Author: LJ

Nadolson, Mike


  • From Lake Elsinore, California (LA area).
  • 1980, 1981 won the Four Corners Regional Flatpicking Championship in Wickenburg, Arizona.
  • Has performed with several Southern California bands, including Shadow Mountain with Ron Block and Dennis Caplinger, Damascus Road, a gospel group, Circuit Riders, and Silverado, his current band.
  • He is founder and owner of Tricopolis Records.
  • 1998, recorded first solo album Quicksand (Tricopolis).

Cache Valley Drifters


  • From Santa Barbara, California.
  • Formed 1972, broke up 1983. Re-united 1992.
  • Original members: Wally Barnick (bass), Bill Griffin (mandolin), David West (guitar, banjo).
  • Were regulars at the Cold Springs Tavern in San Marcos (near Santa Barbara).

Bad Livers, The


  • Originally from Austin, Texas.
  • A fusion of Tex-Mex, cajun, reggae, rock, blues, country and bluegrass. Band includes an accordion, drums and a tuba. Their music is sometimes called “bluegrass-punk” or “thrash-bluegrass.”
  • Formed in 1990 by banjo/guitar player Danny Barnes, who wrote most of the band’s material. Other members: Ralph White (fiddle) and Mark Rubin (bass).
  • 2001, the group disbanded.


Wagner, Cliff


  • From Los Angeles, California. Wagner was born and raised in Mississippi.
  • Attended the Berklee College of Music (Boston).
  • 1999, lived and played bluegrass in New York City.
  • 2000, moved to California.
  • Plays banjo and fiddle, sings lead in his band The Old 97 and writes most of their songs.
  • Band includes Craig Ferguson (guitar), Devitt Feeley (mandolin) and Andrew Paddock (bass.)
  • 2007, released My Native Land album (no label).
  • 2007, appeared on Fox TV’s “The Next Great American Band.”
  • 2008, released Hobo’s Lullaby album (no label).

Fairchild, Raymond


  • From Maggie Valley, North Carolina.
  • Called “King of the Smoky Mountain Banjo.”
  • Born on an Indian reservation in Cherokee, North Carolina.
  • 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 company.
  • 2017, lent his name (and family recipe) to a line of flavored moonshine whiskeys called “Raymond Fairchild White Lightning,” now legally produced by the Elevated Mountain Distillery in Maggie Valley, North Carolina.
  • 2019, died at the age of 80.


Radio Flyer


  • From Springfield, Missouri.
  • Formed in 1984 by David Wilson (mandolin/fiddle) and Dudley Murphey (guitar).
  • Won “Best New Bluegrass Band of 1985” at the Kentucky Fried Chicken bluegrass festival in Louisville. (Union Station featuring a 14-year old fiddle player named Alison Krauss came in second.)
  • 1988, released self titled album on Turquoise Records.
  • 1991, released “Old Strings, New Strings” album (Turquoise).
  • 1995, released Town & Country album (Turquoise).
  • The band broke up in 2002 but Wilson and Murphey have been playing dates together as a duo.
  • Murphey is an art professor at Drury College in Springfield.
  • Wilson also founded another band called the Undergrass Boys.

Zenkl, Radim


  • From Czechoslavakia (defected to the U.S. four months before the fall of Communism). Lives in Oakland, California.
  • Billed as “The only musician in the world performing original, solo mandolin music.”
  • Has worked with Jerry Garcia, David Grisman, Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Tim O’Brien, Peter Rowan, Psychograss, others.
  • 1984, won the national mandolin championship (Czechoslavakia).
  • 1992, won the national mandolin championship (U.S.A) in Winfield, Kansas.
  • 1992, released Galactic Mandolin album (Acoustic Disc)
  • 1994, released Czech It Out album (Acoustic Disc).
  • 1999, released Restless Joy album (no label).

