Purchase your tickets Now! On-line from the Martin Hotel
The James King Bluegrass Band
7:00 PM Friday, March 30, 2012
From the moment you first hear his voice, you know you are hearing bluegrass the way it was meant to be sung. James King sings bluegrass as only a handful of others before him – Carter Stanley, Red Allen, Del McCoury – ever have. Bluegrass Unlimited has called him “the most impressive lead vocalist to emerge in traditional bluegrass this decade”.
James King – Guitar, Vocals
Donald Dowdy – Mandolin, Tenor Vocals
Clay Lillard – Banjo, Vocals
Eddie Biggerstaff – Upright Bass, Vocals
The James King Band has been entertaining now for over 14 years and has been taking people by storm with their style of traditional bluegrass music. Whether it be a James King Signature ballad or a good ole foot stomper, James and the band really know how to make a crowd respond to their style and show. They get the crowd into their music and show in every form. The James King Band is based around the soulful sounds of James King’s lead vocals.
Although James King was largely unknown until his smash 1993 Rounder debut, “These Old Pictures”, King has been around the music all of his entire life. He was born near the very heart of Bluegrass Country in the town of Martinsville, VA. After a stint in the Marines, King began to pursue his musical career in earnest in 1979. In the mid-1980s, King recorded two albums along with Ralph Stanley and his band for Webco Records, “Stanley Brothers Classics” and “Reunion”, which were followed by his debut with his own band, 1988’s James King Sings “Cold, Cold World.” But it wasn’t until he decided to work on a project with Johnson Mountain Boys’ Vocalist Dudley Connell that he found his true voice, on what Bluegrass Unlimited dubbed “the breakthrough album of the year.” King’s startling power and emotional purity in his voice led to great reviews, live performances from coast to coast, and a 1995 IBMA nomination for emerging Artist of the Year. James won the honor of being the 1997 IBMA Emerging Artist of the Year and the 1998 SPBGMA Traditional Male Vocalist of the Year.
Donald Dowdy was born April, 1987, and is the son of Victor Dowdy of the Bluegrass Brothers. He started playing mandolin at the age of 7. In addition to the James King Band, Donald has worked for such bands as Southern Comfort, The Locust Mtn. Boys, and the Bluegrass Brothers. When not traveling with the James King Band, Donald enjoys hunting, fishing, and spending time with his seven month old son, Breyden James Dowdy. Donald wishes to thank his family and friends for their support, and the ‘Master of All’, our Lord Jesus Christ for his talent.
Clay Lillard, of Cascade, Virginia, started playing banjo at the age of 12. He won first place banjo at Wayside Park Fiddlers Convention in 2006, at the age of 15. He has several influences on banjo, including his father Steve Lillard, who passed away nine years ago June. Clay spends most of his off- time picking and learning ‘new’ sounds of the traditional banjo.
Playing bass for the James King Band is Eddie Biggerstaff. Eddie is from Cleveland County N.C. and now living in Waco N.C. Eddie grew up singing in church with his father and grandfather in a quartet and knew early on he had a gift of singing. He went on to becoming involved in many regional bands such as Brushy Creek and Carolina Crossfire. Eddie has spent the last seven years with the band Blueridge, touring the U.S. and Canada. Eddie has been up for Bass playing of the year twice by SPBGMA in Nashville T.N., and in 2006, the recording Getting Ready was nominated by the IBMA for Gospel recording of the year. Eddie’s resume also includes Rambler’s Choice, Larry Rice, and working with the great mandolin player Herschel Sizemore. He was asked to play bass at the Roanoke Bluegrass Weekend concert, which features most of the elite in bluegrass music today. Eddie is a seasoned professional who adds energy and a distinctive edge to the band.
James King may be the greatest “mountain soul” singer of his generation, bringing a deep understanding of the hardcore bluegrass tradition to his hard-driving blend of bluegrass and honky-tonk country music. “Thirty Years of Farming”, his latest release on Rounder, is a fresh collection of overlooked treasures and classics-to-be, each infused with the raw emotion that has come to be his trademark. Here is one of the most exciting sounds in bluegrass today.