Jeff Autry grew up playing bluegrass in a musical family, and by his teenage years, he was performing with local bluegrass bands and touring the Southeast festival circuits. Autry recorded on Scott Vestal’s acoustic solo project, In Pursuit of Happiness, and joined Vestal on a 6-month tour of Japan. Upon returning to the US, Autry played with various touring bluegrass bands and became a prolific studio artist. His work is heard on the Pinecastle Instrumental series “Bluegrass 96-01,” his solo recording ”Foothills”, Drew Emmitt’s (of Leftover Salmon) Freedom Ride, and the last five releases by the John Cowan Band. Through his career, Autry has performed on stage and recorded with some of America’s premier musicians, including John Cowan, Sam Bush, Ricky Skaggs, Darrell Scott, Jim Lauderdale, Tony Rice, Bela Fleck, Vasser Clements, Tim O’Brien and John Paul Jones (of Led Zeppelin). His prowess on guitar and vocals, for the last eleven years, has anchored the ever changing always challenging guitarist spot in the multi-genre John Cowan Band.
Bryon was born into a family farm in 1968 in upper Cleveland County, NC. Growing up knowing little other than life with his hands in the dirt, he got a banjo at the age of 12. He learned the three finger roll from a family friend, Ronnie King, and went on to pluck a few traditional bluegrass and gospel songs with his brother, Fitz, and cousin, Steve, all the while yearning for rock-n-roll. One summer a family of Haitian workers came to the farm to work in the family vegetable operation. Enter dreadlocks, Bob Marley, Jimmy Cliff, etc and Bryon’s eyes were opened wide and a world of music opened up in front of him. Drawing from his roots in the fertile NC soil and interest in musical influence beyond his rural, agricultural upbringing, Bryon began writing his own songs. As a founding member of Acoustic Syndicate, McMurry has contributed several compositions that are closely associated with the NC sound and live music scene.
Jay Sanders is a celebrated multi-instrumentalist and composer. Most commonly known as the bass player for folk-rock pioneers Acoustic Syndicate, Jay’s current projects include a foray into avant-garde post rock called The E.Normus Trio, the atmospheric and textural Ghosts of the American Dream, a modern organ trio known as The Invisible III, and as a principal member of Rational Discourse, an 11-piece avant-garde orchestra based in Asheville, NC. Always the consummate musician, Jay continues to challenge himself to develop new and interesting sounds for both his writing and his technique. This sense of adventure has lead him to the N/S Stick, an 8-string multi-mode instrument with a 5+ octave range that combines the voices of both of his primary instruments, the guitar and bass, into one massive sound. As a composer he has written for film and television as well as commissions for Rational Discourse and the New York based modern string quartet, ETHEL. Previously, Jay spent four years touring with Americana roots rock legends Donna the Buffalo, recorded and toured with Snake Oil Medicine Show and CX-1 – The Black Hole Bluegrass Boys, and is one of the primary forces behind AVAS (The Acoustic Vibration Appreciation Society).
Billy Cardine is an innovative, genre-blurring slide guitarist, multi-instrumentalist, touring artist, and educator. He has performed at Carnegie Hall, The Kennedy Center, the Ryman Auditorium and major festivals, such as Bonnaroo, Merlefest and Rockygrass. He is an internationally featured artist touring in India, Japan, Europe and Canada as well. Billy’s dobro playing was recently featured on a Jerry Douglas’ production, Southern Filibuster, honoring one of the forefathers of the Dobro. Billy’s unique stylings and expertise attracted innovative analog music mogul, Moog Music. During 2010, he helped Moog design their first electric slide guitar, which he then debuted at MoogFest the following year. Billy’s distinct voice on all things slide has lead him to collaborations with Led Zeppelin’s own, John Paul Jones and world renowned, Edgar Meyer in his Porous Borders of Music. Billy’s productions have won national and international awards and recognition including Indie Acoustic Music Project’s Roots Album of the Year, Chicago Tribune’s Best Bluegrass records of the year and an Apple iPod Playlist Hot Pick. His memorable compositions and exquisite playing have been featured on The History Channel’s “Our Generation”, BBC World’s “Destination Music”, and PBS’ “RoadTrip Nation”. Billy newest release for July of 2012 introduces the Dobro to Gypsy Jazz music in a ground-breaking album featuring an extraordinary band.
