O'BRIEN (See also HOT RIZE)
- From Wheeling,
West Virginia. Lives in Nashville.
- Rose to prominence
with the Denver, Colorado-based group Hot Rize (1979-1990). Prior to that,
performed with a string jazz group called the Ophelia Swing Band (also in
- Has also fronted
his own group, The O'Boys and has worked as a duo with his sister Mollie.
- First group:
The Northern Valley Boys (in high school).
performed solo in a pizza parlor in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and also worked
with The Hutchison Brothers, an Ohio group.
- Wrote the hit
song "Untold Stories" recorded by the CMA's "Female Vocalist
of the Year" Kathy Mattea.
- 1990, sang
duo with Kathy Mattea on "The Battle Hymn of Love" a #1 record.
- Has also sung
and played on albums by Mary Chapin Carpenter.
- 1990, signed
by RCA Records but subsequently dropped due to budget cuts by the label before
his first album was released.
- O'Brien's description
of his musical style: "weird-country, electro-acoustic, folk-beat, walkin-the-line-between-several-genres
acoustic music that rocks a bit, but you understand the words."
- 1995, his song
"You Love Me, You Love Me Not" was recorded by country singer Hal
- 1997, became
the first artist to achieve three #1 albums on the Gavin "Americana"
- 1997, Garth
Brooks recorded a song co-written by Tim called "When There's No One
- 1998, performs
occasionally with Jeff White, Charlie Cushman, Mark Schatz and Jerry Douglas
in a group called "The Flattheads."
- 1999, formed
a group with Darol Anger, Mike Marshall and Alison Brown called New Grange.
- 2000, recorded
and toured with guitarist Darrell Scott. Their instrumental "The Second
Mouse" was nominated for a Grammy Award.
- 2001, was appointed
president of the IBMA. Resigned in 2003.
- 2006, won Grammy
Award for Best Traditional Folk Recording.
- 1993, 2006,
won IBMA Award for Male Vocalist of the Year.
- 2006, won IBMA
award for Song of the Year ("Look Down that Lonesome Road").
MOLLIE O'BRIEN (See also TIM O'BRIEN)
- From Wheeling,
- Brother and
sister duo; have sung together since childhood.
- 1967, won a
talent contest in Wheeling performing as "Hardship and Perseverance."
The following year, they won it again as "The Katzenjammer Kids."
Next year, they won it a third time as the "Campbell Soup Kids."
- Mollie studied
voice in college and has performed opera and musical theatre.
- 1994, toured
South America for the U.S. Information Agency.
(See also THE NASHVILLE BLUEGRASS BAND)
- From Reidsville,
- Leader of the
Nashville Bluegrass Band (plays banjo).
- 1974, began
performing with James Monroe and the Midnight Ramblers.
- Also was a
member of The Front Porch String Band.
- Was a studio
musician in Nashville before forming the NBB.
- Among his songwriting
credits: "Those Memories of You" was recorded by "The Trio"
(Dolly Parton, Linda Ronstadt and Emmylou Harris).
- Trademark singing
style: holds the head of the banjo up near the microphone while he sings "into"
the banjo. According to O'Bryant, he originally did it to get the weight off
his diaphragm, thus giving him more vocal control. But he noticed that the
"echo" effect also helped him to stay on pitch.
- 1995, received
the "Heritage Award" from the Charlotte (NC) Folk Music Society
for his role in preserving his home state's traditional music.
- From Seattle,
Washington. Has lived in Nashville and San Diego, California. Currently lives
in New York City.
- According to
Chet Atkins, "Mark O'Connor and Itzhak Perlman are two of the greatest
musicians alive on the planet today."
- A child prodigy:
he could identify specific classical composers at age 3.
- Began playing
guitar at age 6. Began violin lessons at age 11. Seven months later, won second
place at the National Old-Time Fiddle Championships in Weiser, Idaho.
- Appeared on
the Grand Ole Opry when he was 12 years old. He was introduced by Roy Acuff.
