The Reader’s Music List
This page will kick off a list of my favorite music artists. Most of these will be from bluegrass or traditional genres, but as anyone who follows my FaceBook “Song of the Day” knows, it will not be limited to these. Our IPOD will six weeks non-stop and never repeat a song, and it doesn’t even include all the old LPs and cassettes we have yet to download.
I’m gonna start with the artists I know the best. My list will include both the famous and the unknown, but they are all first-rate. Most will be national bands, but I’ll also include some talented regional musicians I’ve run into in my travels and liked.
Feel free to add in your choices in the comments. Other than asking you not post work that is obscene (my Mom reads my blog) please feel free to document any artist you choose without restrictions. I don’t believe in telling other people what music they should listen to, and I like to stretch my boundaries with new sounds too.
Darin and Brooke Aldridge. www.darinandbrookealdridge.com. I’m sure you are not surprised the Sweethearts of Bluegrass top my list. I’ve known Darin since he was a teenager, and he is as close as a family member. Darin is a fine singer, bandleader, and the most talented multi-instrumentalist I’ve ever known, and I’ll put Brooke’s vocals up with any female singer on the planet. One veteran Carolinas rock ‘n roller heard her and said, “Doc, that girl can out-sing anyone I ever heard in any genre.”
Wayne and Kristin Scott Benson. The first family of bluegrass. If Darin is my bluegrass young’un, Wayne is my mandolin little brother. He was a big influence on Darin’s mandolin playing too. Wayne plays with Russell Moore and III Tyme Out. His wife, Kristin Scott Benson is the IBMA three-time banjo player of the year, and plays with the Grascals.
Wayne Taylor and Appaloosa. Wayne retired from a career in the Navy, where he was the lead singer and guitarist with the Navy Band Country Current. I love this guy’s vocals. If I could wake up as a singer in the morning, I’d want to sound like Wayne Taylor. His mando man, Emory Lester is a genius player; one of the best in the world.
Paul Williams and The Victory Trio. Mr. Williams is not a young man, but he still sings with the most clear distinctive tenor I’ve ever heard, and is also a fine mandolinist. Some of the finest gospel singing around.
The Harris Brothers. You ain’t lived till you’ve heard Reggie on the slide, Ryan wail the blues, and the back-beat of the electric suitcase.
Balsam Range. If you’re in Asheville, N.C. check ’em out at the Fiddling Pig restaurant. They’re out on the festival circuit, too. A great blend of the old and the new.
Alan Bibey. “Cuz” plays with a group called Grasstowne, and is one of my favorite bluegrass mandolinists in the world. In fact, he was World Champion at the Knoxville World’s Fair in 1982 when he was just thirteen. Once a player, always a player.