- From Maggie Valley, North Carolina.
- Called "King of the Smoky Mountain Banjo."
- Born on an Indian reservation in Cherokee, North
- Performs regularly at the Maggie Valley Opry
House—a local country music performing arts center.
- Known for his speed on the banjo. In his words,
"The older I get, the faster I get."
- Known for his deadpan demeanor on stage—he rarely
ever smiles. But friends say he does have a keen sense of
humor. He just takes his work very seriously.
- Once received six standing ovations (in one
appearance) at the Grand Ole Opry.
- 1967-1975, performed with the Maggie Valley Boys.
- 1975-1991, worked with the Crowe Brothers (who
started with the Maggie Valley Boys, then in 1978 changed
the name to Raymond Fairchild and the Crowe Brothers.)
- Formed the new Maggie Valley Boys, including his
son Zane on guitar.
- Designed the Cox/Fairchild banjo for the Cox banjo
Albany, New York.
Tony Califano (mandolin), Scott Hopkins (banjo), Elizabeth
Hopkins (bass), Morrie Safford (guitar)
released first CD, self-titled.
played guitar and sang lead with The Water Street Blues Band
(later WaterStreet) combining Blues, Funk, Jazz, R&B,
Country, Gospel and Bluegrass.
worked with Buddy Merriam and Back Roads.
joined Alicia Nugent's band. Also worked with Bradley Walker,
Malibu Storm, other bands.
joined the Infamous Stringdusters, replacing Chris Eldridge
(who joined Chris Thile's band)
released first solo project.
members: Zach Bevill (guitar), Joshua Britt (mandolin), Trevor
Brandt (banjo), and Ryan Pennington (bass).
released first CD "Sweet Summer Breeze."
THE FARIS FAMILY
includes Bob and Michelle Faris (banjo and bass) and their
four sons, James (fiddle/bass), Richard (guitar), Edward
(banjo/fiddle), and John (mandolin).
Faris (dad) won the Iowa State Fiddle Championship at age 19.
Played in numerous bands in Las Vegas, Nashville, Branson.
Retired from full time music career in 1991 to become a
have won numerous SPBGMA awards including "Entertaining Band
of the Year."
regularly at their own "Bluegrass Barn Theater" in Ozawkie,
Eddie Faris joined Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder,
replacing Darrin Vincent on arch-top guitar.
mandolin player Rick Faris joined Special Consensus, replacing
the Faris Family officially disbanded (as a performing act).
- From Vancouver, B.C., Canada.
- She sings and plays guitar.
- 1988-1990, worked with Laurie Lewis and Grant
- 1989, formed "Tammy and the Americans" with Scott
Nygaard, Sally Van Meter and John Reischman.
- 1990, joined the Good Old Persons
- 1995, formed The Sally Van Meter/Tammy Fassaert
- 1996, toured as a duo with Dobro™ player Doug Cox.
- 1998, began performing solo.
FELLER AND HILL (AND THE BLUEGRASS
Southern Indiana/Northern Kentucky.
their sound as "Buck Owens and Don Rich sing the Stanley
Feller (guitar) has previously worked with Jerry Williamson
& Redwing, The Larry Stephenson Band, Rhonda Vincent and
the Rage, and 3 Fox Drive. He is also a recording engineer.
Hill (banjo) previously worked with Gerald Evans and Paradise,
The Wildwood Valley Boys, the James King Band, and The Karl
Shiflett and Big Country Show. Chris is also a national
- From Sandy Springs, Maryland. Lives in
Littlestown, Pennsylvania (near Gettysburg).
- 1980, performed in a Baltimore area band called
- 1985, formed The Gary Ferguson Band.
- Played in a rock band until his conversion to
bluegrass in 1977 at the Union Grove Fiddler's Convention.
- During the Vietnam War, worked in an ammunition
plant in Texarkana, Texas.
- First bluegrass band: Snodgrass. Others: The
Garris Brothers, Bittersweet, and Redwood (with banjo whiz
- Holds the distinction of being the only songwriter
to reach the finals of the Chris Austin Songwriting Contest
at MerleFest five times.
