Seldom Scene Hits Sunrise Thursday
Every bluegrass aficionado -- and there are a quadrillion of them -- has his or her hierarchy of players and bands.
Bill Monroe and the Bluegrass Boys, Bela Fleck, Railroad Earth, Del McCoury, Ricky Skaggs, etc. -- mention a bluegrass moniker, and you'll get an argument. But traditionalists, new grassers, old-timey purists, whatever, they're all likely to agree that The Seldom Scene is one of the flat-out best bluegrass bands ever.
Even if you have an inexplicable aversion to the genuine article, you'll likely find The Scene's brand of bluegrass utterly endearing. Visit seldomscene.com and listen carefully. You'll be compelled to pick up a ticket or two for The Scene's concert at the Sunrise Theater on Thursday, Oct. 2, at 7:30.
Formed in 1971 in Bethesda, Md., The Seldom Scene was formed from friendly jam sessions in banjo player Ben Eldridge's basement. Those long- ago sessions included guitarist John Starling on lead vocals, Mike Auldridge on guitar and vocals, bassist Tom Gray, and of course, Ben Eldridge. Mandolinist Joe Duffey who had been an original member of the Country Gentlemen, joined the group after Starling talked him into giving the old music another heartfelt try.
In their early days, The Seldom Scene took progressive bluegrass to new heights and developed a hard-core following that has never waned, even through numerous personnel changes.
One of the founding members, banjo player Ben Eldridge has been with The Seldom Scene since its inception and still performs with the enthusiasm that characterized the band's early days.
Dudley Connell plays a masterful guitar and provides powerful lead vocals for The Scene, which has a reputation for challenging the bounds of Bluegrass. Connell's musical virtuosity has pushed the group beyond these bounds.
Audiences delight in Connell's renditions of traditional songs like "Old Train," folk ballads such as "Blue Diamond Mine," and blues songs like "Rollin' and Tumblin'." Connell is a former member of The Johnson Mountain Boys.
Playing dobro for The Scene is one of the most respected dobro players on the bluegrass circuit today, Fred Travers. He is also an accomplished vocalist who brings solid lead and harmony to The Scene's vocals. Travers is a former member of the Gary Ferguson Band and the Paul Adkins Band. Travers is beloved for his vocals on Seldom Scene favorite's "Walk Through This World With Me," and "From This Moment On."
Ronnie Simpkins plays rock-steady bass for the group and provides the bass vocals in The Scene's quartets as well. Simpkins has been performing Bluegrass music since childhood and is a former member of The Tony Rice Unit.
Lou Reid plays mandolin and provides the tenor vocals. He is a former member of Ricky Skaggs Band, Quicksilver, and he currently fronts his own group Carolina. On lead, or when providing harmony, Reid's vocals are the epitome of the powerful, "high, lonesome" tenor that is the signature of Bluegrass music.
All seats are reserved. Tickets are $35 and are available at the Sunrise Theater, The Country Bookshop, and Nature's Own, all in Southern Pines.
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