'The Sweethearts of Bluegrass'
Bluegrass has deep roots in western North Carolina.
In 1945, fiddler Jim Shumate, from Wilkes County, introduced Earl Scruggs to Bill Monroe, the father of bluegrass.
Scruggs, from Cleveland County, was the first banjo player to popularize three-finger (bluegrass) style of playing.
George Shuffler, from Burke County, was the first to play the guitar as a lead instrument in bluegrass music. Shuffler played with Carter and Ralph Stanley, The Stanley Brothers.
And, of course, Watauga County’s own Doc Watson popularized the guitar in bluegrass, and he also expanded the boundaries of traditional, roots music.
It’s a rich history, and the tradition continues.
This Saturday night, Oct. 20, Mountain Home Music will share a part of this musical history on its presentation of “Blue Ridge Bluegrass,” featuring Darin and Brooke Aldridge, known as “The Sweethearts of Bluegrass,” an act that stays near the top of bluegrass musical charts.
Their most recent album, “So Much in Between,” is now No. 3 on bluegrass charts, and this past summer they were the most played bluegrass artists on Sirius/XM radio.
The Darin and Brooke Aldridge Band includes Darin and Brooke Aldridge, Rachel Johnson Boyd, Dwayne Anderson, Colin Willis and Matt Love.
“Although he’s still relatively young, Darin Aldridge is a cross-generational player,” said Joe Shannon, founder and host of Mountain Home Music. “He played in the legendary group, The Country Gentleman, and he’s had stints with Mac Wiseman, Blue Highway, The Isaacs and others. He first appeared on Mountain Home Music as a member of the Circuit Riders.”
Brooke Aldridge, from Avery County, grew up singing bluegrass standards and gospel music.
They married in 2008, and their music has garnered national attention. In 2011, they were nominated as the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) Emerging Artist of the Year, and their self-titled album, “Darin & Brooke Aldridge,” propelled them into the top five on bluegrass, Americana and gospel music charts.
Fiddler Rachel Love Johnson is from Bristol, Tenn.; bassist Dwayne Anderson is from Johnson City, Tenn.; dobro player Colin Willis is from Chesnee, S.C.; and banjo player Matt Love is from Stanfield. Darin Aldridge is a multi-instrumentalist, and Brooke Aldridge plays mandolin. They currently reside in Cherryville.
The concert, “Blue Ridge Bluegrass,” will be at the Blowing Rock School Auditorium on Sunset Drive in downtown Blowing Rock. Starting time is 8 p.m.
Tickets are $15 in advance and $18 at the door. Student tickets are $10, and children’s tickets cost $5.
Tickets may be purchased at Mast Gneral Store (Boone and Valle Crucis), Fred’s General Mercantile on Beech Mountain, Kudzu Music in Boone and at Pandora’s Mailbox and the Dulcimer Shop, both in the Martin House on Main Street in downtown Blowing Rock.
Tickets may also be purchased online though the Mountain Home Music website, http://www.mountainhomemusic.com. For more information, visit the website or call (828) 964-3392.
The purpose of Mountain Home Music is to honor the music and the musicians of the Appalachian region. Mountain Home Music is affiliated with the Blue Ridge Music Trails, a project of the North Carolina Arts Council.