Nov. 17, 18, 19, 2022
Gatlinburg Convention Center - W.L. Mills Auditorium
234 Historic Nature Trail, Gatlinburg, TN

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Larry Sparks and Lonesome Ramblers

Friday, November 18

Blessed with what many consider the most soulful, expressive voice in bluegrass and gospel music, Larry Sparks is among the most widely known and respected touring musicians of today. With over 60 albums to his credit, Larry has been delighting countless fans worldwide for over 50 years.

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  113 Hits

Mountain Highway

Saturday, November 19, 2022

With a style all their own, Mountain Highway® is an authentic young family band steeped in traditional bluegrass and gospel music originally made famous by icons like Bill Monroe, Flatt & Scruggs, and Ralph Stanley. The band is comprised of four sibling singers who play banjo, fiddle, mandolin, and guitar, and their father playing upright bass. The group is often heralded for its tight family harmony.

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  149 Hits

The Birth of Bluegrass Music: Flatt n Scruggs Join the Bluegrass Boys

As mentioned in part one, The Origins of Bluegrass Music: A True-grass History, Bill Monroe’s Bluegrass Boys were still, more or less, just a good ole’ hillbilly string band when they joined the Grand Ole Opry in 1939.

At the time, they had not yet added a banjo player. They were still just a bunch of good ole’ country biscuits, sans the fried chicken.

In 1943, Bill Monroe hired David ’Stringbean’ Akeman to play the banjo. While this added the last element to what would be the classic ‘bluegrass’ instrumentation, there was still an element missing.

Stringbean played the banjo with the traditional ‘claw and hammer’ technique: the thumb and middle finger alternating between plucking and strumming. The style lent itself more to background rhythm and not to lead playing.

In 1945 Lester Flatt joined the Bluegrass Boys as guitarist and lead singer. Soon after, Stringbean left the band. Monroe began looking for a replacement, but Lester wasn’t all that eager to find one. He was convinced the claw n hammer players just couldn’t keep up with the lightning pace of many of their songs. “They all sound like Akeman!” he complained to Monroe.

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  153 Hits

The Origins of Bluegrass Music: A True-grass History

Like biscuits and fried chicken on Sunday afternoon, there were magical moments in the origins of bluegrass music, when two great things came together.

A Fateful Night
Such was the occasion when sometime around 1926 or ’27, a teenager named Bill Monroe was afforded the opportunity to play with Arnold Shultz for a local barn dance in Rosine, Kentucky.

“One time they [Arnold and his family] was up around Rosine, and they [the townsfolk] wanted us to play for a square dance there, so Arnold played the fiddle and I played the guitar.”— Bill Monroe

Arnold Shultz: Traveling Bluesman
Arnold Shultz was a black, old-time, blues, and ragtime musician from Ohio County, Kentucky. He and his family were coal and dock laborers who traveled all over the South looking for work. Wherever they went they brought their music along.

Arnold was well known for his innovative guitar picking style, in which he played rhythm, bass, and melody by thumbing the bass strings while picking the other notes with his other fingers. He was a major influence for players like Kennedy Jones, who first saw Arnold play back in 1918. Jones then taught the style to other guitar players, who in turn influenced the great Merle Travis.

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  164 Hits

Dean Osborne

Saturday, November 19, 2022

Kentucky-born, Dean Osborne began his music career at age five, learning to play the piano from his father. While attending a concert by his cousins, Grand Ole Opry stars, the Osborne Brothers, Dean fell in love with Bluegrass music. At age fourteen he got his first banjo, a Hondo II. In 1980, Dean graduated from his Hondo II to a 1979 GibsonMastertone and formed his first band, the “Thousandsticks Express”.

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  118 Hits

Deeper Shade of Blue

Saturday, November 19, 2022

North Carolina can once again be credited for producing great bluegrass. Hailing from just east of Charlotte, Deeper Shade of Blue is comprised of Troy Pope (guitar/vocals), Jason Fraley (mandolin/vocals), Frank Poindexter (dobro/vocals), Steve Wilson (banjo), and Scott Burgess (bass/vocals).

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  101 Hits

Caroline and Company

Saturday, November 19, 2022

Caroline Owens is a multi-instrumentalist, award-winning singer, songwriter from Denton, North Carolina, and has quickly made quite a name for herself within the bluegrass community. Her amazing voice has won her invitations to perform alongside many of her heroes such as Alison Krauss, The Isaacs, Suzanne Cox, Larry Gatlin, Darin and Brooke Aldridge, and Lorraine Jordan.

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  140 Hits

Larry Efaw & Bluegrass Mountaineers

Friday, November 18, 2022

Larry Efaw is all about tradition. Accomplished on both mandolin and guitar, started playing at the age of 7. During his long musical career, he has performed as a guest with Dailey & Vincent, Rhonda Vincent, Dr. Ralph Stanley, Doyle Lawson, Bill Monroe, Jimmy Martin, Del McCoury, Lewis Family, and GoldWing Express just to mention a few.