Macon, Uncle Dave


  • From Murfreesboro, Tennessee.
  • One of the Grand Ole Opry’s first superstars.
  • 1926, joined the Opry at the age of 56. His last Opry performance was March 1, 1952.
  • He was a vaudeville entertainer who took his act to the Opry and was one of the first to popularize the five-string banjo as a featured instrument.
  • Nickname: “The Dixie Dewdrop.”
  • Before joining the Opry, he ran a freight line from Murfreesboro to Woodbury Tennessee—two wagons with three mules pulling each wagon.
  • 1952, died at the age of 81.
  • Elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1966.


Dailey, Jamie


  • From Gainesboro, Tennessee. He was born in Corbin, Kentucky.
  • Began singing with his family at age 3.
  • Age 9, began playing bass with family band “The Four J’s.” Age 12, played banjo with them.
  • Age 15, joined Cumberland Connection.
  • Age 18, Clear Creek.
  • 1996, age 21, formed Highland Rim.
  • 1998, joined Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver
  • 2002, formed a web site development company called Ciphertek Entertainment, specializing in bluegrass artist web sites
  • 2007, left Doyle Lawson to form a new band “Dailey & Vincent” with Darrin Vincent.

Eanes, Jim


  • From Martinsville, Virginia.
  • Nickname: “Smilin’ Jim Eanes” (His given name is Homer—but chose his stage name, “Smilin’ Jim” in 1939.)
  • A pioneer of bluegrass music. Began his career in 1948 with Flatt & Scruggs, then Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys.
  • Solo career: 1949, had hit record “Baby Blue Eyes” (Capitol Records); Early fifties, recorded “Missing in Action” (Blue Ridge Records) which reportedly sold more than 400,000 copies; 1952, had hits “I Cried Again” and “Just Suppose” (Decca).
  • 1955-1962, leader/lead singer for The Shenandoah Valley Boys (which included banjo whiz Allen Shelton)
  • Late 60’s, recorded several albums backed by The Country Gentlemen.
  • Songwriting credits: “Baby Blue Eyes”, “Next Sunday Darling is My Birthday,” and “I Wouldn’t Change You If I Could.” His songs have been recorded by Flatt and Scruggs, Bill Monroe, Reno and Smiley, George Jones and Ricky Skaggs.
  • Was a disc-jockey on several country radio stations.
  • 1988, inducted into the Virginia Country Music Hall of Fame.
  • Died in 1995.

Hackensaw Boys, The


  • From Charlottesville, Virginia.
  • Formed in 1999, playing at the Blue Moon Diner in Charlottesville.
  • A young jamgrass band that performs all-original bluegrass/country/folk music with a cast of players that sometime runs a dozen strong.
  • Band member go by their nicknames: Pee Paw, Shiner, Mahlon, the Kooky-eyed Fox, Dante J. and Salvage.
  • 2001, started touring in a 1964 GMC touring bus called the Dirty Bird. There were 12 people in the group at that time.
  • 2002, toured with rockers Modest Mouse. Released Keep It Simple album (no label)
  • 2003, they were Charlie Louvin’s backup band on a national tour.
  • 2003, opened the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival (Manchester, Tennessee).
  • 2004, toured the Netherlands.
  • 2012, released Love What You Do album (Nettwerk).
  • 2013, released Look Out! album (Nettwerk)
  • 2016, released Charismo album (Free Dirt).

Talbot, David


  • From Canada. Moved to Nashville in 1997.
  • 1998-2003, played banjo with Larry Cordle and Lonesome Standard Time.
  • Has also worked with Marty Raybon, Reba McIntyre and Dolly Parton.
  • One of Nashville’s “A-list” studio musicians.
  • 2004, formed the Grascals with Terry Eldridge, Jamie Johnson, Jimmy Mattingly, Danny Roberts and Terry Smith.
  • 2006, left the Grascals to work full-time with Dolly Parton.

