitar) is a national flatpick guitar champion (Winfield, 1988) and a former member of Laurie Lewis and Grant Street. He has also performed and recorded with Ross Nickerson and Chris Brashear and he has a solo album to his credit.
  • Miracle (mandolin) is a former member of Sawmill Road and Shady Creek.
  • James (banjo) won the Rockygrass banjo championship (2008).
  • 2015, released debut album Sonoran Dogs (Dog Boy Records).

Soul Pickers, The


  • From Hazel Green, Alabama (near Huntsville)
  • Formed in 2003.
  • Members: Shane Norman (mandolin), Daniel Wiseman (guitar), Tyler Anderson (banjo), Wayne Clemons (bass).
  • Perform gospel music, primarily at churches and gospel music events.
  • 2007, released first album on Tom T. and Dixie Hall’s Blue Circle record label.

Southern Blend


  • From Clay City, Kentucky.
  • Formed in 1984 by Ricky Wasson (guitar) and former members of John Cosby and the Bluegrass Drifters including Wayne Fields (banjo), Bill Fields (bass) and Rick Johnson (mandolin). Shayne Bartley (mandolin) was also a member of this group.
  • 1987, released “Spend Some Time with Southern Blend” album on Old Homestead Records.
  • 1988, released “Once Again” album on Old Homestead Records.
  • 1995, disbanded.

Southern Junction


  • From Concord, North Carolina.
  • Formed in 1990.
  • Features Bob Shue (banjo) and his sons Terry (bass) and Todd (mandolin). Also in the band: Mack Watson (guitar), Eddie Carr (fiddle).
  • Appear in the movie “This Moment in Country” which is shown at the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville.

Southern Rail


  • From Watertown, Massachusetts.
  • Formed in 1979.
  • Personnel: Jim Muller (guitar), Sharon Horovitch (bass), Rich Stillman (banjo), John Tibert (mandolin).
  • Muller is originally from Virginia; he is married to Horovitch, a Canadian.
  • They call their sound “Modern Traditional.”
  • For several years, Muller wrote a column titled “Plugged In” (dealing with sound reinforcement) for the now-defunct Bluegrass Now magazine.
  • 1987, released “Looking for the Lighthouse” album (Track).
  • 1989, released “Home” album (Track).
  • 1991, released “Drive By Night” album (Turquoise).
  • 1992, released Roadwork album (Turquoise).
  • 1993, released Carolina Lightning album (Turquoise).
  • 1996, released Glory Train album (Pinecastle).
  • 1998, released Wasting My Time album (Pinecastle).
  • 2002, released Coal Tattoo album (Railway).
  • 2008, released Live at the Linden Tree album (Railway).
  • 2009, released On the Road From Appomattox album (Railway).
  • 2019, were inducted into the Rhode Island Bluegrass Alliance (RIBA) Hall of Fame.

Southern Raised


  • From Crane, Missouri.
  • A family band featuring four siblings: Lindsay Reith (bass), Sarah Reith (banjo), Emily Reith (fiddle/mandolin) and Matthew Reith (guitar).
  • They specialize in bluegrass gospel music and perform regularly in churches and Christian concerts.
  • 2017, released Another World album (Provident).
  • 2019, Sarah was married to David Noland and now resides in Kansas.
  • 2019, became resident performers at Silver Dollar City in Branson, MO.

Sowell, The Family


  • From Knoxville, Tennessee.
  • Pronounced “Sow-(as in “cow”)-ell”
  • A family band featuring the Sowell siblings: Jacob (banjo), Joshua (guitar), Naomi (bass), Abigail (mandolin), John-Mark (fiddle) and Justus (guitar). They range in age from 11 to 21 (2018). Their parents Guynn (pronounced “Gwen”) and Cindy Sowell manage the group, drive the bus and coach.
  • They are primarily a gospel bluegrass band.
  • They have taken over 1000 ukeleles on mission trips to give children in Serbia and Russia.
  • 2017, won the “Youth in Bluegrass” band contest at Silver Dollar City.
  • 2017, signed with Poor Mountain Records. Released single “Mighty to Save.”
  • 2018, released single “Dusty Gravel Road” (Poor Mountain), co-written with Jerry Salley.
  • 2018, released single “Speak Love” (Poor Mountain).
  • 2020, released “Some Kind of Different” album (no label).
  • 2021, released “Time Travel” album (no label).

Sparkman, Steve


  • From Harlan, Kentucky.
  • Has the distinction of being only the second banjo player to perform as a member of the Clinch Mountain Boys (Ralph Stanley being the first.)
  • 1994, at the age of 22, he filled in for Ralph Stanley when Ralph broke his hip and was unable to hold the banjo on stage. When Ralph’s hip healed, he decided to keep Steve as a member of the band. Steve does most of the banjo playing now.
  • 2010, left the Clinch Mountain Boys to become a police officer with the Versailles (KY) police department. He was replaced by left-handed banjo player Jarrod Church.
  • 2013, appeared on Don Rigsby’s “The Doctor is In” album, a tribute to Dr. Ralph Stanley.

Sparks, Larry


  • From southern Ohio. Lives in Greensburg, Indiana.
  • Began singing and playing bluegrass when he was 5 years old, learning the guitar from his sister Bernice.
  • 1965, first professional job (at age 18): guitarist with the Stanley Brothers, replacing George Shuffler. After Carter died (December 1966) he took over the lead singing duties. He was the first lead singer with Ralph Stanley and the Clinch Mountain Boys.
  • 1969, formed his band The Lonesome Ramblers, which has undergone numerous and frequent personnel changes over the years.
  • 2004, released 40 album (Rebel), celebrating his 40 years in bluegrass music.
  • 2004, 2005, won IBMA Award for Male Vocalist of the Year.
  • 2005, won two IBMA Awards for Album of the Year and Recorded Event of the Year, both for his album 40.
  • 2014, released Lonesome & Then Some album (Rebel), celebrating his 50 years in bluegrass music
  • 2014, was inducted into the IBMA’s Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame, introduced by Alison Krauss.
  • 2019, released “New Moon Over My Shoulder” album (Rebel).


Sparks, Scottie


  • From eastern Kentucky.
  • First band: The Wilson Brothers, playing guitar.
  • Also played with Redwing and Unlimited Tradition.
  • Performed on the award-winning “Stanley Tradition” albums on Doobie Shea Records.
  • 1993, had a group called Scottie Sparks and the Kentucky Bluegrass Boys.
  • 1999, released first self-titled solo album Scottie Sparks (Doobie Shea).
  • 2000, joined Dave Evans and Riverbend.
  • 2002, joined The Lost and Found
  • 2003, released “The Early Years” album (no label.)

Spears, Ron


  • From West Valley City, Utah.
  • 1970’s, played in a band called “Obadiah’s Organic Bluegrass Band.”
  • 1976-1993, played rock and country music.
  • 1990, had a band called Bluegrass Conspiracy.
  • 1995, formed Within Tradition, which broke up after one year; re-formed in 1999.
  • 1999, released My Time Has Come album (Copper Creek).
  • 1999, worked briefly with Rhonda Vincent and the Rage.
  • Has written songs recorded by Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver, Third Tyme Out, Lou Reid, the Bluegrass Cardinals, others.
  • 2004, released Carolina Rain album (Copper Creek).
  • 2004, Within Tradition was disbanded and Spears joined The Special Consensus, replacing Josh Williams on mandolin.
  • 2007, left Special Consensus to briefly join Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver. Later in the year, joined David Parmley and Continental Divide.
  • He is also a champion “yo-yo man” (won Utah State Grand Championship) and a ventriloquist.
  • 2009, joined the James King band.
  • 2013, joined the Reno and Harrell band playing bass.
  • 2015, joined David Parmley and Cardinal Tradition.
  • 2019, formed Fast Track with several members of Cardinal Tradition when Parmley disbanded the group.
  • 2023, died at the age of 69.