- 1997, his song "Last Day at Gettysburg" was
recorded by Larry Sparks and spent a year on the Bluegrass
- 2000, formed a duo with vocalist Sally Love (a
vocalist who also is the former director of the Insect Zoo
appearing regularly as the "Bug Lady" on the Tonight Show
with Jay Leno and Late Night with David Letterman.) In 2007,
she joined Seneca Rocks, a new band with Dudley Connell
(whom she married) and other former members of the Johnson
- 2004, formed a duo with 17-year-old guitar whiz
Jordan Tice. Also sitting in with the Emory Lester Set and
the Lonesome Road Band (Arkansas group.)
formed an Irish group called "Ferguson, Holmes and Henry" with
Janet Holmes and Colin Henry (of Belfast, Ireland.)
- From Marian (Smyth County), Virginia.
- Formed in 1980 by "Fat Albert" Blackburn (plays
- Fescue is a very resilient type of grass. Hence
- Other band members: Mike Goodman (banjo), Garnet
Lester (guitar), Raymond Campbell (mandolin), Jordan Blevins
- 1997, 2000, won first place at Galax Old Time
Fiddler's Convention band contest.
FINK (AND MARCY MARXER)
- A folk-singing duo from the Washington DC area.
- Specialize in folk music for children.
- Have been performing together since 1987.
- Cathy is from Montreal, but moved to Takoma Park,
Maryland in 1979. Plays banjo and guitar.
- Marcy is from Michigan. Worked on production lines
at General Motors. Began performing professionally in 1978.
Plays guitar, mandolin, hammered dulcimer.
FOR THE GOSPEL
- From Eastern Kentucky (near Louisa).
- Formed in 1991, but performed primarily in
churches and gospel music events until "discovered" at 1995
IBMA Trade Show by Kerry Hay, who signed them to his Hay
- Formed by Rick May (guitar) and Pat Holbrook
- Johnny Branham (banjo) previously worked with the
Goins Brothers and Dave Evans.
- 1995, did a gospel concert in Durham Cathedral and
performed at the Heart of England Bluegrass Festival in
- 1997, won SPBGMA award for "Traditional Gospel
Group of the Year."
- Rick May was formerly a guard at the state prison.
He is also an ordained Baptist minister.
FISHER (THE ANITA FISHER BAND WITH RAY DEATON)
Cedarville, West Virginia.
her career performing with a family band called Fisher and
appeared on the CD "Daughters of American Bluegrass."
married Ray Deaton (formerly with IIIrd Tyme Out), who also
joined her band playing bass.
- From San Diego, California. (Was born in Athens,
- A professional baseball player and coach (San
Diego Padres 1979-1989 as an infielder, 1992-2002 as
third-base coach). Went to two World Series and one All-Star
Game. For several years, he did color commentary for local
Padres radio and TV broadcasts.
- His father was a Baptist minister in Kentucky and
gave him his roots in bluegrass, Irish and gospel music.
- During his baseball playing days, he performed in
the off-season with local musicians, playing mostly Jimmy
Buffet-style pop and beach-rock music.
- 2001, released first acoustic/bluegrass album,
produced by Dennis Caplinger. Includes many of his original
- 2004, released "Kentucky Towns" CD, a tribute to
his late father.
joined the coaching staff of the San Francisco Giants (third
base) and released "The Wayward Wind," his eighth album.
won a World Series ring with the Giants. Recorded "Travelin'
LESTER FLATT AND EARL SCRUGGS (AND THE
FOGGY MOUNTAIN BOYS)
- Considered by many to be the most important
bluegrass band in the history of the music, primarily
because they perfected the Monroe sound and exposed it to
bigger audiences than ever before. They brought bluegrass
from the country schoolhouse to the big city—Carnegie Hall
in New York City and San Francisco's Fillmore Auditorium, to
name a few.
- Members of the "original bluegrass band"—Bill
Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys (1945-1948).
- Members of the Grand Ole Opry and one of its most
popular acts during the 50's and 60's.