- By age 14,
had won two National Junior Fiddle Championships, One Grand Masters Fiddle
Championship, and the National Guitar Flatpicking Championship (Winfield,
Kansas). After his victory at Winfield the rules were changed—making
contestants wait at least five years before they could win the championship
a second time. (He did.)
- 1979, toured
Japan with Dan Crary.
- 1980, joined
The David Grisman Quintet, but left after breaking his arm in a skiing accident.
1981, joined an electric band called The Dregs—formerly The Dixie Dregs.
- Has performed
at Carnegie Hall with Stephane Grappelli, David Grisman and cellist Yoyo Ma.
- 1983, embarked
on a solo career, performing and recording with a wide variety of artists
in just about every musical category.
- 1991, won the
CMA award for "Vocal Event of the Year" for his album "The
New Nashville Cats."
- 1991-1996, won
the CMA award six consecutive years for "Musician of the Year."
- 1991, wrote
his first violin concerto.
- 1993, toured
with Marty Stuart and Travis Tritt for their "No Hats Tour." This
tour marked his farewell to country music. He has focused on classical music
- Most important
musical influence: Texas-style fiddler Benny Thomasson.
- 1999, moved
to California and began fiddle camps in San Diego.
- 2004, released
"Thirty Year Retrospective" with Chris Thile (mandolin), Bryan Sutton
(guitar), Byron House (bass).
- 2009, released
String Quartet No. 2 "Bluegrass" and String Quartet No. 3 "Old
- 2010, released
"Jam Session," which combines bluegrass with Gypsy Jazz.
- From Salem,
- A recording
engineer/producer by occupation (Flat Five Studios). Also an accomplished
- Has worked
on albums by the Dave Matthews Band, Bill Monroe, Ralph Stanley.
- Has written
a popular book called "Music Theory for Modern Mandolin."
- Plays "jazz-swing-latin-bluegrass-blues"
- 2001, released
first of several solo mandolin albums.
IN THE WAY
- A 1973 band
from San Francisco featuring Jerry Garcia (of the Grateful Dead) on banjo,
David Grisman on mandolin, Peter Rowan on guitar, Vassar Clements on fiddle,
and John Kahn on bass.
- Made several
appearances over the course of about a year, playing venues like Paul's Saloon
and The Boarding House in San Francisco.
- According to
Grisman, the group never really got very tight because "Garcia hated
- 1996, re-united
for a concert at Telluride, with Herb Pederson filling in for Jerry Garcia
and in 2002, released an album called "Old and In the Gray."
CROW MEDICINE SHOW
- From various
parts of the country, but organized in New York. Later moved to Nashville.
- Started out
as "buskers," or street musicians.
- While performing
on a street corner in Boone, NC, they were heard by Doc Watson and invited
to play Merlefest. That led to an appearance on the Grand Ole Opry and other
high profile gigs.
- They play pre-war
jug band music.
- First CD was
produced by David Rawlings.
(See VIC JORDAN)
SCHOOL FREIGHT TRAIN
- From Richmond,
- Formed in 2001
at the College of William and Mary (Williamsburg).
- Play bluegrass,
"dawg," bluegrass-flavored latin music.
- 2001, placed
second at the band contest in Telluride.
- Original members
include Pete Frostic (mandolin), Jesse Harper (guitar), Ben Krakauer (banjo),
Darrell Muller (bass), Ann Marie Simpson (fiddle).
- From Longmont,
- Call themselves
- Formed in 1999
by guitarist Brad Folk and mandolinist Caleb Roberts. Banjo player Jim Rummels
joined in 2000.
- Band name comes
from a particular kind of Stetson Hat.
- Lead singer
Brad Folk is a "real" cowboy.
- 2000, released
first album produced by Sally Van Meter.
- 2002, signed
(See LOST HIGHWAY)
- From Hyden,
Kentucky (Live in Nashville.)
- Bobby plays
mandolin; Sonny plays banjo.
- Bobby is six
years older than Sonny.
- Sonny's given
name is Roland.
- 1949, Bobby
began musical career with banjo player Larry Richardson and the Cline Brothers
(Ray and Charlie) in The Lonesome Pine Fiddlers.
- 1950, Sonny
joined the Lonesome Pine Fiddlers at age 13.
