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Legendary Bluegrass Artists Honor “Father of Bluegrass” Bill Monroe Nov 29

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Bill MonroeLegendary bluegrass artists Peter Rowan, Tony Rice and The Travelin' McCourys pay homage to the undisputed “Father of Bluegrass” Bill Monroe. Few artists can claim to have created a genre all their own, but Kentucky-born musician Bill Monroe (Sep. 13, 1911 – Sep. 9, 1996) did exactly that when he added North Carolina banjo prodigy Earl Scruggs to his traditional stringband in 1945. Known as the Blue Grass Boys, Monroe and Scruggs, alongside singer/guitarist Lester Flatt, fiddler Chubby Wise and bassist Howard Watts, forged new ground, not only creating an entirely unique genre of American music, but forever changing the course of American rock-and-roll with one of their most famous songs, “Blue Moon of Kentucky” - an early hit for an up-and-coming young musician named Elvis Presley.

More than a century after his birth on a small farm in Kentucky, Monroe's music remains the canon for traditional bluegrass masters and the inspiration for generations of bluegrass-inspired musicians.

In 1965, a young Peter Rowan joined Bill Monroe & The Blue Grass Boys, recording fourteen songs with Monroe before leaving the band in 1967. Peter went on to become a Grammy-award winner and six-time Grammy nominee with a career spanning over five decades. From his early years playing under the tutelage of bluegrass patriarch Bill Monroe, and following his stint in Old & In the Way with Jerry Garcia and subsequent breakout as both a solo performer and bandleader, Rowan has built a devoted, international fan base through his continuous stream of original recordings, collaborative projects, and constant touring.

Tony Rice, a veteran of Bluegrass Alliance, J.D. Crowe’s New South, the David Grisman Quintet, the Tony Rice Unit, the Bluegrass Album Band, the Rice Brothers and Rice, Rice, Hillman and Pedersen, is arguably the finest flat-picking guitarist of all times. With his signature subtle touch, beautiful tone, amazing speed and imaginative phrasing, Rice has inspired guitarists far and wide for decades, as both a peerless lead player and the quintessential rhythm player. His inventive syncopation encompasses many acoustic music genres in addition to bluegrass, including jazz, blues, classical, folk, and swing, as is evident in his numerous solo and collaborative recordings. Revered as perhaps the single most important bluegrass guitarist alive, Rice has recently revived the illustrious Tony Rice Unit to craft the non-traditional, jazz-tinged “spacegrass” with which he is identified.

The Travelin’ McCourys do not stand still. They are on the road entertaining audiences with live shows that include some of the best musicians and singers from all genres. It’s always different, always exciting, and always great music. No other band today has the same credentials for playing traditional and progressive music. As the sons of bluegrass legend Del McCoury, Ronnie McCoury on mandolin and Rob McCoury on banjo continue their father’s work—a lifelong dedication to the power of bluegrass music to bring joy into people’s lives. And with fiddler Jason Carter and bassist Alan Bartram, the ensemble is loved and respected by the bluegrass faithful. But the band is now combining their sound with others to make something fresh and rejuvenating.

Tickets are $35 (Reserved Seating A); $25 (Reserved Seating B); and free for UNCW students with a valid ID*. For tickets and information call or visit the Kenan Auditorium Box Office, Monday - Friday, noon - 6 p.m. (910) 962-3500 or (800) 732-3643. UNCW student tickets must be purchased in person at the box office and are subject to availability; limit one per student; valid photo id required at time of purchase and upon entry to the performance.

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