Bill Monroe, the revered Father of Bluegrass, considered his Bluegrass Boys band a training ground for musicians, and the lengthy list of the artists who performed in it comprises a Who’s Who of bluegrass musicians. This concert brings together musicians who shared the road and the stage with Monroe for a celebration of his enduring body of music. Banjoist Butch Robins, fiddler Billy Baker, and bassist Doug Hutchens hail from Southwest Virginia. They will be joined by Ohio guitarist Tom Ewing, Illinois fiddler Robert Bowlin, and mandolinist Mike Compton of the Nashville Bluegrass Band, whose intimate understanding of the Monroe style completes the ensemble.
Pre-concert activities include a 5:30 pm presentation on Bill Monroe by guitarist Tom Ewing based on his recently published book Bill Monroe: The Life and Music of The Blue Grass Man. At 6:00 pm, the artists will gather on stage to share stories of their time helping Monroe create bluegrass music. Franklin County JAM will perform from 6:45 to 7:15 pm.
The Harvester Performance Center has been a transformative venue in downtown Rocky Mount, bringing in visitors from near and far to enjoy some of the finest musical entertainment year round. The venue is known for its outstanding acoustics and is a venue sought after by top bill artists who have heard about it from other artists
ABOUT BILL MONROE AND THE ARTISTS
Bill Monroe was nicknamed “the Father of Bluegrass” for his pioneering role in the development of the bluegrass style and repertoire. Not only did Monroe front the band in which the bluegrass sound evolved but he also created much of the material—songs like “Blue Moon of Kentucky” and “Uncle Pen” and tunes like “Big Mon” and “Jerusalem Ridge”—that musicians have performed ever since the rise of bluegrass in the 1940s. Monroe began his musical career in the 1930s, playing in the country brother duo the Monroe Brothers (alongside his brother Charlie). Accordingly, Bill Monroe was inducted into both the International Bluegrass Music Association Hall of Fame (in 1991) and the Country Music Hall of Fame (in 1970). He was also selected to receive the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award (in 1993) and the National Medal of Arts (in 1995). Monroe’s band, tagged with the name “the Blue Grass Boys,” was constantly changing (the only constant in the band was the mandolinist—Monroe), and over 150 musicians performed as Blue Grass Boys during the band’s many decades of touring and recording. In celebrating the Monroe legacy, Mountains of Music Homecoming draws together five former Blue Grass Boys: fiddlers Billy Baker and Robert Bowlin, guitarist/vocalist Tom Ewing, banjoist Butch Robins, and bassist Doug Hutchens. Also appearing in this Monroe tribute concert will be Mike Compton, who will fill in on mandolin for the master musician who mentored him.
The Crooked Road’s Mountains of Music Homecoming is made possible by the Appalachian Regional Commission, National Endowment for the Arts, VA Dept of Housing & Economic Development, Virginia Tobacco Commission, Virginia Tourism Corporation, Blue Ridge Beverage, Food City, Virginia Commission for the Arts, David and Judie Reemsnyder, Dominion Energy, McGuireWoods, LLC., Virginia State Parks and other generous supporters. For the deaf and hard of hearing community, signing interpretation services can be made available if requested at least 21 days in advance of the concert. For requests received less than 21 days prior to the concert, every effort will be made for accommodations, but interpretation services are not guaranteed. To request services or for more information contact The Crooked Road office by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 276-492-2409.