Abrams Brothers, The


  • From Kingston, Ontario, Canada.
  • John Abrams (born 1990) performs on fiddle, mandolin and guitar.
  • James Abrams (born 1993) performs on fiddle, mandolin and acoustic bass.
  • They are fourth generation musicians. They credit their great-grandparents with passing on their musical talent.
  • 2003, won the Thomas Point Beach (Maine) band competition. The name of the band at that time was “The Abrams Family and Clarendon Station.”
  • Their grandparents and great-grandparents performed in a gospel group called “The Missionaries.”
  • The current band includes a master of the mandolin and guitar, Bob Burtch, and three generations of the Abrams family: grandfather Wayne (singer, songwriter and luthier), father Brian and the boys.
  • 2005, made first appearance on the Grand Ole Opry as guests of Mike Snider.
  • 2005, won “Emerging Artist of the Year” (Canadian Bluegrass Music Awards) and were the youngest Canadian band to ever play the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville.
  • 2006, released Iron Sharpens Iron album.
  • 2006, performed at the European World of Bluegrass in the Netherlands.
  • 2012, released Northern Redemption album.
  • 2014, released Blue on Brown album featuring covers of Bob Dylan and Arlo Guthrie songs.

Pardue, Rick


  • From State Road, North Carolina.
  • 1975, played banjo in a North Carolina band called the Sugarloaf Ramblers.
  • Left the music scene in the mid-80’s and took up flying airplanes.
  • 1990-1995, had a band called Point Blank.
  • 1995, formed Long and Pardue band with guitar player Tommy Long. Pardue plays banjo.
  • 1998, formed Rambler’s Choice.
  • 2000, joined Carolina Road.
  • 2002, toured with Butch Robins and Bobby Hicks
  • Besides songwriting and playing music, he is a real estate broker and buys/repairs/sells Subarus.
  • 2011, recorded an album of original songs with Timmy Massey Ghost of Noah Hayes (no label).
  • 2012, won an IBMA Award for a song he co-wrote with Tim Massey, “A Far Cry from Lester and Earl” as recorded by Junior Sisk and Ramblers Choice.

OBrien, Tim


  • From Wheeling, West Virginia. Lives in Nashville.
  • A singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist (primarily mandolin and fiddle) who rose to prominence with the Colorado-based group Hot Rize (1979-1990). Since then, he has performed as a solo artist and with his band The O’Boys. He has also toured and recorded with his sister Mollie O’Brien, Darrell Scott, New Grange, the Earls of Leicester and several other ensembles.
  • Early years: had a group in high school called the Northern Valley Boys (in high school). He also performed as a solo act in a pizza parlor in Jackson Hole, Wyoming and spent some time as a member of the The Hutchison Brothers, an Ohio group. After moving to Colorado, he worked with a group called Ophelia Swing Band.
  • He plays the role of Red Knuckles in the Hot Rize western band “Red Knuckles and the Trailblazers.”
  • 1984, released Hard Year Blues album (Flying Fish).
  • 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 was subsequently dropped due to budget cuts by the label before his first album was released.
  • 1991, released Odd Man In album (Sugar Hill).
  • 1993, released Oh Boy! O’Boy! album (Sugar Hill).
  • 1995, his song “You Love Me, You Love Me Not” was recorded by country singer Hal Ketchum.
  • 1996, released an album of Bob Dylan songs Red On Blonde (Sugar Hill).
  • 1997, became the first artist to achieve three #1 albums on the Gavin “Americana” Charts.
  • 1997, released When No One’s Around album (Sugar Hill).
  • 1997, Garth Brooks recorded a song co-written by Tim called “When There’s No One Around.”
  • 1998, performed 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.
  • 1999, released an album of Irish music The Crossing (Allulu).
  • 2000, began recording and touring as a duo with guitarist/songwriter Darrell Scott.
  • 2001, was appointed president of the IBMA. Resigned two years later.
  • 2002, released Two Journeys album (Sugar Hill).
  • 2003, released Traveler album (Sugar Hill).
  • 2006, won Grammy Award for Best Traditional Folk Recording.
  • 2006, won his second IBMA Award for Male Vocalist of the Year (also won in 1993).
  • 2005, released Real Time album with Darrell Scott (Full Skies).
  • 2005, released Fiddler’s Green album (Sugar Hill). He won a Grammy Award for this album in the categor “Best Traditional Folk Album.”
  • 2006, won IBMA award for Song of the Year (“Look Down that Lonesome Road”).
  • 2012, released We’re Usually A Lot Better Than This album with Darrell Scott (Full Skies).
  • 2013, was a founding member of the Earls of Leicester. He won a Grammy Award for the band’s self-titled album.
  • 2013 was inducted into the West Virginia Music Hall of Fame.
  • 2013, released Memories & Moments album with Darrell Scott (Full Skies).
  • 2013, released new Hot Rize album When I’m Free and began touring once again with the group.
  • 2015, released Pompadour album (Howdy Skies).
  • 2017, released Where the River Meets the Road album (Howdy Skies).