Larry Keel is described by some reviewers as the most powerful, innovative and all-out exhilarating acoustic flatpicking guitarist performing today. Keel has absorbed the best lessons from his Bluegrass family upbringing, both sides deeply steeped in the rich mountain music culture and heritage of Southwest Virginia. Read more…
Scruggs-style banjo picker “The Rev” Jeff Mosier, one of the earliest music pioneers who merged bluegrass instruments and traditional tunes with the magnetic energy of rock and roll, founded the jamgrass band Blueground Undergrass (BGUG) in 1998 after years of crafting his banjo skills in various bands…Read More…
Steve “Big Daddy” McMurry is a founder member of Acoustic Syndicate, a rock/folk/bluegrass band from North Carolina formed in 1992. Their sound is characterized by tight three-part vocal harmonies, blazing guitar picking, complex polyrhythmic banjo playing, backed by a rock-steady rhythm section.
Known for its high-energy, positive sound, Acoustic Syndicate delivers a genre-defying performance, masterfully blending its eclectic influences with trademark finesse that only 17 years of cohesive teamwork can bring.
Born in Georgia in the sixties, you can imagine the type of psychedelic radio pop that he was exposed to. After moving to Matthews, NC in 1974, he was exposed to his first note of Bluegrass music. Some how ending up landing in a suburban home next door to Country Music legend and Grand Old Opry Host George Hamilton IV. “I’d stand on my back porch way past my bedtime and listen to the sounds of banjo and fiddle.” He, of course, was into David Bowie and The Doors and such. Later in life, after hearing Old and In The Way, all that changed. He took right to it and before he knew it, he was on stage and sharing his music with as many friends as possible.
Sue Cunningham was raised in a musical family and has been involved with music since she was five years old. She is also a practicing engineer and holds a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University. Through her performances and recordings with the international touring band Hickory Project and others, combined with her unique education in classical music, Sue has gained national recognition as a fiddler and fiddle instructor. She was an eight-year member of the South Ocean String Band (West Palm Beach, FL), a former member of the White Sands Panhandle Band (Pensacola, FL), prior to founding Hickory Project in January 2000. She is a three-time Florida Bluegrass Fiddle Champion and has co-written many of the Hickory Project’s songs.
Grandpa’s Cough Medicine does not play your grandpa’s bluegrass. They fall squarely into what is being called “outlaw bluegrass” by many folks. With songs about corrupt politicians, executing would-be thieves, heavy metal induced killing sprees, the joys of pickin’ and many a drinkin’ song, GCM veers away from many of the traditional subjects so often heard in bluegrass music. You won’t hear a gospel song, nor a cabin song. You’re much more likely to hear about a jealous lovers misadventures with a chainsaw, or the exploits of a crooked lawman.
I’ve had an incredible life! Musically I played with the “Third Marine Division Poor Boys Hillbilly Band” in 1957 & 58, The “Lonesome Travelers” with Norman Blake and Bob Johnson 1959-1967, I was a regular guest on the Grand Ol Opry from 1961 to 1973, an RCA recording artist 1961-62, and I was the lead human in the Walt Disney for TV Movie “The Nashville Coyote” (the coyote got top billing and roast beef for lunch). I was blessed with my fifty year friendship with Jack “Cowboy” Clement who kept my professional musical interest alive even while I was running a textile business in Chattanooga.
“Some of Ralph Roddenbery’s friends might argue that he’s a tough nut to crack, while others shorten their opinion to just “a nut.” Either way, the Georgia singer/songwriter has an undeniable knack for tapping into the emotional undercurrent of his songs, many of which are just as likely to make you laugh, as they are to cause moistening of the ‘lids, all within the same four minutes.”
– Michael Andrews
Donna Hopkins is the real deal. Born and raised on an Alabama farm, Donna witnessed hardship first hand, channeling it into the soulful music that she creates and performs. Music runs in her family; her mother performed rock and roll in go-go boots and mini-skirts and her grandfather was a fine musician in his own right. Following in their footsteps, Donna is a consummate seasoned performer with many songs and performances under her belt.