- 1951, Sonny
was hired by Bill Monroe to play banjo with the Blue Grass Boys.
- 1953, Bobby
and Sonny teamed up with Jimmy Martin and performed on a radio station in
Detroit as as "Jimmy Martin and the Osborne Brothers." They were
invited to come to Nashville to do a radio program, but turned it down because
the pay wasn't good enough. The sponsors hired Flatt and Scruggs instead.
The show was "The Martha White Show" on WSM.
- 1955, parted
company with Martin and worked with Charlie Bailey in Wheeling, West Virginia
- 1956, formed
their own band with Red Allen singing lead. Signed by MGM Records.
- 1964, joined
the Grand Ole Opry.
- 1968, recorded
biggest hit: "Rocky Top." 1984, the song was designated the state
song of Tennessee. (The Osborne Brothers performed it live before the Tennessee
- Other hits:
"Tennessee Hound Dog" (1970) and "Georgia Pineywoods"
- 1969, went
electric, infuriating many of their fans. At one concert, someone snuck up
on stage and snipped the electric chord to Sonny's banjo.
- 1970, Sonny
invented a "six-string banjo" which had one extra bass string. Played
it for several years but eventually abandoned the idea.
- 1971, voted
"Vocal Group of the Year" by the CMA.
- 1973, were
the first bluegrass group to perform at the White House (for Richard Nixon).
- 1974, stopped
using electric instruments, except for an electric bass.
- 1991, dropped
the electric bass in favor of the acoustic string bass.
- 1994, were
inducted into the IBMA's Hall of Fame.
- 2000, a section
of Route 421 in Kentucky was named "Osborne Brothers Way."
- 2005, Sonny
retired due to a shoulder operation which impacted his ability to play up
to his standards. He continues to build and sell banjos with his Sonny Osborne
Banjo Company, specializing in a banjo called "The Osborne Chief."
- 2005, Bobby
formed "Bobby Osborne and the Rocky Top X-press.
OSBORNE (AND THE ROCKY TOP XPRESS) (See also THE OSBORNE
- From Hyden,
Kentucky (Lives in Portland, Tennessee)
- The elder of
the Osborne Brothers, he formed his own band "The Rocky Top Xpress,"
after brother Sonny retired in 2004. Has recorded several CD's for Rounder
and Rural Rhythm labels.
- He is the only
bluegrass artist (so far) to be elected twice into the Bluegrass Music Hall
of Fame (as a member of the Osborne Brothers and also as a member of the Lonesome
- 2006, was appointed
to a professorship at Hazard Community & Technical College in Hyden, Kentucky
(his home town), teaching music.
credits include: Bluegrass Express, Big Spike Hammer, Memories, I'll Be All
Right Tomorrow, Son of a Sawmill Man, Pain in My Heart and This Heart of Mine
Can Never Say GoodBye.
- Bobby Osborne
Junior is a member of his band, known as "Boj."
- From Lexington,
- Sonny and Bobby
Osborne are cousins. His grandfather is their uncle.
- Besides music,
his passion is training and showing Tennessee walking horses, a family tradition.
- 1980, formed
first band "Thousandsticks Express."
- 1986, formed
his current band, "Eastbound."
- 1988, went
full-time with his band.
- 2006, appointed
head of the Bluegrass and Traditional Music program at Hazard Community &
- From Nashville,
Tennessee. Lives in Ocala, Florida.
- The son of
Bobby Osborne (of the Osborne Brothers).
- Learned banjo
from Earl Scruggs and Sonny Osborne.
- 1980, formed
his own band and released a solo album.
- 1981, played
banjo with the Osborne Brothers when Sonny suffered a severe finger injury.
- 1982, disbanded
his own group to attend technical college.
- 1984, worked
with the Boys from Indiana.
- 1986, moved
to the Orlando, Florida area where he works in the computer industry.
- Has recorded
several widely-distributed albums for CMH Records in their "Pickin On
..." series, and an album called "The Banjos That Destroyed the
- From Minneapolis,
- Best known as
an accomplished mandolin and fiddle player.
- His family is
from the Ukraine.