- Worked together for roughly twenty-one years
- Their early work on Mercury and Columbia during
the late 40's and the 50's are the considered the "essential
bluegrass recordings"—the body of work upon which the entire
genre is based. Their songs are classics and continue to be
recorded and re-recorded by almost every bluegrass band.
- 1953, began doing early morning radio shows on WSM
(Nashville) sponsored by Marth White Flour, and remained as
promoters of the company throughout their career. The Martha
White Theme as performed by Flatt and Scruggs is heard on
Grand Old Opry broadcasts to this day.
- Rose to popular fame during the urban folk music
revival of the early sixties. They performed at folk
festivals and college campuses, helping to convert an entire
new generation to bluegrass music.
- Recorded the theme to the CBS-TV show "The Beverly
Hillbillies" and made frequent guest appearances on the
- 1966, their recording of "Foggy Mountain Breakdown"
was used in the soundtrack for the movie "Bonnie and Clyde"
starring Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway.
- The Foggy Mountain Boys took its name from the song
that Flatt and Scruggs used as their theme—a Carter Family
song called "Foggy Mountain Top."
- Broke up in 1969 due to disagreements regarding
musical direction. Scruggs left to play progressive music
with his sons in "The Earl Scruggs Revue," and Flatt left to
play traditional bluegrass with "The Nashville Grass."
- 1981, they were inducted into the Country Music
Hall of Fame.
- 1991, they were inducted separately into the
International Bluegrass Music Hall of Honor.
inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame.
FLATT (AND THE NASHVILLE GRASS; See also LESTER
FLATT AND EARL SCRUGGS)
- From Sparta, Tennessee.
- After working with Bill Monroe (1945-1948) and
Earl Scruggs (1948-1969), formed his own band "Lester Flatt
and the Nashville Grass."
- "The Nashville Grass" was the result of a "Name the
Band" contest in which Lester's fans were invited to mail in
their suggestions for a new band name.
- Band included such performers as Curly Seckler,
Marty Stuart, Tater Tate, Kenny Ingram, Vic Jordan, Roland
White and others. Marty Stuart joined the Nashville Grass
when he was only 13 years old.
- After Lester died of a heart ailment in 1979, The
Nashville Grass continued on for several years led by Curly
Seckler and Flatt sound-alike Willis Spears.
- From New York City.
- Of Hungarian descent. He was named after the
composer Bela Bartok. His brother Ludwig was named after
- First musical instruments: guitar and french horn.
As a young teen was accepted into the New York High School
of Music and Art for artistically gifted students.
- Converted to the banjo after hearing "The Beverly
Hillbillies" on TV and the movie "Deliverance" featuring
- Took banjo lessons from Tony Trischka.
- 1976, formed Tasty Licks with guitarist Pat
Enright (now with The Nashville Bluegrass Band).
- 1979, formed Spectrum with mandolinist Jimmy
- 1981-1989, was a member of New Grass Revival.
- 1990, won the IBMA award for "Banjo Player of the
- 1990, formed jazz group "The Flecktones." Spent
his life savings to produce their first album, which was
picked up by Warner Brothers.
- 1999, released "The Blue Grass Sessions" album,
which featured two duets with Earl Scruggs.
- 2000, toured with the Dave Matthews Band.
recorded an album called "Throw Down Your Heart," which was
recorded in Africa as he researched the music and the
instruments that were precursors to the modern banjo. A
documentary film of this project was made by his filmmaker
brother Sasha Paladino.
toured and recorded as a member of Abigail Washburn's "Sparrow
premiered his "Concerto for Banjo and Orchestra" with the
- Originally From Salt Lake City.
- 1990, won the National Banjo Championship in
- 1991, won the National Mandolin Championship as
well. From that point on, decided to make the mandolin his
- 1997, joined the Judith Edelman band
- 1998, toured with Todd Phillips and David Grier.
- Former bands: Sugarbeat, Tim and Mollie O'Brien,
- 1999, recorded an album of duets with John Lowell
(Wheel Hoss, Kane's River). Also recorded with David Grier
and Todd Phillips as a trio.
- 2002, joined the Modern Mandolin Quartet in
Manhattan, Kansas. Also formed the Matt Flinner Quartet.