Kahn, Si


  • From Charlotte, North Carolina.
  • A folksinger/songwriter who is also a social activist in the South. He is executive director of Grassroots Leadership, an organization that works for civil rights, labor unions and the abolition of for-profit prisons. He is also a writer and public speaker on these issues.
  • 2000, released first bluegrass album Been a Long Time (Sliced Bread) with Laurie Lewis, Tom Rozum, Peter Wernick, Sally Van Meter, others.
  • 2002, released Threads album (Strictly Country) with the Kruger Brothers.
  • 2013, released Aragon Mill – The Bluegrass Sessions album (Strictly Country).

Gabeheart, Jim & Valerie


  • From Hamlin, West Virginia.
  • A husband-wife duo. Jim plays banjo, Valerie plays guitar. They married in 1981.
  • Jim is a five-time West Virginia State Banjo Champion who has performed with Ricky Skaggs, The Whites, Mac Wiseman, Larry Sparks, John Hartford, and Ray Charles.
  • Jim and Valerie also have a gospel group called Steadfast.
  • Jim is prosecuting attorney in Lincoln County, West Virginia.
  • 2011, released fifth album “It’s My Turn.”
  • 2023, released “I Was Raised in a Railroad Town” album.

Yates, Bill


  • From Washington, DC.
  • Played bass with the Country Gentlemen from 1969 to 1989.
  • 2005, formed a new band “Bill Yates and Friiends” to perform the songs of the Country Gentlemen. The group features the lead vocals of Mike Phipps, who sounds remarkably like the late Charlie Waller. Other band members included Darren Beachley (guitar), Kevin Church (banjo), Dave Propst (mandolin), Mark Clifton (Dobro™), Terry Pearson (bass).
  • 2006, recorded “Country Gentlemen Tribute” album.
  • 2009, recorded “Country Gentlemen Tribute, Volume II” album.

Uglum, Eric


  • From Apple Valley, California (born in Fort Campbell, Kentucky).
  • 1986, a founding member of Weary Hearts, with Ron Block, Butch Baldassari and Mike Bub. Eric played guitar.
  • 1988, formed New Wine, with Ron and Sandra Block and Rob Ickes.
  • 1992, formed Copperline, with Janet Beazley, Bud Bierhaus and Marshall Andrews.
  • 1997, joined Lost Highway, playing mandolin.
  • Owns a recording studio, New Wine Studios.
  • 2003, released first solo album.
  • 2004, released Shenandoah Wind album (Backcountry).
  • 2006, formed a trio with his stepsons Christian and Austin Ward. Released a CD called The Old Road to Jerusalem (Backcountry).
  • 2007, he (along with stepsons Christian and Austin Ward) joined Chris Stuart and BackCountry.