Special Consensus


  • From Chicago, Illinois.
  • The name Special Consensus comes from the writings of Carlos Casteneda, an anthropologist who wrote about the mystical and spiritual beliefs of a Mexican Indian tribe. The “special consensus” was a state of mind for the Yaqui Indians where “all the good things in life connect with the good things of the spirit.”
  • Led by banjo-virtuoso Greg Cahill, who formed the group in 1975 and has been the one constant member.
  • Cahill’s early influences: polka music (he played an accordian at age 8). In the 1960’s, he heard Flatt and Scruggs, fell in love with the banjo. Has been a full time banjo player since 1975.
  • Cahill has a master’s degree in social work.
  • 1992, Cahill also performed and recorded several albums with mandolinist Don Stiernberg.
  • 1993, released Green Rolling Hills album (Turquoise).
  • 1996, released Strong Enough to Bend album (Pinecastle).
  • 1998, released Our Little Town album (Pinecastle).
  • 1998, Cahill played banjo on the John Lithgow Discover Card commercials. Has also played on several Coke commercials.
  • 2000, released 25th Anniversary album (Pinecastle) to celebrate their silver anniversary as a band.
  • 2002, survived a serious bus accident in April near Texarkana, Texas. Bus was totaled.
  • 2002, released Route 10 album (Pinecastle).
  • 2004, released Everything’s Alright album (Pinecastle)
  • 2006, Cahill was elected president and chairman of the board of IBMA. Cahill had previously served as vice-chairman of the board and chaired IBMA’s Bluegrass in the Schools committee.
  • 2007, released Trail of Aching Hearts album (Pinecastle).
  • 2008, Cahill appeared on the Jerry Springer Show (NBC) in a hillbilly-themed segment.
  • 2009, released Signs album (Pinecastle).
  • 2010, released 35 album (Pinecastle), celebrating the band’s 35th anniversary.
  • 2012, released Scratch Gravel Road album (Compass).
  • 2013, released album Country Boy: A Bluegrass Tribute To John Denver (Compass).
  • 2014, won IBMA Awards for Instrumental Recorded Performance of the Year (“Thank God I’m a Country Boy”) and Recorded Event of the Year (“Wild Montana Skies” with Claire Lynch and Rob Ickes.)
  • 2016, released Long I Ride album (Compass).
  • 2016, won IBMA Award for Instrumental Recorded Performance of the Year (“Fireball” with Rob Ickes, Trey Hensley and Alison Brown).
  • 2018, released Rivers and Roads album (Compass).
  • 2018, won IBMA Awards for Album of the Year (for Rivers and Roads) and Instrumental Recorded Performance of the Year (“Squirrel Hunters” from the same album).
  • 2020, released Chicago Barn Dance album (Compass); won the IBMA Award for Song of the Year for the title song.
  • 2021, Rick Faris left the group after 11 years to pursue a solo career. Greg Blake took his place.
  • 2023 lineup: Cahill (banjo), Blake (guitar), Dan Eubanks (bass), Michael Prewitt (fiddle/mandolin).
  • 2023, released Great Blue North album (Compass).



  • From Nashville.
  • A band that included Glenn Lawson (guitar and lead vocals), Bela Fleck (banjo), Jimmy Gaudreau (mandolin), and Mark Schatz (bass.) Jimmy Mattingly played fiddle with this band for a short time.
  • Fleck and Schatz were previously with Tasty Licks; Gaudreau and Lawson were previously with J.D. Crowe and the New South. In 1979, they left their respective bands to form Spectrum.
  • 1981, released “Opening Roll” album (Rounder).
  • 1982, released “It’s Too Hot for Words” album (Rounder).
  • 1983, released “Live in Japan” album (Rounder).
  • Broke up in 1982, shortly after Fleck joined the New Grass Revival.

Spinney Brothers, The


  • From Wolfville, Nova Scotia, Canada.
  • Formed in 1992 as The Spinney Brothers and Close Company.
  • Features brothers Allan (guitar) and Rick (banjo), born the same day in August, one year apart (1965 and 1966).
  • 1995, won Band of the Year at the Eastern Canadian Bluegrass Music Awards.
  • 1993, released “The Spinney Brothers and Close Company” (no label).
  • 1996, released “The Old Fundy Shore” album (no label).
  • 2000, shortened the name of their band to the Spinney Brothers.
  • 2000, released “Tailor Made” album (no label).
  • 2005, released “If I Were Your Brother” album (no label) which won Recording of the Year at the Eastern Canadian Bluegrass Music Awards.
  • 2006, released “Here at the Cross” album (no label).
  • 2008, released “Going Home” album (no label).
  • 2009, released When Those Golden Leaves Began to Fall album (no label).
  • 2010, released “Side by Side” album (no label).
  • 2010, became a full-time touring band.
  • 2010, were inducted into the Nova Scotia Country Music Hall of Fame.
  • 2012, released Memories album (Mountain Fever),
  • 2013, released No Borders album (Mountain Fever).
  • 2014, released Tried & True album (Mountain Fever).
  • 2016, released Living the Dream album (Mountain Fever).
  • 2017, decided to stop touring.
  • 2019, decided to resume touring as a band.

Spring Creek


  • From Lyons, Colorado
  • 2004, formed at South Plains College in Levelland, Texas where they studied music under Alan Munde and Joe Carr.
  • Members: Taylor Sims (guitar), Jessica Smith (bass), Chris Elliott (banjo), Alex Johnstone (mandolin).
  • 2006, released first album “Cosmic Bluegrass.”
  • 2007, won the band contests at Telluride Bluegrass Festival and the Rocky Mountain Bluegrass Festival held in Lyons.
  • 2008, released second album “Lonesome Way to Go.”
  • 2009, released “Way Up on a Mountain” on Rebel Records.
  • 2011, released “Hold On Me” on their own label.

Springfield Exit


  • From Virginia.
  • Formed 2003 by Linda and David Lay (Appalachian Trail) and David McLaughlin (formerly with the Johnson Mountain Boys) to record a project for the Cracker Barrel record label, Americana. Band also included Tom Adams (banjo) and Marshall Wilborn (bass).
  • 2011, performed at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC for the National Council of the Traditional Arts. Sammy Shelor played banjo with them.
  • 2013, opened for Merle Haggard.
  • 2015, released That was Then album (Patuxent Records).

Sprouse, Blaine


  • From Martinsburg, West Virginia. Lived in Nashville for many years, then moved to California. Currently lives in Point Reyes, California.
  • Has been a member of numerous notable bluegrass bands (as fiddle player) including the Osborne Brothers, Jim and Jesse, Jimmy Martin, Charlie Louvin, The Bluegrass Band, The Johnson Mountain Boys, The Dreadful Snakes, The Cluster Pluckers.
  • Age 13, heard Kenny Baker play the fiddle and decided he wanted to play just like him. Twenty years later, recorded a duet album with Baker.
  • 1979, released first solo project “Blaine Sprouse” (Rounder).
  • 1982, released “Summertime” album (Rounder).
  • 1984, played fiddle on the hit Alabama single “If You Want to Live in Texas, You Gotta Have a Fiddle in the Band.”
  • 1985, released Brilliancy album (Rounder).
  • 1987, performed with Kenny Baker, Alison Krauss and other notable fiddlers in the “Masters of the Folk Violin” tour.
  • 1989, released an album of duets with Kenny Baker Indian Springs (Rounder).
  • 1990, quit full-time music to pursue a law degree. Went into private practice and later joined the staff of the Tennessee State Attorney General.
  • 1992, released “Dogwood Winter” album (Cumberland).
  • 2010, ended his law practice in Tennessee, moved to California and revived his music career. He has been performing as a member of Peter Rowan’s band, among others.

Spruce Pine


  • From The Netherlands (Holland).
  • Formed in 1977 by Dennis Schut, who played guitar with Charlie Moore on several European tours in the 1970’s. He also toured with Jim Eanes.
  • Spruce Pine is a town in North Carolina.
  • Original band name: The Loser Mountain Boys.
  • 1989, released Won’t You Sometimes Think of Me album (no label).
  • 2007, released album “30 Years.”
  • 2007, Schut toured the U.S. with the Czech Republic band Country Cocktail.

Sprung, Roger


  • From Newtown, Connecticut. He was originally from New York City. His father was a Manhattan lawyer.
  • Began playing banjo in the early days folk music (1950’s-1960’s) around New York City. He studied the music of the Carolinas and played in groups like the Folksay Trio, the Shanty Boys and others.
  • Recorded several banjo albums for Folkways Records, with Doc Watson on guitar, including “Progressive Bluegrass Vol. 1.”
  • 1970’s, formed a group called Roger Sprung, Hal Wylie and the Progressive Bluegrassers.
  • He is sometimes called the Godfather of Progressive Bluegrass.
  • He was also an artist and calligrapher.
  • 1970, won “World Championship Banjo Player” at the Union Grove Old Time Fiddlers Festival.
  • 2020, was inducted into the Banjo Museum Hall of Fame.
  • 2023, died at the age of 92.

Spurgin, Steve


  • From McKinney, Texas (near Dallas). Now living in Carson City, Nevada.
  • Best known as the bass player and lead vocalist with the band California (three-time winner of IBMA’s Instrumental Group of the Year Award.)
  • A singer-songwriter with many songs to his credit including “Walk in the Irish Rain” and “Speak Softly, Your Talkin’ to My Heart”, a #1 song for Gene Watson.
  • 1972, played drums with a California group called Wild Oats.
  • 1980, played drums with Byron Berline’s band Sundance.
  • 1981, played drums with the Limeliters. Also worked withi Freddy Fender, Mason Williams and Steve Gillette.
  • 1982, became staff songwriter for Reba McIntyre.
  • 1988, formed California with Byron Berline, John Hickman, Dan Crary and John Moore. Played bass and sang lead vocals.
  • 1996, released first solo project Distant Faces (Tricopolis Records).
  • 1998-2000, played bass with Bluegrass Etc. He continues to play occasional dates with this band.
  • 2002, released Tumbleweed Town album (Tricopolis Records).
  • 2004, formed a band called Sawmill Road (broke up in 2010).
  • 2011, released Past Perfect album (Blue Night).
  • 2012, released Folk Remedies album (Blue Night).
  • 2014, authored a memoir (book) titled Skint Knee, Texas: Narratives on the Great Transition.