- Has toured regularly
with Robin and Linda Williams, Norman Blake and the Rising Fawn Ensemble,
and Chet Atkins. He also worked with Jethro Burns, Emmylou Harris, Willie
Nelson, Johnny Gimble, Greg Brown, John Hartford and Taj Mahal, among others.
- He is makes
regular appearances on radio's A Prairie Home Companion, and for several years
served as Music Director for the show. He has also appeared on Austin City
Limits, Late Night with David Letterman, and Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood.
- He is also very
much involved in the Children's Music Theatre in Minneapolis.
- As a composer, his works have been performed by the Saint
Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Minnesota Sinfonia, the Rochester (Minnesota)
Symphony Orchestra, the Des Moines Symphony and the Kremlin Chamber Orchestra,
among others. Twin Cities Public Television commissioned Peter to provide
music for their nationally distributed programs, The Dakota Conflict and Grant
Wood's America. Ken Burns used music from Heart of the Heartland for his PBS
documentary Lewis & Clarke, and Peter's haunting arrangement of Sweet
Betsy from Pike was underscore for Burns' Mark Twain.
- 2001, was the recipient of a Bush Artist Fellowship for Music
- 2012, released solo project "The Mando Chronicles."
- From Japan;
lives in the Washington DC area.
- Best known as
the impressive mandolin player with The Bluegrass 45, a legendary bluegrass
band from Japan.
- Has become a
fixture in the Washington DC bluegrass scene, plays all the bluegrass instruments.
- Also played
in a group called Grazz Matazz, house band at the Birchmere in Alexandria,
- 2012, released
first solo project on Patuxent Records "First Tear."
THE BLUE (See FRONTLINE)
- From Bennett,
- A genre-bending
bluegrass ensemble featuring Hank Bowman (guitar and lead vocals), Stan Brown
(banjo), Julie Brown (bass) and Brad Martin (mandolin).
is a scientific term to describe things or phenomena that lie outside normal
experience. In 2008, Malcolm Gladwell wrote a best-selling book titled "Outliers"
profiling "men and women who, for one reason or another, are so accomplished
and so extraordinary and so outside of ordinary experience that they are as
puzzling to the rest of us as a cold day in August" (gladwell dot com).
- From Nashville.
- Formed in 2004
by Danny Barnes, Elmer Burchett, Jr., Kevin Harper, Wesley Probst and Kim
- Barnes (mandolin)
is from Kentucky and has performed with the Barnes Family Band, Charlie Sizemore,
David Parmley and Continental Divide, Pine Mountain Railroad.
- Burchett (banjo)
is from Kentucky and has worked with Lou Reid and Carolina, David Parmley
and Continental Divide, Wyatt Rice and Santa Cruz, Ronnie Bowman, Brooks and
- Harper (fiddle)
is from Louisiana and has worked in numerous country bands including the Tracy
- Probst (guitar)
is from Missouri and worked with Harold Morrison and other artists before
becoming a full-time songwriter.
- Gardner (Dobro™)
is from North Carolina and has worked with the Lonesome River Band, Doyle
Lawson and Quicksilver, Larry Cordle and many others.
- First release:
a novelty song called "Christmastime in Texas."
EDGE (See JOHN CARLINI)
(THE ANDY OWENS PROJECT)
- From Dallas,
Texas. Has roots in Kentucky.
- Has an MBA
- Formed The
Andy Owens Project" in 1991.
- Active on the
Texas bluegrass scene since 1975.
- Was a founding
member of Danger in the Air (1983-1991). Also worked with The Fredonia Rebellion
(1976-1981) and "Les Fauves" (1981-1983), a "punk-grass"
- The "Project"
is to develop bluegrass players and songwriters around Dallas and to widen
the appeal of bluegrass to the general public.Calls his music "Real Music."
- Also performs
with a Texas group called "Killbilly." In 1993, this band toured
- 1993, was elected
to the board of the IBMA. In 1998, was elected chairman of the board.
- Owns and operates
a recording studio in Dallas, and a record label: 1-800-BLUEGRASS.
- Travels extensively
all over the world as a "bluegrass ambassador."