- 2002, toured with Leftover Salmon.
- 2005, a member of Drew Emmitt’s band.
FLYNN (See also THE NEW
- From Thousand Oaks, California. Lives in
- 1981-1990, guitarist with the New Grass Revival.
- During his tenure with NGR, won Frets Magazine
Readers Poll for "Best Acoustic Guitarist" five years in a
row. For winning five years in a row, he was inducted into
Frets Magazine's "Gallery of Greats" alongside Doc Watson,
Chet Atkins and Tony Rice.
- After NGR, went back to school and got his masters
degree in counseling. Also worked as a studio
musician/record producer in Nashville. Among his credits:
Crucial Smith, Alan Thornhill, Cadillac Sky and Candace
- Wrote and performed on Garth Brooks' hit single
"Do What You Gotta Do."
served as Tom T. Hall's musical director for Hall's "Artist in
Residence" program at the Country Music Hall of Fame in
- 2004, returned to recording and performing with
his own record label (Request Records).
performing dates as "Pat Flynn and Friends" with such artists
as John Cowan, Tim O'Brien, Darrell Scott, Stuart Duncan,
Buddy Greene, Michael Card and others.
country-rock singer and guitarist who had numerous Gold and
Platinum albums including Souvenirs (1974), Captured Angel
(1975), Nether Lands (1977) and the Innocent Age (1981). Hit
songs included "Leader of the Band," "Hard to Say," "Run for
the Roses," and "Make Love Stay."
recorded a landmark bluegrass album called "High Country
Snows" with Vince Gill, Ricky Skaggs, Jerry Douglas, Herb
Pederson, Doc Watson, David Grisman and other session players.
died at the age of 56 after a long battle with prostate
- From Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.
- One of the top bluegrass gospel acts of the
mid-1980's. Broke up in 1989 to raise families. Resumed
performing together in 1993.
- The group consists of four brothers and sisters:
Homer Forbes (banjo), Jay Forbes (mandolin), Lisa Forbes
Roberts (vocals), Lori Forbes Slate (bass).Grew up singing
as children at the Free Will Baptist Church in Littlestown,
- Showcased at IBMA Trade Show in 1995. Ron Block
(of Union Station) heard them and liked them so much he
produced their 1996 album "In the Shadow of Your Wings."
JOE FOSTER (AND SPECIAL EDITION)
- From Duncan, Oklahoma.
- A multi-instrumentalist who has worked with
numerous bands including Country Gazette, Bill Monroe and
the Blue Grass Boys and the Ricky Skaggs Band.
- Is also an accomplished songwriter.
- 1999, formed his own group, the Special Edition.
FOX FAMILY (3 FOX DRIVE, THE KIM FOX BAND)
- From Old Forge, New York (the Adirondack
Mountains). Now live in Nashville.
- A brother and two sisters (Joel, Kim and Barb
- 1989, won the Winterhawk Bluegrass Festival band
- Since 1990, they have hosted their own annual
bluegrass festival in New York.
Kim won the Merle Watson Songwriting Contest at
the Fox Family disbanded and Kim moved to Nashville to pursue
her career as a songwriter. She also formed The Kim Fox Band,
with various Nashville musicians including
Andrea Roberts (bass) and Jesse Cobb (mandolin.) Her brother
Joel would often play banjo.
Kim, Joel and Barb re-united to form a new band called 3 Fox
performed The Star Spangled Banner to open the IBMA Awards
- From Oregon.
- Formed in 1984.
- Won the Northwest Regional "Pizza Hut
International Bluegrass Showdown" in 1992.
- Frequently appeared on stage as "Lost Leroy and
the Lone Star Lumberjacks" and as "Vic Del and the Del
Toids" (a 50's group).
- The word "foxfire" is actually the name of a
fungus that glows in the dark.
- From Lexington, North Carolina.
- Mandolin prodigy. Began playing guitar, then
turned to mandolin at age 10.
- 1999, won 1st place in mandolin competition at
MerleFest at age 16.
- 1999, his newly-formed band "Southern Drive" won
the Pizza Hut International Bluegrass Showdown in
- 1994, performed with Bill Monroe at the Bell Cove
Club in Hendersonville, TN (was 11 years old at the time).