Staats, Johnny


  • From Jackson County, West Virginia. Lives on a 20 acre farm.
  • Started playing mandolin at age seven. Also plays guitar and fiddle.
  • At age nine, formed his first band called “Bluegrass Heritage.”
  • After graduation from high school, pursued a music career in Nashville, but things didn’t work out. Returned home and took a job with United Parcel Service (UPS).
  • 1992, formed a group called The Cross Roads Band, performing mostly gospel music. After touring Taiwan, the group broke up.
  • Does studio work in West Virginia and tours with his new band “The Johnny Staats Project.”
  • 1992, 1993, won the Ohio State Guitar Championship.
  • 1995, won the guitar championship at MerleFest.
  • 1995, Cross Currents Band won band contest at Winterhawk.
  • 1996, 1997, 1999 won the mandolin and guitar championships at Vandalia Gathering in Charleston, West Virginia.
  • Hobby: coon hunting.
  • 2000, released a solo album Wires And Wood (Giant) backed by John Cowan, Scott Vestal, Sam Bush, Kathy Mattea, Jim Hurst, Tim O’Brien and Jerry Douglas.
  • Has appeared on the Today Show (NBC) and the CBS News with Dan Rather.
  • 2012, formed his own band The Delivery Boys. He continues to work as a driver for UPS.
  • 2013, released Time Moves on album (no label).

Stafford, Tim


  • From Kingsport, Tennessee.
  • 1990-1993, played guitar with Alison Krauss and Union Station. Appeared on the Grammy winning album “Every Time You Say Goodbye.” Says he decided to quit when he returned from a long tour and his son didn’t recognize him.
  • Early in his career, performed with Dusty Miller, The Boys in the Band, the Hazel Dickens Band, others.
  • He is an original member of the IBMA board of directors.
  • Taught history at East Tennessee State University and came close to getting his Ph.D.
  • 1994, formed Blue Highway.
  • 2004, released first solo project
  • 2010, released a duet album with Steve Gulley Dogwood Winter (Rural Rhythm).
  • 2014, released solo project Endless Line (Flatpicking Guitar Magazine).
    Just to Hear the Whistle Blow on his own label (Hedge Drive Records).
  • 2021, won the IBMA Award for Best Liner Notes (for California Autumn by Tony Rice).
  • 2023, joined the faculty of East Tennessee State University as Artist in Residence.
  • 2023, won the IBMA Award for Songwriter of the Year for the third time (also won in 2014 and 2017).

Stamper, Art


  • From Hindman, Kentucky.
  • One of bluegrass music’s pioneering fiddle players.
  • As a teen, he began professional career working with Jim and Jesse and The Sauceman Brothers.
  • Early 1950’s, worked with the Stanley Brothers and recorded some of their classic songs.
  • 1956, worked with Red Allen and the Osborne Brothers.
  • Late fifties, quit music to become a hairdresser in Louisville, KY. Re-emerged in early 80’s to work with the Goins Brothers.
  • 1982, recorded an album titled Lost Fiddler (County) after the nickname he picked up after returning to music.
  • 2000, released Goodbye Girls I’m Going to Boston album (County).
  • 2004, recieved the Distinguished Achievement Award from the IBMA.
  • 2004, released Wake Up Darlin Corey album (County).
  • Died January, 2005 of throat cancer.

Stanley Brothers, The


  • From McClure, Virginia.
  • Carter and Ralph Stanley were among the most influential of the first-generation bluegrass bands.
  • First began recording “hillbilly music” in the 1940’s.
  • Late 40’s, signed with Columbia and developed a bluegrass sound which was patterned after Bill Monroe’s. (This resulted in Bill Monroe’s leaving Columbia for Decca.)
  • 1953-1958, recorded for Mercury Records. (In the early years of bluegrass, there was kind of a record company “musical chairs” being played among Monroe, Flatt and Scruggs, and the Stanley Brothers—involving Mercury, Columbia and Decca.)
  • 1958, were assigned to Mercury’s subsidiary label, Starday. Later recorded for Wango and King Records.
  • One of the first bluegrass bands to feature the guitar as a lead instrument, setting themselves apart from other bluegrass acts. Bill Napier, George Shuffler, Curley Lambert and Larry Sparks all played lead guitar for the Stanley Brothers.
  • They rose to prominence on the popular radio show “Farm and Fun Time” broadcast over WCYB in Bristol, Tennessee.
  • Their recording of “The Orange Blossom Special” landed them the “Instrumental Group of the Year” award at the 1955 Nashville Disc Jockey’s Convention (later to become the Country Music Association Awards Show.)
  • Their recording of “How Far to Little Rock” was their only “top 20” song. In March of 1960, it entered the Billboard country music charts and peaked at #17. It stayed on the chart for 12 weeks.
  • Carter Stanley wrote some of his songs under the pseudonym “Ruby Rakes.”
  • Ricky Skaggs and Keith Whitley were first attracted to bluegrass music by the music of the Stanley Brothers and performed with them before Carter’s death.
  • Carter is best remembered by a wealth of great songs which are still performed and recorded by almost every bluegrass band, and by such artists as Ricky Skaggs and Emmylou Harris.
  • 1992, were inducted into the International Bluegrass Music Museum’s Hall of Honor.
  • 1996, Carter died of liver cancer at age 41.
  • After Carter’s death, Ralph continued to perform as “Ralph Stanley and the Clinch Mountain Boys.”
  • 2000, the Stanley Brothers’ recording of “Angel Band” was included on the movie soundtrack O Brother, Where Art Thou? (Mercury/Lost Highway).


Stanley, Kristi


  • From Pikeville, Kentucky.
  • She is the wife of Ralph Stanley II.
  • She began singing as a teenager and performed with a country band called Sandy River, later opening for Kenny Chesney, Billy Ray Cyrus and other country acts.
  • 2001, appeared on Dr. Ralph Stanley’s Clinch Mountain Sweethearts album (Rebel).
  • After marrying Dr. Ralph’s son (Ralph Stanley II), she put her singing career on hold to raise their two children, Taylor and Ralph Stanley III.
  • 2017, returned to her singing with the release of her first album “Heart Wide Open” (Union House).
  • Her band is called Running Blind.

Stanley, Nathan


  • From Coeburn, Virginia.
  • He is the grandson of Ralph Stanley. He started touring with his grandfather at age 10.
  • Released 7 solo albums before the age of 21.
  • 2008, released Where Will You Go album (no label), duets with Ralph Stanley.
  • 2010, released My Kind of Country album (no label).
  • 2012, formed Nathan Stanley Ministries, focusing primarily on gospel music (Southern Gospel).
  • 2013, released The Legacy Continues album (no label).
  • 2014, won a Dove award (Bluegrass Album of the Year) for his album Every Mile (Willow Creek).

Stanley, Ralph


  • Born in 1927 in Big Spraddle Creek, Virginia. His home was in McClure, Virginia.
  • 1946, began performing with his brother Carter as the The Stanley Brothers after his discharge from the Army until Carter’s death in 1966.
  • 1966-2016, Ralph kept The Stanley Brothers’ band The Clinch Mountain Boys together by employing a long succession of lead singers cut in the Carter Stanley mold—Larry Sparks, Roy Lee Centers, Keith Whitley, Charlie Sizemore, Sammy Adkins, and his sons Ralph Stanley II and Nathan.
  • Ricky Skaggs and Keith Whitley joined The Clinch Mountain Boys while they were teenagers.
  • He claims that had he not become a professional musician, he would have become a veterinarian.
  • 1976, he received an honorary Doctor of Music degree from Lincoln Memorial University in Harrogate, Tennessee. Since then, he has been known as “Dr. Ralph Stanley.”
  • 1999, won IBMA Awards for Album of the Year and Recorded Event of the Year for his album Clinch Mountain Country (Rebel).
  • 1999, recorded first album with Nashville hit-writer Jim Lauderdale. He recorded several more with him in subsequent years.
  • 2000, became a member of the Grand Ole Opry at age 72.
  • 2000, received the Living Legend award from the Library of Congress.
  • 2000, sang on the soundtrack for the movie “O Brother, Where Art Thou” and received numerous CMA and Grammy awards for his work on that project.
  • 2001, won Grammy award for Best Country Vocal Performance for “O Death” from the soundtrack to the movie O Brother, Where Art Thou? (Other nominees included Willie Nelson, Lyle Lovett, Tim McGraw, Johnny Cash and Ryan Adams)
  • 2001-2, performed on the “Down from the Mountain” tour.
  • 2002, won IBMA award for Recorded Event of the Year for Clinch Mountain Sweethearts (Rebel).
  • 2003, won Grammy for Best Bluegrass Album for his collaboration with Jim Lauderdale, Lost in the Lonesome Pines (Dualtone). Ralph’s solo album Ralph Stanley (Columbia), produced by T. Bone Burnett, was also nominated but did not win.
  • 2006, was awarded the National Medal for the Arts by President George W. Bush at the White House.
  • 2007, performed for the Queen of England when she visited Richmond, Virginia.
  • 2008, was presented with the “Governor’s Award for the Arts” by the State of Virginia.
  • 2010, his autobiography was published. Stanley and co-writer Eddie Dean received an IBMA Award for Print Media Personality of the Year.
  • 2013, announced his retirement (but continued to make appearances for three more years).
  • 2014, received his second honorary doctorate, a Doctor of Music degree from Yale University in New Haven, CT.
  • 2014, was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (along with Al Pacino, John Irving, Annie Proulx and other notable public figures).
  • 2015, released Man of Constant Sorrow album (Cracker Barrel) with guests Dierks Bentley, Josh Turner, Robert Plant, Elvis Costello, Old Crow Medicine Show and others.
  • 2016, officially turned the band name over to his son Ralph Stanley II.
  • June 23, 2016, died at the age of 89.
  • 2024, he was inducted into the American Banjo Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City.