Ickes, Rob


  • From Millbrae, California. Lives in Nashville.
  • Ickes is pronounced the same as “likes.”
  • First band: “Heartland” with Tony Furtado; also had a band in college called “Colusa” with Todd Phillips (named after a California gold-mining town).
  • Went to UC Davis and studied to become a veterinarian. Has a BA in biology.
  • Has toured with Weary Hearts, the Lynn Morris Band, Alison Krauss, others.
  • 1994, joined Blue Highway and has remained with this band throughout his career.
  • 1997, appeared in Steven Seagal movie “The Fire Down Below.”
  • 1997, released first solo project Hard Times (Rounder Records).
  • 2002, released What It Is album (Rounder Records).
  • 2004, released Big Time album (Rounder Records).
  • 2005, formed a jazz trio with Andy Leftwich and Dave Pomeroy called Three Ring Circle.
  • 2009, released Slide City album (Rounder).
  • 2009, released Road Song album (ResoRevolution).
  • 2013, won his 15th IBMA Award for Dobro™ Player of the Year. He also won in 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012.
  • 2013, formed a duo with singer/guitarist Trey Hensley.
  • 2014, released an album with Dobro™ masters Jerry Douglas and Mike Auldridge (now deceased) called Three Bells (Rounder).
  • 2015, released Before the Sun Goes Down album with Trey Hensley (Compass Records). It was nominated for a Grammy Award (2016) in the Bluegrass category.
  • 2015, he announced his departure from Blue Highway (after 20 years).

Val, Joe


  • From New England. Was born in Everett, Massachusetts.
  • Real name: Joseph Valiante. His last name was shortened to Val by fiddler Tex Logan.
  • An influential mandolin player and tenor singer in the New England area.
  • 1950’s, performed with the Radio Rangers and the Lilly Brothers.
  • 1960’s, worked with Bill Keith, Jim Rooney, Breakfast Special, and the Charles River Valley Boys, a group that became well-known after recording an album for Elektra called “Beatle Country”featuring bluegrass arrangements of songs by the Beatles.
  • 1969, formed The New England Bluegrass Boys and recorded five albums for Rounder.
  • He had a full-time day job as a typewriter repairman.
  • Died in 1985. Was posthumously presented with the IBMA’s Distinguished Achievement Award that same year.
  • 1986, a concert series (and later a bluegrass festival) was named in his honor.
  • 2018, was inducted into the Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame.


Playing On The Planet


  • From Ducktown, Tennessee.
  • Formed in 2003 under the name Ducktown Station.
  • Their music is described as “Cosmic Rockin’ Boogie Grass.”
  • Their original music has been featured on NBC Sports, PBS “Roadtrip Nation” , FOX Sports, Versus Television, and several movie soundtracks.
  • Members include Lisa Jacobi (fiddle, mandolin, flat-pick guitar, bass), Pete Dasher (resonator guitar), JRod (Jarrod) Payne (banjo, guitar) and Denny Mixon (bass, guitar).
  • 2005, released first album “Tennessee Twister” produced by Harry Stinson.
  • 2006 changed their band name to Steel String Session.
  • 2009 released their second album “Ocoee Road” produced by Harry Stinson.
  • 2012 at the suggestion of Sam Bush, changed band name to Playing On The Planet.
  • 2014, released third album Bangor Bound (no label) produced by Lisa Jacobi and Ben Surratt.


Ducktown Station


  • From Ducktown, Tennessee.
  • Formed in 2003.
  • Band members: Lisa Jacobi (fiddle, mandolin, guitar, bass), Pete Dasher (resonator guitar), Jarrod (J-Rod) Payne ( banjo, guitar), Denny Mixonn (bass, guitar).
  • They describe their music as Cosmic Rockin’ Boogie Grass.
  • Their original music is currently featured on NBC Sports, PBS “Roadtrip Nation” , FOX Sports, Versus Television, as well as several movie and DVD soundtracks.
  • They have performed in Europe and are popular on the alternative, hippie-esque festival circuit.
  • 2005 released first Album “Tennessee Twister” produced by Harry Stinson.
  • 2006 changed their band name to Steel String Session.
  • 2009 released their second album “Ocoee Road” produced by Harry Stinson.
  • 2012 at the suggestion of Sam Bush, the band changed their name to Playing On The Planet.
  • 2014, released third album “Bangor Bound.”