Cluster Pluckers, The


  • From Nashville, Tennessee.
  • Formed in 1988 by vocalists Margaret Archer Bailey and Kris Ballinger (who began singing together in 1979 in Vassar Clements’ Hillbilly Jazz Band). Kris’ husband Dale played bass.
  • They were regulars at Nashville’s Station Inn.
  • They appeared with Chet Atkins on the PBS TV show, Austin City Limits.
  • 1989, released first album “The Cluster Pluckers” (no label).
  • 1989, appeared on John Hartford’s album Down On The River.
  • Sang with Hoyt Axton in the Ken Burns TV special, “Songs of the Civil War.”
  • 1992, released “Just Pluck It” album (no label).
  • 1993, appeared at President Clinton’s inauguration, representing the state of Tennessee.
  • Backing musicians included Richard Bailey (banjo), Brent Truitt (mandolin), Mark Howard (guitar) and Blaine Sprouse (fiddle).
  • Occasional Pluckers included Jimmy Mattingly (fiddle), Randy Howard (fiddle), Roy Husky, Jr. (bass), David Grier (guitar), Andrea Zonn (fiddle), Kathy Chiavola (guitar and vocals).
  • Their name was given to them by singer/songwriter Billy Edd Wheeler (of “Coward of the County” fame). He noticed that they “stood in a cluster while they plucked.”
  • 1995, released “Unplucked” album (no label).
  • 1995, released “Gospel Favorites” album (Chapel Music Group).
  • They disbanded in 2003.
  • 2021, Margaret Bailey died at the age of 67.