By Ted Lehmann

The Darin & Brooke Aldridge band has been developing in Darin’s imagination since the idea of forming his own band emerged shortly after he joined his first band Straight & Narrow in his early teens. It was there he switched from banjo to mandolin before joining his first touring band Acoustic Syndicate, a folk/rock/bluegrass band still on the road. Shortly thereafter, he was asked to join The Country Gentlemen (1999-2005), playing mandolin and singing harmony. This version of The Gents provided Darin with a set of road tools and management skills that still work for him in his much wider and more comprehensive efforts.

Much of Darin Aldridge’s story harkens back to his family’s home in Avery County in rural northwestern North Carolina, adjacent to the Tennessee border. His parents moved to Gaston County to be near his dad’s base as a truck driver. Darin was born there in 1977, surrounded by music in a culture dominated by farming and the dying mill culture of the Carolina Piedmont.

For many musicians growing up in the area just west of Charlotte, N.C., a mysterious cinderblock building hidden away in Darin’s hometown of Cherryville became the crucial locale for their introduction to bluegrass music. Owned by local entrepreneur and civic-minded music lovers Jack and Judy Bingham, the Bomb Shelter hosts a large and enthusiastic weekly jam inside in winter or a few steps away at an outdoor stage, cabin, and bonfire. There, Darin met and became friends with local music legends, musicians who hired him to tour, and the late Dr. Bobby Jones,  also known as Dr. Tom Bibey. Dr. B was an avid golfer, a fine mandolin player, and a community leader who spent more than 25 years playing in a band with Horace Scruggs. Dr. Bobby became an important mentor in Darin’s life at a point where he found himself in need of guidance and direction. Darin continues to show up at the Bomb Shelter when he’s in town, to pick for fun and to keep an eye on his former students who now are making their way in music. Read entire article »

Darin & Brooke Aldridge
By Ted Lehmann

Two Veteran Musicians And Two Teens On The Rise
By Derek Halsey

Ernie Thacker — Proud To Be A Clinch Mountain Boy
By Vicki Dean

From Kid Disc Jockey To Banjo Master
The Bluegrass Journey Of Alex Leach
By Gary Reid

The Price Sisters — The New Faces Of Traditional Bluegrass
By Penny Parsons

Breaking Grass
By Bill Conger

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May 2018 Reviews


VARIOUS ARTISTS BIG BEND KILLING: THE APPALACHIAN BALLAD TRADITION GSMA 200973    Ballads are stories set to melodies. They are also a viable means of noting historical facts and telling archetypical truths. As one might imagine, the material here is all first-rate. It has stood the test of time and has remained flexible enough to withstand […]

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VOLUME FIVE MILESTONES Mountain Fever MFR180205 Last year, Volume Five celebrated their tenth year as a band with Glen Harrell (fiddle), Patton Wages (banjo, guitar), Chris Williamson (bass), Jacob Burleson (mandolin), Colby Laney (guitar), and Gaven Largent (resonator guitar). It was also the year they were honored as Emerging Artist Of The Year during the […]

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THE BROMBIES RUNNING WITH THE HERD ADINA 1003 It has been six and a half years since their last release and this is also the last project that the talented bassist and songwriter Bill Bryson worked on prior to his passing in 2017. The Brombies are George Doering (mandolin), Jo Ellen Doering (vocals), Patrick Sauber […]

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HOWDY’S TUNES! FIDDLE MUSIC OF BIG HOWDY FORRESTER BY GAYEL PITCHFORD. (Viewpoint Press, PMB 400, 785 Tucker Rd., Ste. G, Tehachapi, CA 93561, www.howdyforrester.com) About ten years after the publication of her book, Fiddler Of The Opry: The Howdy Forrester Story, Pitchford presents us with a book of transcriptions of Big Howdy’s tunes, about fifty of […]

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