Stanley, Ralph II


  • From McClure, Virginia.
  • Son of Ralph Stanley, who in 1995 began performing full-time in his father’s band, playing guitar and singing lead at the age of 16.
  • 1996, recorded an album of duets “in the Stanley Tradition” with multi-instrumentalist John Rigsby, also a member of the Clinch Mountain Boys. Rigsby is from Louisa, Kentucky.
  • Nickname: “Two.”
  • 1999, released first solo album Listen to My Hammer Ring (Rebel).
  • 2000, released Pretty Girls City Lights album (Rebel)
  • 2002, released Stanley Blues album (Rebel).
  • 2003, released Carrying on album (Rebel), nominated for a Grammy Award.
  • 2008, released This One Is Two album (Lonesome Day).
  • 2011, released Born to Be a Drifter album (Stanley Generation).
  • 2014, released Side By Side album (Rebel) with his father Dr. Ralph Stanley.
  • 2016, inherited his father’s band name and began making appearances as Ralph Stanley II and the Clinch Mountain Boys.

Starlett & Big John


  • From Southampton County, Virginia (Big John) and Ruffin, North Carolina (Starlett).
  • Starlett Boswell Austin grew up in Cascade, Virginia and began singing on stage at age 4. She plays guitar and upright bass and since 2013 has been the lead singer and bass player with the North Carolina band Lawson Creek Grass.
  • Big John Talley has been performing since the early 1980’s. At age 16 he won Male Vocalist of the Year from the Virginia Folk Music Association. At age 17, he began performing with the New Dominion Bluegrass Boys and with that group appeared on the Grand Ole Opry as a guest of Bill Monroe.
  • 2021, they signed with Turnberry Records.
  • 2021, released Til the End of the Road album (Turnberry).
  • 2022, signed with Rebel Records.
  • 2023, released Living in the South album (Rebel).

Starling, John


  • From Alabama. Lives in Fredericksburg, VA.
  • One of the founding members of the Seldom Scene.
  • Left the Seldom Scene in 1988 to devote himself full-time to his medical practice. He is a surgeon, specializing in ear, nose and throat ailments (or as John Duffy liked putting it, “ear, nose and wallet.”)
  • Was musical director for the award-winning “Trio” album featuring Linda Ronstadt, Emmylou Harris and Dolly Parton.
  • 1980, released “Long Time Gone” album (Sugar Hill) with guests Emmylou Harris, Ricky Skaggs and Lowell George (of Little Feat).
  • 1982, released “Waiting on a Southern Train” album (Sugar Hill).
  • 1991, collaborated on a duet album with Carl Jackson and The Nash Ramblers (Sam Bush, Al Perkins and Emmylou Harris) which won the Grammy Award for Best Bluegrass Recording (1992). John and Carl referred to their style of music as “Power Grass.”
  • 1992, re-joined the Seldom Scene to become its guitarist and lead singer for a second time.
  • 1994, left the Seldom Scene again; was replaced by Moondi Klein.
  • 2005, he, Ben Eldridge and Tom Gray did several shows as The Seldom Seniors.
  • 2005, formed new band Carolina Star with Mike Auldridge, Rickie Simpkins, Tom Gray and Jimmy Gaudreau. They were a part-time band.
  • 2006, retired from his medical practice.
  • 2007, released Slidin’ Home album (Rebel). The mayor of Washington DC proclaimed February 23, 2007 as John Starling and Carolina Star Day in the city (to celebrate the release of the new album).
  • 2013, reunited with other members of the Seldom Scene and special guests including Emmylou Harris for the 40th anniversary of the band’s first performance, at the Red Fox Inn in Washington D.C.
  • 2019, died at the age of 79.

Statman, Andy


  • From Brooklyn, New York.
  • 1965, at age 15, took mandolin lessons from David Grisman.
  • Early 70’s, worked with Tony Trischka in two bands: Country Cooking and Breakfast Special.
  • Also worked with David Bromberg, Vassar Clements, Bela Fleck and Jerry Garcia.
  • Late 70’s, decided to embrace his Jewish heritage and learned to play saxophone and clarinet. He began playing jazz and Klezmer music.
  • 1980’s, formed the Andy Statman trio with Jim Whitney (bass) and Larry Eagle (percussion). He continues to play and record a unique blend of jazz, Klezmer and bluegrass music.
  • 1995, released Klezmer Suite album (Shanacie)
  • 1995, released Songs of Our Fathers album (Acoustic Disk), a duet album with David Grisman.
  • 2008, appeared on Bela Fleck’s Christmas album Jingle All The Way (Rounder).
  • 2011, released Old Brooklyn album (Shefa).
  • 2012, was awarded a National Heritage Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts.
  • 2013, released Superstring Theory album (Shefa) with guests Tim O’Brien and Michael Cleveland.

Stecher, Jody


  • A husband-wife duo from the San Francisco area.
  • Stecher plays mandolin, guitar, fiddle, banjo and other instruments. He is originally from Brooklyn, New York, but moved to San Francisco in 1960 to study Indian music.
  • Jody and Kate met at the 1974 World’s Fair in Spokane, Washington. Kate was performing with a band called the Arkansas Shieks and Jody was with a group called “Houseboat Music.”
  • 1985, began singing and performing together which also led to their marriage.
  • Kate performed in late 70’s with a female band in San Francisco called The Any Old Time String Band. Early 80’s, with a group called Blue Flame. She has also worked with Laurie Lewis.
  • 1989, released A Song That Will Linger album (Rounder).
  • 1991, released Blue Lightning album (Rounder).
  • 1993, released Our Town album (Rounder).
  • 1998, released Heart Songs: The Old Time Country Songs of Utah Phillips (Rounder).
  • 1999, released Oh Wind & Rain album (Appleseed).
  • 2000, released Going Up on the Mountain album (Acoustic Disk)
  • 2000, Stecher joined Chris Brashear and the Perfect Strangers. He and Kate continue to perform together.
  • 2000, released Songs of the Carter Family album (Appleseed).
  • 2007, Stecher joined Peter Rowan’s Bluegrass Band.
  • 2012, released Wonders & Signs album (Vegitiboy).

