Darin Aldridge/Brooke Justice Quintet

        Someone recommend a new little festival to us called “The Coot Williams Road Bluegrass Festival” so Marfar and I decided to take it in.  It sounded like just like the kind of event we like- small, family owned and family oriented; a quaint reminder of simpler times.

        It was all that and more.  When I go to a new festival, I check out the chow first thing, and I could smell the hamburgers on the grill when I opened the car door.  Excellent country cooking.  A nice spot in the country, the thoughtful touch of a big shade tent, a great sound system, wonderful regional talent, and a couple headliners like the reliable pro Rhonda Vincent insured a memorable day.

        The big surprise to the crowd was the emergence of a new group to the circuit, the Darin Aldridge/Brooke Justice Quintet.  They weren’t but a song into their set, and I began to make cell phone calls to folks to spread the news.  I noticed others doing the same, and veteran bands gathered around backstage to catch the set, a sure indication of a group that is gonna make an impact.

        As a group they are new to the bluegrass tour, but they are far from neophytes to the industry.  Darin Aldridge played mandolin and sang tenor for Charlie Waller and Country Gentlemen (Fox on the Run fame) for seven years, and has been on tour with the Circuit Riders for the last few years.  He is a seasoned pro, and a meticulous bandleader who insists on quality.  Brook has sung the gospel for years, and she and Darin have played churches over the Southeast for the last couple of years before embarking on this tour.

        The band members have been around too.  Chris Bryant, (banjo) Eddie Biggerstaff, (bass) and Perry Woodie (dobro) have played in national level groups such as the Gentlemen and Blue Ridge for years.

        I was not the only observer of the scene who saw the potential. There were a number of industry insiders there, and the opinion was unanimous- this is the best new group any of us have heard in some time.

        Brooke is a powerful singer, and when she and Darin sang their duets, the hair stood up on the back of my neck, and tears began to well.  The picking was perfect, too.  Darin might be the premier multi-instrumentalist in the Carolinas- he sure gets my vote.  He is that good.  For those of you who have the mistaken notion bluegrass music is just a bunch of old gray haired guys (like me) and is played of of tune and time and sung by marginal singers, I hope you will give a group like this a listen before you make any final judgments.  To my ear, their acoustic music is as fine as played on Planet Earth today.  Trust ole Dr. B- as you listen, it’ll take your troubles away if but for a moment.  For me, that is what music is all about, and no one plays it better than these two young people.

        They have a new Gospel CD out on the Pinecastle label titled, “I’ll Go With You.”  Their official CD release party is tonight at the First Baptist Church in Cherryville, N.C.  We had to go back home last night.  I had prior commitments and don’t see how I can get back over that way tonight, but if you live in that area, and have not heard these guys, go.  Check them out on their myspace page or if they perform in your area.  I give them my highest bluegrass recommendation.

Dr. B

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6 Comments on “Darin Aldridge/Brooke Justice Quintet”

  1. Parson Bob Says:

    We’ll have to get the Professor on this one! Thanks for the heads up…

  2. drtombibey Says:

    Parson Bob,

    I sent him a shout. Their gospel project is a real head turner, and I believe it will see national chart play.

    Cindy Baucom of Knee Deep in Bluegrass, a nationally syndicated bluegrass radio show, told me she loved it.

    Dr. B

  3. Ted Lehmann Says:

    Irene and I have heard Darrin and Brooke twice. We first saw them do a gospel set at a small Baptist church in the Piedmont. Darrin was no surprise, as we had seen him before, and we knew Eddie Biggerstaff from his years with Alan Bibey’s great band Blueridge (nota bene: Alan Bibey is Dr. Bibey’s sixth cousin onct removed on his mother’s side). In addition to being a powerful bass player, Biggerstaff’s high lonesome tenor adds depth and dash to any band he’s in. The real surprise was Miss Justice. Brooke is a slight wisp of a thing whose bearing expresses her shy personality. And then she opens those pipes. She has a strong, pure, straight up singing voice that is a superb solo instrument and blends beautifully with Aldridge’s light tenor voice. Because this was in a church setting, the congregation did not stand up and scream but they were received well. A couple of weeks later Brooke joined Darrin’s other group The Circuit Riders (note to Dr. B – The Circuit Riders are worth a piece, too, next time you see them.) for several songs in their Sunday morning gospel set at the Creekside State at Merlefest. She was very well received and, I hope, grew in confidence as a result of this fine performance. Both are fine young people as well as terrific musicians. – Professor

  4. drtombibey Says:

    Ted,

    As always, the English Professor is right on.

    I know if they make a tour up your way, you will show them some Northern Hospitality.

    Dr. B

  5. Debbie James Says:

    I enjoyed working with them at Art of Sound last year. Darin has always been a favorite (along with others in the band) and now, with the addition of Brooke’s awesome vocals…….I try to hear them “live” when I can. I wish them good things in their future.

  6. drtombibey Says:

    Ms. Debbie,

    Thanks for checking in. Darin and Brooke are talented for sure, and I love their CD.

    I have a seen a Debbie James at bluegrass shows who is a very fine emcee. Is this THE Debbie James?

    Dr. B


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