- His family raises Tennessee Walking Horses.
- He is pursuing a career in computer graphics and
- 2001, joined The Gena Britt Band.
- 2003, Marty Raybon and Full Circle.
left Special C to play with Mashville Brigade and do session
joined Michael Cleveland and Flamekeeper.
RANDALL "RANDY" FRANKS
- From Chamblee, Georgia. Lives in Atlanta.
"The Appalachian Ambassador of the Fiddle."
- Began performing at the age of eight.
- Musical career includes singing, songwriting and
producing. Plays guitar, bass, mandolin and fiddle.
- Age 19, played fiddle and bass with Bill Monroe
and the Blue Grass Boys.
- 1992, received the "Fiddlin' John Carson Award."
- Other bands: Jim and Jesse, the Lewis Family, and
the Golden River Grass.
- First love: gospel music. Has performed with
gospel artists the Marksmen, the Lewis Family, Jeff and
Sheri Easter, and the Singing Perry's.
- Also a professional actor. Was a regular on the
hit CBS series "In the Heat of the Night," playing the part
of "Officer Randy" on the Sparta Police Force.
- Active in many community service programs. Speaks
to thousands of youth every year, encouraging them to "Keep
Saying No to Drugs."
- 1992, produced a Christmas album featuring the
"Heat" cast and several bluegrass and country music stars
(Jim and Jesse, Ralph Stanley, Josh Graves, the Lewis
Family, Jimmy Martin, etc.) to benefit drug-abuse prevention
programs around the country.
- 2002, recorded an album of old-time duets with
David Davis (Warrior River Boys.)
was inducted into the Atlanta Country Music Hall of Fame.
- Hobbies: spelunking (caving) and hiking.
HIT AND RUN BLUEGRASS)
- From Nashville. Frazier lives in Colorado.
- Formed in 2012 by multi-instrumentalist John
Frazier, who also fronts the Colorado-based band Hit and Run. He also works
with John Cowan.
- His resume includes performances with
Jim Lauderdale, Del McCoury, Tony Rice, JD Crowe, Sam Bush, Dierks Bentley.
- 2009, toured with Steve Martin and Steep Canyon
Rangers. Co-wrote "Go Away, Stop, Turn Arond" with Steve Martin.
- 2012, released debut project "Frazier Band."
FRAZIER (See also HIT AND RUN BLUEGRASS)
- Originally from
Virginia. Lived in Boulder Colorado for 8 years, co-founding Hit and Run Bluegrass
with John Frazier. She plays guitar, sings lead and writes many of the band's
- Maiden name:
Rebecca Hoggan. John and Rebecca were married in 2007.
- She was the
first female artist to appear on the cover of Flatpicking Guitar magazine.
- Moved to Nashville
in 2007. John took a job with the John Cowan Band and Rebecca became a full-time
- 2010, she unexpectedly
lost her second son. She began to write, sing and play again. “I knew
I could rely on creativity and hope in order to heal," she says.
- 2013, released
a solo project "When We Fall" on Compass Records.
AND WILLIAMS (See JEANNETTE
- From Rehoboth, Massachussetts.
- Formed by banjo player Larry Neu, former sound and
lighting man for the Lonesome River Band. He plays banjo.
- Bass player Dimitri Eleftherakis formerly played
with the Schankman Twins, Amy Gallatin, Barry and Holly
- Other band members: Earle Oiver (guitar/lead
vocals) and John Roc (mandolin).
- 2004, released first single to radio stations
"Caroline in Carolina."
THE FREIGHT HOPPERS
- From Bryson City, North Carolina.
- Formed in 1993.
- Appeared on Garrison Keillor's "A Prairie Home
Companion" after entering his "Talent from Towns Under 2000"
contest and being selected from 492 entrants.
- A traditional string band, their music pre-dates
bluegrass. They play music from the 20's and 30's, from
artists like the Skillet Lickers, Uncle Dave Macon and the
members: Dave Bass (fiddle), Frank Lee (banjo), Cary Fridley
(guitar) and Jim O'Keefe/Hanne Jorgenson (bass.)