Steeldrivers, The


  • From Nashville.
  • Formed in 2005 by veteran musicians Mike Henderson (mandolin), Richard Bailey (banjo), Tammy Rogers (fiddle), Chris Stapleton (guitar) and Mike Fleming (bass).
  • Richard Bailey is a former member of such groups as the Kentucky Gentlemen and the Cluster Pluckers. He has worked with Bill Monroe, Roland White, Vassar Clements, Loretta Lynn, Chet Akins, Larry Cordle, Laurie Lewis, Dale Ann Bradley, and many others.
  • Mike Henderson recorded several solo albums on the RCA and Dead Reckoning labels. He has recorded with such artists as Waylon Jennings, Emmylou Harris, Hank Williams, Jr., Faith Hill and the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. He has written songs for the Dixie Chicks, Kenny Rogers, Daryl Worley, Patty Loveless, Trisha Yearwood, Travis Tritt, The Fabulous Thunderbirds and Randy Travis, to name a few.
  • Tammy Rogers is a former member of the band Dusty Miller with Barry Bales, Tim Stafford, Adam Steffey, and Brian Fesler. She has recorded and toured with Neil Diamond, Wynonna, Rodney Crowell, Radney Foster, Bill Anderson, Iris Dement, Randy Scruggs, Patty Loveless, Jim Lauderdale, Reba McIntyre and many more. She also released a solo project Tammy Rogers (Dead Reckoning) in 1996.
  • Chris Stapleton is a Staffordsville, Kentucky native who began performing in 1999 in a Travis Tritt tribute band. As a songwriter, he has written or co-written songs for such artists as Kenny Chesney, Tim McGraw, Brooks and Dunn, Julie Roberts, Daryl Worley, Patty Loveless, Brad Paisley, Trace Adkins, Lee Ann Womack, Montgomery Gentry, and the Lonesome River Band. He was lead singer and frontman for the Steeldrivers from 2005 to 2010. He has since become a Grammy-winning country music artist.
  • 2008, released The SteelDrivers (Rounder).
  • 2009, won the IBMA award for Emerging Artist of the Year.
  • 2010, released Reckless album (Rounder).
  • 2010, performed on the soundtrack to the movie “Get Low” starring Robert Duvall, Bill Murray and Sissy Spacek.
  • 2010, Stapleton left the band and was replaced by guitarist/vocalist Gary Nichols from Muscle Shoals, Alabama.
  • 2011, Henderson left the band and was replaced by Brent Truitt.
  • 2013, released Hammer Down album (Rounder).
  • 2015, released Muscle Shoals Recordings (Rounder). This album won the Grammy for Best Bluegrass album (2016).
  • 2015, former guitarist/lead vocalist Chris Stapleton released solo project and won multiple CMA Awards including Album of the Year and Male Vocalist of the Year.
  • 2017, country singer and “The Voice” runner-up Adam Wakefield filled in for lead singer Gary Nichols who was on medical leave from the band.
  • 2018, Kelvin Damrell (guitar) joined the band, replacing Gary Nichols. Current lineup: Rogers (fiddle), Damrell (guitar), Bailey (banjo), Truitt (mandolin) and Fleming (bass).
  • 2020, released Bad for You album (Rounder).
  • 2021, Damrell (guitar and lead vocals) left the band and was replaced by Matt Dame.
  • 2023, original member Mike Henderson died at the age of 70.

Steel String Session


  • From Ducktown, Tennessee.
  • Formed in 2003 under the name Ducktown Station.
  • Their music is described as “Cosmic Rockin’ Boogie Grass.”
  • Their original music has been featured on NBC Sports, PBS “Roadtrip Nation” , FOX Sports, Versus Television, and several movie soundtracks.
  • Members include Lisa Jacobi (fiddle, mandolin, flat-pick guitar, bass), Pete Dasher (resonator guitar), JRod (Jarrod) Payne (banjo, guitar) and Denny Mixon (bass, guitar).
  • 2005, released first album “Tennessee Twister” produced by Harry Stinson.
  • 2006 changed their band name to Steel String Session.
  • 2009 released their second album “Ocoee Road” produced by Harry Stinson.
  • 2012 at the suggestion of Sam Bush, changed band name to Playing On The Planet.
  • 2014, released third album “Bangor Bound“produced by Lisa Jacobi and Ben Surratt.

Steep Canyon Rangers, The


  • From western North Carolina (Asheville).
  • Their name came from a Colorado beer called “Steep Canyon Stout.”
  • Formed in 1998 by Lizzie Hamilton (fiddle), Woody Platt (guitar), Mike Guggino (mandolin), Charles Humphrey III (bass) and Graham Sharp (banjo). They were students attending the University of North Carolina.
  • Got their start playing at the Mellow Mushroom, a pizza parlor in downtown Chapel Hill, NC.
  • 2001, won the band competition at Rockygrass in Colorado.
  • 2002, Lizzie Hamilton left the band.
  • 2003, released first self-titled album for Rebel Records, Steep Canyon Rangers.
  • 2004, fiddler Nicky Sanders replaced Hamilton.
  • 2005, released One Dime at a Time album (Rebel).
  • 2006, won IBMA award for Emerging Artist of the Year.
  • 2007, released Lovin’ Pretty Women album (Rebel).
  • Since 2009, they have been touring and recording with Steve Martin.
  • 2009, released Deep in the Shade album (Rebel).
  • 2011, appeared on Rare Bird Alert album (Rounder) with Steve Martin.
  • 2012, released Nobody Knows You album (Rounder).
  • 2013, won the Grammy in the Bluegrass category for Nobody Knows You album (Rounder).
  • 2013, appeared on Love Has Come For You album (Rounder) by Steve Martin and Edie Brickell.
  • 2013, hosted the IBMA Awards Show in Raleigh, North Carolina.
  • 2013, released Tell The Ones I Love album (Rounder).
  • 2014, appeared on Steve Martin And The Steep Canyon Rangers Featuring Edie Brickell Live album (CD/DVD Combo) (Rounder).
  • 2015, released Radio album (Rounder).
  • 2017, were inducted into the North Carolina Music Hall of Fame.
  • 2017, released (with Steve Martin) The Long Awaited Album (Rounder).
  • 2018, bass player Charles Humphrey III left the band and was replaced by Barrett Smith, a long-time friend of the band who also attended UNC.
  • 2018, made their first solo appearance on the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.
  • 2022, Woody Platt (guitar) retired from the band. He was replaced by North Carolina singer/songwriter Aaron Burdett.

Steffey, Adam


  • From Johnson City, Tennessee.
  • Inspired to play mandolin by the Lost and Found’s Dempsey Young.
  • First band (on graduation from high school) The Boys in the Band (Kingsport, Tennessee).
  • 1987, joined the Lonesome River Band.
  • 1989-1991, formed Dusty Miller (with Tim Stafford and Barry Bales).
  • 1992-2000, joined Alison Krauss and Union Station (as did Stafford and Bales).
  • 2000, co-founded Mountain Heart, but left shortly thereafter to tour and record with the Isaacs.
  • 2001, re-joined Mountain Heart.
  • 2001, released his first solo album Grateful (Mountain Home).
  • As a studio musician and sideman, he has recorded and performed with Alan Jackson, Dolly Parton, Randy Travis, the Dixie Chicks, many others.
  • 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 won the IBMA Award for Mandolin Player of the Year.
  • 2007, left Mountain Heart, joined the Dan Tyminski Band.
  • 2009, released One More for the Road album (Sugar Hill).
  • 2009, formed (with Ronnie Stewart) The Boxcars.
  • 2010, won the IBMA Award for Instrumental Recorded Performance of the Year (for “Durang’s Hornpipe”)
  • 2013, released album New Primitive (Mountain Home) with his wife Tina playing clawhammer banjo.
  • 2015, had surgery (“Subcutaneous Ulnar Nerve Transposition”) on his elbow to relieve pain in his left hand.
  • 2018, formed the Highland Travelers with other members of the Boxcars (disbanded in 2017) and Ramblers Choice (disbanded in 2017)
  • 2018, decided to take a leave from the music business. The Highland Travelers disbanded.
  • 2019, joined Volume Five.

Stephens, Jeremy


  • From Danville, Virginia.
  • Began playing banjo at age four–a wooden banjo made by his father.
  • At age nine, formed a band called Shallow Creek and made an appearance on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”
  • 2000, won first place at the Merlefest Banjo Contest.
  • 2001, released solo album Scarlet Banjo (Rebel) at age 16.
  • 2010, released a duet album Old Time Duets (Patuxent) with Tom Mindte.
  • 2010-2014, worked as guitarist and singer for The Chuck Wagon Gang, as a multi-instrumentalist on the television show Ray Stevens’ Nashville, and played banjo with Jesse McReynolds & the Virginia Boys.
  • 2014, formed a new band called High Fidelity, playing guitar.

Stephenson, Larry


  • From Fredericksburg, Virginia. Moved to Nashville in 1992.
  • Began playing mandolin at age 5.
  • First band: Larry Stephenson and New Grass (in high school)
  • 1977, worked with Cliff Waldron and the New Shades of Grass.
  • 1978, worked with Leon Morris.
  • 1979-1983, worked with Bill Harrell’s band, The Virginians.
  • 1983-1988, was a member of the Bluegrass Cardinals.
  • 1988, formed his own band and also recorded with Butch Robins’ “The Bluegrass Band.”
  • 1988, released Every Time I Sing a Love Song album (Webco).
  • 1990, released “Timber” album (Webco).
  • 1991, released Close My Eyes to Heaven album (Webco).
  • 1993, released “Wash My Blues Away” album (Webco).
  • 1994, released “Born to Sing” album (Webco).
  • 1994, released Can’t Stop Myself album (Webco).
  • 1995, made first solo appearance on the Grand Ole Opry.
  • 1996, inducted into the Virginia Country Music Hall of Fame.
  • 1995, released Far Away in Tennessee album (Webco).
  • 1998, released On Fire album (Pinecastle).
  • 2000, released Two Hearts on a Borderline (Pinecastle).
  • 2001, released Heavenward Bound album (Pinecastle).
  • 2003, worked with the original Seldom Scene (called the Seldom Seniors), taking John Duffy’s place.
  • 2004, released Clinch Mountain Mystery album (Pinecastle).
  • 2006, released Life Stories album (Pinecastle).
  • 2008, released Thankful album (Pinecastle).
  • 2010, celebrated 20 years as a band leader with the release of his 20th Anniversary
    album, the last release by Pinecastle Records before the label went out of business.
  • 2010, won the IBMA Award for Recorded Event of the Year for the song “Give This Message to Your Heart” (with Dailey and Vincent).
  • 2012, released What Really Matters album (Compass).
  • 2014, released “Pull Your Savior In” album commemorating his 25th year as a solo artist.
  • 2018, inducted into the SPBGMA Hall of Greats.

