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; then 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.
  • 1996, John Duffey died of a heart attack.
  • 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).