- Broke up in 1999, re-formed, then broke up again
Rayna Gellert worked with this band for a time and also in a
duo with Frank Lee. She joined Uncle Earl in 2003.
after a five-year hiatus, original members Bass and Lee
re-formed the band, joined by Thomas Bailey (guitar) and Isaac
Nashville (grew up in Indiana).
of the top "pop-country" artists of the 1980's.
won the CMA award for Female Vocalist of the Year.
won the Academy of Country Music Award for Top Female
recorded a bluegrass album of her country hits "The Bluegrass
Sessions." It was re-released in 2011 as "The Country Side of
FRITTS FAMILY BAND
- From Rogersville, Tennessee.
- Formed in 1986.
- Features Larry Fritts, who began playing bluegrass
when he was 12 years old.
- Band includes Fritts' wife, three sons and
- Many of their concerts sponsored by the National
Endowment for the Arts.
- Larry Fritts' first band: Bud Rose and the Country
Tune Twisters, from Elizabethton, Tennessee.
THE FRONT PORCH STRING BAND (See also CLAIRE LYNCH)
- Originally from Hazel Green, Alabama.
- Led by Claire and Larry Lynch.
- Formed in 1974 on the campus of the University of
Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
- Originally called themselves "Hickory Wind."
- After recording a successful album in 1980, the
Lynch's disbanded the group, taking time off from music to
begin a family. They re-organized the group ten years later.
- Claire Lynch has recorded several solo albums and
has also worked as a guest vocalist on albums by such
artists as John Starling, Susie Ward, Skip Ewing, Dolly
Parton, Kathy Mattea, Emmy Lou Harris and Patty Loveless.
- Alan O'Bryant (of the Nashville Bluegrass Band) was
a member of the FPSB.
- Larry Lynch is a full-time accountant.
- 1997, disbanded again–but occasionally re-unites
to accompany Claire Lynch.
- Formed in 1984 in Denver, Colorado, but only two
band members ever lived there (Mike Lantz, Ron Lynam). Dick
and Amos live in Pennsylvania and Vermont respectively.
- Name "Front Range" comes from the name given to
the eastern slopes of the Colorado Rockies.
- 1988, recorded first album (a cassette). Original
band included Peter Schwimmer on banjo.
- 1990, recorded second album in their own studio on
their own record label. Mailed 500 copies to radio stations
and the song "High Mountain Meadow" became a #1 song.
- 1995, won IBMA award for Gospel Recording of the
Year (for "One Beautiful Day").
- Banjo player Ron Lynam is the world's undisputed
"Underwater Banjo Champion." He accomplished this feat by
playing an aluminum banjo underwater in a pool at the
Midwinter (Ft. Collins, CO) Bluegrass Festival. It has
become an annual event. He is also a high
school social studies teacher.
- Lead singer Bob Amos is a prolific songwriter with
a master's degree in geology.
the group recorded its last album together.
- 2006, mandolinist Mike Lantz died of brain cancer.
Bob Amos recorded a solo project called "Borrowed Time."
- From Salem, Oregon.
- Formed in 1996 to tour with vocalist Kate
MacKenzie. They were previously known as "Out of the Blue."
- Original members: Dale Adkins (guitar), Dale
Williams (banjo), Joe Wilmhoff (bass). Vocalist and fiddler
Leah Larson (fiddle) joined the band when Kate MacKenzie
retired in 1999.
- Mandolinist John Reischman was also a member of
- From the San Franciso Bay area.
- Played banjo with Laurie Lewis and Grant Street;
The Rounder Banjo Extravaganza (with Tom Adams and Tony
Trischka) and his own group Sugarbeat.
- 1999, formed the Tony Furtado Band, a fusion of
country, bluegrass, blues and jazz.
- His recording of "I Will" with guest artist Alison
Krauss was included on Krauss' "Now That I've Found You"
album, which sold two million copies.
- Won the National Banjo Championship in Winfield,
KS in 1987 and 1991.
- 2002, formed The American Gypsies (a jazz group).