Stetson and Cia


  • From Nashville.
  • Stetson Adkinsson (guitar) and Cia Cherryholmes (banjo) formed a duo in 2011. Stetson is a singer/songwriter from Colorado. His family runs an outdoor hunting operation there. Stetson is a hunting and fly fishing guide. Cia began performing with her family band Cherryholmes at age 15. They were married in 2012.
  • 2012, released first album Stetson & Cia (no label).
  • 2013, released Songs of the Fall (no label) and changed the name of their act to “Songs of the Fall.”

Stetson Family, The


  • From Melbourne, Australia.
  • Formed in 2008 by Nadine Budge (guitar/vocals), John Bartholomeusz (guitar), Andrew Carswell (mandolin), Colin Swain (banjo), Luke Richardson (bass). They are not a family nor are any of them named Stetson. Before they became a bluegrass/acoustic band, they played synth rock.
  • 2008, released first album Hey Sister Mary Where’d You Get That Gun (no label).
  • 2011, released “The Devil in His Sunday Best” album (no label).
  • 2012, were nominated for Best Song and Best Group at the Victorian & National Country Music Awards (Australia).
  • 2012, Nadine Gudge was invited to IBMA Songwriter Showcase in Nashville for her song “O Winding River.”
  • 2015, released True North album (no label).
  • 2024, released The Stars, If You Look Closely album (no label).

Stevens Family Bluegrass Band, The


  • From Berkeley Springs, West Virginia.
  • Began performing together as a bluegrass gospel band in 2007.
  • The Stevens Family Bluegrass Band members include J.W. Stevens (banjo) and Nancy “Mamma” Stevens (vocals) and five of their ten children: Sissy (bass), Luke (guitar), Ben (mandolin), Sam (fiddle) and Tommy (vocals).
  • 2014, released album Down On The Farm (Mountain Fever).
  • 2014, announced that they were no longer going to perform/tour together as a family band. Luke and Ben left to pursue their own ministry careers.

Stevens Sisters, The


  • From Hampton, Tennessee.
  • Since they were children (Beth was 12, April was 8) they have been performing with their parents, Douglas and Betty Stevens as The Stevens Family.
  • 1996, released Sisters album (Rounder) and sang on the Grand Ole Opry for the first time.
  • Beth previously worked with the East Tennessee State University Bluegrass Band, which included Adam Steffey, Barry Bales and Tim Stafford (1988).
  • Beth has a master’s degree in psychology (ETSU). She is a teacher when she’s not performing.
  • 1997, performed in Holland on New Year’s Eve with the National Symphony Orchestra, broadcast on national television.
  • 2002, performed and recorded with Dolly Parton on her album “Halos and Horns.”
  • 2005, April married and decided to stop touring.
  • 2007, Beth formed her own band Beth Stevens and Edge. Her father plays guitar. Other members include Gary Laws (bass), Matt Leadbetter (resonator guitar), Chase Johner (mandolin.)

Stevens, Mike


  • From Bright’s Grove, Ontario, Canada.
  • One of the few professional harmonica players in bluegrass.
  • 1990, voted Central Canada’s Entertainer of the Year (Central Canadian Bluegrass Awards).
  • Made frequent appearances on the Grand Ole Opry with Jim and Jesse. Also worked extensively with The Lewis Family.
  • 1991, recorded Blowin’ Up a Storm album (Pinecastle).
  • 1994, was made a Kentucky Colonel by the governor of Kentucky for his contributions to bluegrass music.
  • 1994, released “Life’s Railway to Heaven” (no label).
  • 1995, released “Colin’s Cross” album (no label).
  • 2005, recorded a duet album with Raymond W. McLain Old Time Mojo (Corvealis).
  • In recent years, he has been performing for disadvantaged and at-risk youth all over Canada.
  • He was diagnosed with Lyme Disease and spent more than a year recovering.
  • 2022, released “Breath in the World; Breath Out Music” album (Stony Plain).

Stevenson, Art


  • From Babcock, Wisconsin.
  • Formed in 1994.
  • Perform weekly at a club called Schmidt’s Corner Tavern, in central Wisconsin.
  • Band features Art Stevenson (guitar, harmonica), Stephanie Stevenson (bass), Dale Reichert (banjo) and Chris Silver (mandolin).
  • Art and Stephanie Stevenson also perform with a retro-country band called the Goose Island Ramblers.
  • 2013, released 13th album Twilight (no label).

Stewart, Ronnie


  • From Paoli, Indiana. He has a ranch called Sleepy Valley Ranch.
  • Began playing fiddle at age 3. Also learned to play guitar, banjo, mandolin and is equally skilled on all of them.
  • Age 9, made several guest appearances with Lester Flatt and appeared on one of his live albums.
  • 1977-1990, played with his parents in The Stewart Family Band. He was known as “Fiddlin’ Ronnie Stewart.”
  • 1989, also worked with Curly Seckler and recorded two albums with him.
  • 1991-1994, Gary Brewer and the Kentucky Ramblers.
  • 1995, formed his own band “Little Creek.”
  • 1996, did some fill-in work with Petticoat Junction.
  • 1997-2003 played banjo and fiddle with the Lynn Morris band.
  • 2000, he and his wife built a log house, from trees on his ranch.
  • 2000, won the IBMA award for Fiddle Player of the Year.
  • 2001, released solo project Time Stands Still (Rounder).
  • 2003, joined J.D. Crowe and the New South.
  • 2007, joined the Dan Tyminski Band.
  • 2008, recorded and performed with Longview.
  • 2009, formed (with Adam Steffey) the Boxcars.
  • 2011, won the IBMA Award for Banjo Player of the Year.
  • 2017, joined the Seldom Scene, playing banjo and fiddle.

Stoffel, Mark


  • From Munich, Germany. Since 2001, has lived in Southern Illinois.
  • 1979, asked his parents for a ukelele and was given a mandolin instead. So he learned how to play it.
  • 1989, formed a group with singer/songwriter Wil Maring called Shady Mix.
  • 2006, joined Chris Jones and the Night Drivers, playing mandolin.
  • 2016, became a U.S. Citizen.
  • 2020, released first solo project Coffee and Cake (Mountain Home).

Stogdill, Brady


  • From Heltonville, Indiana (originally from Bedford, Indiana).
  • 1993, he was a member of the original “Bluegrass Youth All-Star Band” that performed at the IBMA Awards Show in 1993 featuring Chris Thile (mandolin), Michael Cleveland (fiddle), Cody Kilby (guitar), Josh Williams (banjo) and Stogdill (bass).
  • 1995-2019, played guitar with a Bloomington, Indiana group called The Not Too Bad Bluegrass Band.
  • 2020, released a solo project Better Late Than Never (Dean Music).

Stonemans, The


  • From Galax, Virginia.
  • Earnest V. “Pop” Stoneman was one of the early pioneers of recorded country music (his first record was made on September 4, 1924 for Okeh records). He is known as the first person to ever make a record playing the autoharp. Likewise he was the only country musician to record on both Edison cylinders and modern stereo recordings.
  • Pop sired 23 children, many of whom were musically gifted.
  • The first Stoneman Family Band began performing in the 1950’s at the Hotel Charles in Hughesville, Maryland. They were also known as The Bluegrass Champs.
  • During their heydey, the group included Pop (autoharp, guitar), Scotty (fiddle), Van (guitar), Donna (mandolin), Roni (banjo) and Jimmy (bass). They recorded several albums for MGM, Starday, RCA, Liberty and other labels.
  • They rose to popularity during the 1960’s folk music boom. They moved to Los Angeles and for a season had their own TV show. They also appeared on the Jimmy Dean Variety Show and played the Fillmore Auditorium, the UCLA Folk Festival and the Monterrey Folk Festival. While they were in LA, fiddler Scotty Stoneman also performed with the Kentucky Colonels.
  • 1967, they were voted Vocal Group of the Year by the Country Music Association.
  • 1968, Pop died but the group continued to perform together in various forms until the early 1990’s.
  • 1973, Scotty died.
  • 1973, Roni (real name Veronica) Stoneman joined the cast of the “Hee Haw” television series.
  • Donna was often called “The First Lady of the Mandolin.”
  • 1995, Van died.
  • 2000, The Stoneman Family was presented with the IBMA Distinguished Achievement Award.
  • 2001, Jimmy died.
  • 2003, Roni formed her own band called Hillbilly Fever.
  • 2008, Pop Stoneman was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.
  • 2024, Roni died at the age of 85.

