Six men are clustered center stage at the Ryman Auditorium, their pearl-grey felt hats shining in the spotlight, ribbon ties fluttering like tiny flags as they bob and weave around the single microphone. The Mother Church of Country music rings with the songs—and the sound—that make up the DNA of every classic bluegrass lover: “Shuckin’ The Corn,” “Salty Dog Blues,” “I’ll Go Stepping Too,” “Dim Lights, Thick Smoke (And Loud, Loud Music),” “Get In Line Brother.” Heck, if you’re a regular Bluegrass Unlimited reader, you could probably write the setlist yourself. Outside the Ryman, it’s the modern-day Nashville of Taylor Swift and Lady Antebellum. Inside, the sellout crowd has been transported back fifty years by the musical time machine that is the Earls of Leicester.
This is no mere Flatt & Scruggs tribute band. The all-star group features some of the biggest names in bluegrass—musicians and songwriters who have been established for decades with their own distinctive sounds and styles. But all have surrendered their egos, put their regular careers on hold and given it all up to become the most painstaking and nitpicking of Foggy Mountain Boys reenactors. Read entire article »