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  122 Hits

Praire Wildfire

Thursday, November 17, 2022

Prairie Wildfire, formed in 2015, is an all-female band from Buffalo, Wyoming, offering a blend of bluegrass, country, and gospel. With vocalist Sage Palser on mandolin, vocalist Morgan Blaney on bass, and vocalist Tessa Taylor on banjo, these dynamos have honed their harmonies, filled out their sound with original instrumentation, and written many of their own tunes.

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  99 Hits

Williamson Branch

Thursday, November 17, 2022

Nashville-based, Pinecastle Records artist, Williamson Branch, brings energy, a high steppin’ show that features a fine-tuned variety of bluegrass, gospel, and country music, accentuated by world-class Appalachian clog dancing. When it comes to music, there’s a closeness among family members that cannot be overstated.

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  92 Hits

Lorraine Jordan & Carolina Road

Thursday and Friday, November 17-18, 2022

Lorraine Jordan & Carolina Road have combined masterful musicianship and a creative sound to entertain audiences in 48 states and 13 countries while scoring multiple hits, industry accolades, and collaborations with other legendary artists.

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  95 Hits

Harbortown

Saturday, November 19, 2022

Harbourtown has been pleasing audiences since the early 1970s and wowing crowds throughout the Midwest and beyond.  With heartfelt ballads to foot-stomping banjo tunes, the band has taken their own blend of traditional, contemporary, and original bluegrass to some of the best festivals in the country. 

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  72 Hits

Joe Mullins and the Radio Ramblers

Friday, November 18, 2022

Joe Mullins is in demand, and deservedly so. He and his band, The Radio Ramblers, are in the upper echelon of touring bluegrass bands and, as the saying goes, “they did it the old-fashioned way…they earned it!” Joe is not only an accomplished and award-winning musician, he is also a successful broadcaster, event producer, educator, and entrepreneur. To say Joe Mullins is an industry leader would be at the very least an understatement.

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  72 Hits

The Family Sowell

Saturday, November 19, 2022

A rewarding part of putting on Bluegrass Christmas in the Smokies is presenting new acts to our audience, and here’s one we know you’re going to enjoy. The Family Sowell is an all-sibling, contemporary bluegrass band from Knoxville, Tennessee, featuring driving instrumentation, tight family harmony, and original songs written straight from the heart.

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  73 Hits

The King James Boys

Friday, November 18, 2022

No Bluegrass Christmas in the Smokies festival would be complete without the strong presence of soul-stirring gospel music. When deciding which of many excellent possible groups that might be, The King James Boys routinely topped the list of candidates.  Founded in 1994, The King James Boys started solely as a group that only sang at their church with no intentions of traveling.

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  83 Hits

Fast Track

Friday, November 18, 2022

Q. What do you call a 2-year-old band with 200 years of professional experience? A. Fast Track, bluegrass music’s latest “supergroup”. Steve Day, Duane Sparks, Dale Perry, Ron Spears, and Shayne Bartley have been prominent former members of some of the finest bands in bluegrass.

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  97 Hits

Nick Chandler and Delivered

Saturday, November 19

Western North Carolina has produced some of the best bluegrass musicians on earth. Count mandolin phenom, Nick Chandler, among them. He and his band, Delivered, play it the way fans of traditional bluegrass like to hear it … hard-driving and straight from the heart.

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  77 Hits

Nothin' Fancy

Saturday, November 19, 2022

Miracles appear in the strangest of places. And so, it was when a group of friends decided to enter a bluegrass band competition back in 1994. What started 28 years ago as an afternoon of fun turned into one of the most endeared and entertaining franchises in bluegrass music… Nothin’ Fancy.

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  68 Hits

Larry Stephenson Band

Saturday, November 19, 2022

Virginia native, Larry Stephenson, is widely recognized as possessing one of the purest high lead and tenor voices in bluegrass music. Larry’s career has been marked with undeniable growth since his father first placed a mandolin in his hand at the age of five.

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  65 Hits

Ralph Stanley II & the Clinch Mountain Boys

Thursday, November 17, 2022

Being the son of a legend isn’t exactly easy - there are big shoes to fill and high expectations to be met. But if torches must be passed and legacies maintained, Ralph Stanley, the elder, must be mighty proud of his son because, since his father’s death, Ralph II has no doubt met, and exceeded his father’s wish to carry on the Clinch Mountain style of music, now in its 76th year.

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  78 Hits

For tickets
Call Krissy at 919-609-6740 Mon-Fri 3:30 pm till 6 pm (leave a message anytime) or use the contact form here. 
You may also buy directly from here. 
For additional information call 919-779-5672 Ext 1

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Bus Tour to Gatlinburg, TN
Hotel with breakfast, bus ride festival night shows and tours.

Call Paula 919-291-1115 or email Southerntravelnc@gmail.com