Saturday, May 14th 2016, at 7:30 p.m., the Carter Family Fold in Hiltons, Virginia, will present a concert by Big Country Bluegrass. Big Country Bluegrass was formed by husband and wife Tommy and Teresa Sells in the late 1980s and took its’ name from Tommy’s coon-hunting buddy Jimmy Martin’s instrumental Big Country. The group delivers their own hard driving and heartfelt style of bluegrass music, and it makes them crowd favorites wherever they perform. Whether it’s at a festival in Missouri, on the stage of the Grand Ole Opry, or at a small, intimate concert in their hometown of Independence, Virginia, the band brings back memories reminiscent of the early days of bluegrass music.
All the band’s members live in and around the Virginia/Carolina Blue Ridge, and their music reflects much of the deep musical heritage found in this region which is at the heart of the Crooked Road Music Trail. Tommy Sells plays mandolin and handles most of the emcee work. Teresa Sells plays rhythm guitar and sings lead and high harmony vocals. Eddie Gill handles most of the distinctive lead vocals and also plays the guitar. Lynnwood Lunsford, a former member of both the Lost and Found and Jimmy Martin’s Sunny Mountain Boys, plays banjo and sings harmony for the group. Tony King plays upright bass for the group. Bluegrass veteran Tim Laughlin of Bristol, Tennessee, plays fiddle and sings harmony with the band.
Big Country Bluegrass plays music that has become known to many as Galax or Mt. Airy style bluegrass. It is straight ahead, hard edged bluegrass with no frills. The rhythm and timing are solid, the instrumental work is clean and tasteful, and the vocals are from the heart.
The band has released over a dozen albums and CDs over the years. The recent success of Big Country Bluegrass on the bluegrass charts has helped spread the word about their traditional sound. Their last Rebel recording, Memories of the Past, and its’ title cut I’m Putting on My Leaving Shoes, has garnered the prestigious # 1 spot on the Bluegrass Unlimited air-play chart. The band’d latest Rebel Records release Country Livin’ is available through their website or at the show. For more information on the band, go to www.BigCountryBluegrass.com.
If you love to dance or if you prefer just listening, Big Country Bluegrass won’t disappoint. In fact, the band has become a favorite of Fold audiences. For some of the best traditional bluegrass music the region has to offer, don’t miss them at the Carter Family Fold! Admission to the concert is $10 for adults, $1 for children 6 to 11, under age 6 free.
Carter Family Memorial Music Center, Incorporated, is a nonprofit, rural arts organization established to preserve traditional, acoustic, mountain music. For further information on the center, go to http://www.carterfamilyfold.org. Shows from the Carter Family Fold can be accessed on the internet at http://www.carterfoldshow.com.
Partial funding for programs at the center is provided by the Virginia Commission for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts. For recorded information on shows coming up at the Fold, call 276-386-6054. The Fold is on Facebook – page Carter Fold – and Twitter – @carterfoldinfo.