Stoney Creek


  • From Martinsburg, West Virginia.
  • Formed in the early 2000’s. 2015 lineup: Libby Files (bass), Brett Smeltzer (mandolin), Kenton Catlett (guitar), and Troy Stangle (banjo). Catlett and Stangle replaced previous members Ed Barney (guitar) and Darrell Sanders (banjo).
  • 2010, released “Hot Off the Press” album (no label).
  • 2011, released “Live in Concert” album (no label).
  • 2012, released “Are You Ready” album (no label).
  • 2016, released Memories and Tears album (no label).
  • 2017, released “Live on Location” album (no label).
  • 2021, released A Miner’s Life album (Cal’vry Music).

Stoney Lonesome


  • From St. Paul, Minnesota.
  • Formed in 1982 by by guitarist and lead singer Kate MacKenzie and banjo player Kevin Barnes.
  • They were voted Best Bluegrass Band by the Minnesota Music Academy every year from 1984 through 1989.
  • They were regulars on Garrison Keillor’s “A Prairie Home Companion” radio program. They provided backup for such artists as Johnny Gimble, Rose Maddox, Minnie Pearl, Mac Wiseman and many others.
  • MacKenzie was also part of Garrison Keillor’s Hopeful Gospel Quartet (with Keillor, Robin and Linda Williams.)
  • 1991, released Lonesome Tonight album (Red House).
  • 1992, released Blue Heartache album (Red House).
  • 1995, MacKenzie left the band.

Stowe, Ferrell


  • From Lebanon, Missouri. Lives in Vanleer, Tennessee.
  • Plays resonator guitar (Dobro™) with several bands: George Clark and Dixie Flyer, the James Price Band, Dave Leatherman and Stone County, Cedar Hill.
  • 2005, released Stobro’s Blues album (no label). His hero Uncle Josh Graves attended his album release party at the Station Inn in Nashville.
  • Has won the Midwest SPBGMA award for “Dobro Player of the Year” nine times.
  • 2007, several tunes from album were used for the soundtrack to the movie “Big Stan” starring Rob Schneider (former star of Saturday Night Live).
  • 2011, released “Tribute to Josh Graves” album.

Story, Carl


  • From Lenoir, North Carolina.
  • Formed the first version of his band “The Ramblin’ Mountaineers” in 1934.
  • Rose to prominence on radio station WHKY in Hickory, North Carolina.
  • Was a disk jockey in Greer, South Carolina.
  • 1942, worked for a year with Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys, playing fiddle. Left to join the Navy in 1943. After the war, he resumed playing with his own band.
  • 1947, made first commercial recordings.
  • 1957, his band became a full-blown bluegrass band with the Brewster Brothers providing the instrumentation.
  • Called “The Father of Bluegrass Gospel Music.”
  • Recorded more than 65 gospel albums, most of them on Starday Records.
  • 1958, his “Gospel Quartet Favorites” (Mercury Records) was the first bluegrass gospel album.
  • Specialized in a hard-core mountain style of bluegrass gospel singing.
  • Died in 1995. Was still performing until his death at age 78.
  • After Story’s death, mandolin player Danny Arms reorganized the band as Carl Story’s Rambling Mountaineers.
  • 2007, was inducted into the IBMA’s Hall of Fame.


Stover, Don


  • From Ameagle, West Virginia. Also lived in Boston and in the Baltimore, MD area.
  • An early banjo player who influenced Bill Keith, Tony Trischka, Bela Fleck, Danny Barnes, many others.
  • Began learning to play 3-finger style banjo after hearing Earl Scruggs in 1945.
  • He was a coal miner when he began performing with the Lilly Brothers (Everett and Bea) who were also from West Virginia. He was a featured artist with the Lilly Brothers for many years. They appeared together as The Lilly Brothers with Don Stover.
  • First band: The Coal River Boys.
  • 1952, began an 18-year stint with the Lilly Brothers at Hillbilly Ranch in downtown Boston, playing seven nights a week. They were originally called the Confederate Mountaineers.
  • 1965, worked also with Bill Harrell and the Virginians.
  • 1968, worked dates with Doc Watson and Tex Logan. Performed with them at the Olympics in Mexico City.
  • 1970, moved back to West Virginia.
  • 1972, released Things in Life album (Rounder). Don is composer of the song Things in Life, which has been covered by numerous bluegrass artists.
  • 1978-1990, worked with Bill Clifton, Red Rector, Jimmy Gaudreau and other musicians. Played the World’s Fair in Knoxville in 1982.
  • 1994, had surgery for a cancerous brain tumor.
  • 1996, died at the age of 68.
  • 2008, was inducted into the West Virginia Music Hall of Fame.

Strength in Numbers


  • From Nashville, Tennessee.
  • A bluegrass/jazz supergroup that included Sam Bush (mandolin), Bela Fleck (banjo), Mark O’Connor (fiddle/guitar), Edgar Meyer (bass) and Jerry Douglas (dobro™). They were all living in the same Nashville neighborhood.
  • Recorded one album in 1989 for the MCA Masters Series Telluride Sessions. Fleck and Bush were still part of the New Grass Revival at the time.
  • Originally called themselves “Telluride” because they performed live together at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival. They found out that another band was using that name and had trademarked the name for band use.
  • Backed Steve Earle on his 1989 album Copperhead Road (MCA).

Strings, Billy


  • From Iona, Michigan. Also lived in Traverse City, Michigan. Moved to Nashville.
  • Real name: William Apostol.
  • While in middle school, he played in a metal band called To Once Darkened Skies. He dropped out of high school twice and after finally graduating, he rediscovered his love for bluegrass and began performing with mandolinist Don Julin, also from Michigan. Julin has worked with a variety of bands including a reggae group called the Microtones. He is also the author of the instruction book Mandolin For Dummies.
  • 2014, Strings and Julin released first album called Fiddle Tune X (no label) which was recorded live at various venues around Michigan. They used one microphone in each location to get an old-time sound.
  • 2016, won the IBMA Momentum Award for Instrumentalist of the Year.
  • 2017, released first solo project “Turmoil & Tinfoil” (no label) produced by Greensky Bluegrass’ Glenn Brow.
  • 2019, won IBMA Awards for New Artist of the Year and Guitar Player of the Year.
  • 2019, released Home album (Rounder).
  • 2021, won the Grammy Award for his album Home (Rounder).

Stuart, Chris


  • From San Diego, California. Originally from Jacksonville, Florida.
  • Twice has won the Chris Austin Songwriting Contest at MerleFest,
  • His songs have been recorded by such artists as Suzanne Thomas, Claire Lynch, Sally Jones, Salamander Crossing, others.
  • Plays banjo and guitar. A former member of the New York-based band Cornerstone.
  • Has a degree in Medieval History.
  • 1996, moved to San Diego to work as a computer consultant for a tech firm. Played in a local band called Highway 52.
  • 2002, formed his own band called Backcountry and in 2003 went full-time with the band.
  • 2003, released Saints and Strangers album (Backcountry).
  • 2004, released Mojave River album (Backcountry).
  • 2005, band includes banjo player Janet Beazley (formerly of Copperline) and Paul Lee (formerly of Open Road.)
  • 2006, performed in Oman (middle east, south of Saudi Arabia).
  • 2007, Eric Uglum joined the band (mandolin/guitar) along with stepsons Christian (fiddle) and Austin (bass) Ward.
  • 2008, released Crooked Man album (Backcountry).
  • 2009, co-produced the IBMA awards show and won the award for Song of the Year (“Don’t Throw Mama’s Flowers Away” recorded by Danny Paisley).
  • 2011, began working as a duo with Janet Beazley.
  • 2011-2013, wrote a regular column for Bluegrass Today. He also is a frequent contributor to Bluegrass Unlimited Magazine.
  • 2012, 2013, produced the IBMA Awards Show.

Stuart, Marty


  • From Philadelphia, Mississippi.
  • Full name: John Martin Stuart. He was nicknamed Marty after country music legend Marty Robbins.
  • Began in career in music working with fellow Mississippian Carl Jackson in the bluegrass gospel group The Sullivan Family.
  • Hero: Clarence White (owns one of his guitars.)
  • First exposure to bluegrass: heard Bill Monroe and the Sullivan Family at the National Guard Armory in Jackson, Alabama in 1970.
  • 1972, at age 13 he played mandolin and lead guitar with Lester Flatt and the Nashville Grass (until Lester’s death in 1979.) Lester always referred to him as “Little Marty Stuart.”
  • 1979-1985, worked with Johnny Cash.
  • 1986, signed with CBS records and began his solo career.
  • Describes his music as “hillbilly rock.” Released album and single by that name in 1989.
  • 1992, toured with Travis Tritt in the “No Hats Tour.” Marty and Travis have recorded several hits songs together, including “The Whiskey Ain’t Workin’ Anymore.”
  • 1992, joined the Grand Ole Opry. Performed with The Opry Bluegrass Band (with Ricky Skaggs, Alison Krauss, Vince Gill and Earl Scruggs). Also has a hillbilly band (called the Tennessee Mafia Jug Band) that performs on the Opry, playing old-time music. His touring band is called The Fabulous Superlatives.
  • Hobby: photography. Has published a book of his photos featuring country and bluegrass music personalities.
  • 2001, was elected to a fourth term as President of the Country Music Foundation. His personal collection of memorabilia is on display in the Country Music Hall of Fame.
  • 2000, 2006, hosted the IBMA Awards Show.
  • 2005, released Live At The Ryman album (Universal) with his band the Fabulous Superlatives and special guests.
  • 2008, began hosting his own TV program on the RFD-TV network.



  • Formed in 1992 by Tony Furtado (banjo), Matt Flinner (mandolin), Ben Demerath (guitar) and Sally Truitt (bass).
  • 1992, won the Telluride Bluegrass Festival Band Contest (which was also the first time they ever played together.)
  • 1993, released self titled album (Planet Bluegrass).
  • Style: bluegrass fused with rock, jazz, reggae.
  • Broke up in 1996.
  • 2000, did a reunion concert at the Rockygrass Festival.

Sullivan, Jerry and Tammy


  • From Wagarville, Alabama.
  • Father and daughter duo. Began performing together in the late 70’s, when Tammy was only 14 years old.
  • Jerry began his career in bluegrass in 1952 with Red Spurlock, then Red Allen and Frank Wakefield. He also performed as a member of the Sullivan Family, a legendary bluegrass gospel group.
  • 1992, recorded an album with Marty Stuart called Joyful Noise for the Country Music Foundation.
  • 1999, signed with Ricky Skaggs’ Ceili Records and recorded Tomorrow album.
  • 2014, Jerry Sullivan died.
  • 2017, Tammy Sullivan died at age 52 (cancer).

Sullivan Family, The


  • From St. Stephens, Alabama.
  • The first band to use the term bluegrass gospel to describe their music.
  • Originally included Arthur, Margie, Aubrey, Enoch and Emmett Sullivan. Jerry Sullivan also performed with the band.
  • 1949, began performing on a weekly radio broadcast over WPBB in Jackson, Alabama.
  • For many years, they hosted a bluegrass festival at their own 69-acre park in St. Stephens, Alabama.
  • For years, they performed more than 300 concerts a year and published a newsletter called The Bluegrass Gospel News.
  • Carl Jackson and Marty Stuart are former members of the Sullivan Family band. Marty Stuart’s first exposure to bluegrass was seeing The Sullivan Family as a youngster.
  • Bill Monroe gave Margie Sullivan the title “The First Lady of Bluegrass Gospel Music.”
  • 2011, Enoch Sullivan died at the age of 79.
  • 2014, Jerry Sullivan died at the age of 78.
  • 2023, Margie Sullivan died at the age of 90.

Summertown Road


  • From Ashland, Kentucky.
  • Formed in 2008 by Jack Hicks (banjo), John Rigsby (fiddle/mandolin), Bo Isaac (guitar) and Randy Thomas (bass). Hicks and Rigsby had been working together with Melvin Goins and Windy Mountain. Isaac and Thomas were previously in a band together called Bo Isaac and the Wheelrights.
  • The band was named after the song “Summertime Road” recorded by Marty Raybon.
  • 2010, released first album Summertown Road (Rounder).
  • Bandleader Jack Hicks played with Bill Monroe from 1971 to 1973. Has also worked with The Whites, Jim and Jesse, Lester Flatt, Sonny James and Conway Twitty.
  • 2010, fiddle/mandolin player Rigsby was replaced by Zach Rambo, then by Steve Thomas.
  • 2011, disbanded with several members forming Bo Isaacs and the Rounders.

Summer Wages


  • From North Carolina.
  • A band that was together from 1983-1988.
  • Original band included Craig Smith (banjo), Barry Berrier (guitar), Rick Allred (mandolin), Garland Carter (bass) and Kenneth Berrier (Dobro™). Jim Mills (banjo) replaced Craig Smith in 1986.
  • 1983, released “Summer Wages” album (Rebel).
  • 1984, released “Reflections” album (Rebel).
  • 1987, released “Can’t Stop Now” album (Rebel).
  • Carter (bass) died in 2010.

Surrett, Tim


  • From Canton, North Carolina.
  • 1992, joined the Kingsmen, an award-winning gospel group from Asheville, NC. Sang lead and played bass.
  • 1992, recorded a solo project called “Gospel Music Salutes its Mountain Heritage” (with Karen Peck and Steve Gulley) on his own record label, which morphed into Mountain Home Records, a division of the Horizon Music Group.
  • 1995, married Sonya Isaacs and soon thereafter joined her family group, the Isaacs. They were later divorced.
  • 1999, released Tim Surrett’s Mountain Home (Mountain Home).
  • 2003, joined the Carolina Boys.
  • 2006, released solo project Tim Surrett (Crossroads).
  • 2007, was a founding member of Balsam Range.

Sutton, Bryan


  • From Candler, North Carolina. Lives in Nashville.
  • Began playing guitar at age 8. Heavily influenced by Doc Watson and Tony Rice.
  • 1992, first professional job: playing guitar with Karen Peck, a southern gospel artist.
  • 1993, moved to Nashville and joined a gospel group called Mid South.
  • 1995, joined Ricky Skaggs’ band Kentucky Thunder and appeared on Ricky’s “Bluegrass Rules” album.
  • 1998, left Kentucky Thunder to devote more time to his family and his work as a session musician in Nashville.
  • 1999, recorded and toured with Dolly Parton.
  • 2000, released Ready To Go album (Sugar Hill).
  • 2001, worked with the Dixie Chicks on their “Home” album and tour.
  • 2003, began performing with Hot Rize, taking the place of the late Charles Sawtelle.
  • 2003, released Bluegrass Guitar album (Sugar Hill).
  • 2004, toured with Earl Scruggs.
  • 2006, released Not Too Far From The Tree album (Sugar Hill).
  • 2007, won a Grammy for Best Country Instrumental Performance for his duet recording with Doc Watson.
  • 2009, released Almost Live album (Sugar Hill).
  • 2014, released Into My Own album (Sugar Hill).
  • 2015, won his 8th IBMA award for Guitar Player of the Year (he also won in 2000, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2011 and 2013).
  • 2016, released The More I Learn album (Sugar Hill).
  • 2016, began touring with his own band which included Casey Campbell (mandolin), Sam Grisman (bass) and Mike Bartlett (fiddle).

Sweet Potato Pie


  • From North Carolina.
  • An all-female bluegrass band featuring Sonya Stead (guitar), Missy Pyne (mandolin), Crystal Richardson (banjo), Ashley Davis (fiddle), Julie Brown (bass).
  • They call their music “sweetgrass.”
  • 2009, released Nothing’s the Same album (no label).
  • 2010, released Journey Called Life album (Mountain Fever).
  • 2012, released Brand New Day album (Mountain Fever).

Swinson, Billy


  • From Richlands, North Carolina. Lives in Jacksonville, FL.
  • At age 15 (early 90’s), began playing mandolin with several regional North Carolina bands.
  • 1996 formed a band named Code Blue  with Jimmy Fraley (Formerly of A Deeper Shade of Blue) and Greg Martin (currently with Billy Droze).
  • 2000-2002 Played mandolin with the Donna Hughes band in NC.
  • 2001, joined Constant Change (Benson, NC) and Common Ground (Charleston, SC). 
  • 2003, moved to Jacksonville, FL and played mandolin with Ernie Evans and the Florida State Bluegrass Band.
  • 2019, formed a Florida band called Greener Grass. 
  • 2021, joined The Billy Lee Cox Project.
  • 2022, joined Deano Graham and the Grass Wagon Revival.
  • 2023, released first single “Greener Grass” from album by the same name (no label).

Syren, Jussi


  • From Finland.
  • Syren plays mandolin and sings lead with his band The Groundbreakers. Other band members include Tauri Oksalas (banjo), J.P. Putkonen (guitar), and Kari Hella (bass).
  • Syren began performing in a rockabilly band called Red Hot. He continues to play in a rockabilly band called the Jussi Syren Rockabilly Revival.
  • 1987, formed the Lake Country Boys.
  • 1995, formed the Groundbreakers.
  • 2004, made first U.S. tour and released album Sea Of Changes (no label).