DATE: June 7, 2009, 3-5 p.m.
VENUE: Holding Park, Wake Forest, NC
EVENT SPONSORS: PineCone and the Town of Wake Forest
INFORMATION: www.pinecone.org, (919) 664-8333
Wake Forest, N.C. – Join PineCone and the Town of Wake Forest for a free bluegrass concert by The Grass Cats at Wake Forest’s Holding Park on Sunday, June 7 at 3 p.m.
The Grass Cats show promises foot-stomping fiddle and banjo music, bluegrass classics, tight vocal harmonies, a capella style gospel quartets and chart-topping original songs. Though careful never to lose their traditional bluegrass footing, the Cats also perform cleverly arranged “covers” of songs from artists as diverse as Eric Clapton, Duke Ellington, Johnny Cash and The Who.
The Grass Cats have been entertaining audiences for 10 years with their exciting live performances and critically acclaimed recordings. With a total of six CDs, their recording career has also been highly acclaimed, with three of their CDs landing in the Top 10 on Bluegrass Unlimited’s National Bluegrass Survey. Their 2002 release, The Blues Are Back In Town, received a highlight review in Bluegrass Unlimited magazine and garnered them a #1 single, “Bluegrass Man.” The CD was also named to County Sales’ Top 5 Traditional Bluegrass Recording list for 2002.
The Grass Cats are: Tim Woodall (banjo), Russell Johnson (mandolin), Chris Hill (fiddle), Steven Martin (rhythm guitar, lead vocal), and Lloyd Herring (bass).
Tim Woodall is the Cats’ elder statesman, having played banjo for more than 30 years, and he is also interested in many other types of music. Woodall has recorded pedal steel, bass, and guitar in addition to banjo as a studio musician. Occasionally he will step out front to sing lead if there are cue cards available, but he is much more comfortable singing harmony. Another hobby of Woodall’s is radio broadcasting. He received his FCC License in August of 1967 and landed a job in January of 1989 as the co-host of the Pinecone Bluegrass Show on WQDR in Raleigh, NC, a post he still holds 20 years later.
A triple threat entertainer whenever he steps in front of a microphone, Steven Martin has many years of playing and singing bluegrass to his credit. From his early days with Carolina Drive, and more recently a six-year stint with the award-winning Churchmen, his richly textured, country tinged lead vocals, exceptional songwriting abilities and his “in the pocket,” rock-solid rhythm guitar, have won him much recognition. An excellent songwriter, his song “Get Onboard” from The Churchmen’s album On The Journey Home went to #1 on the Bluegrass Now Gospel Truths chart, and the album was nominated for the prestigious Dove Award.
Russell Johnson brings 16 years of performing and recording experience to the band. He was the driving force of the award-winning Pinecastle recording artist New Vintage from 1989 to 2000. His “rock-solid and exquisitely high-lonesome vocals” and humorous stage presence are hard to forget. Johnson’s success as a songwriter and singer is well documented – eight of his original songs have reached the Bluegrass Unlimited National Bluegrass Survey, including the #1 hit “Bluegrass Man” in April and May of 2003. He was also nominated for SPBGMA’s Songwriter of the Year in 2004. Bluegrass Unlimited magazine places him in “the first ranks of contemporary bluegrass.”
Bass player Lloyd Herring is fairly new to the bluegrass scene, having fallen in love with the sound of the banjo and bluegrass music after hearing Flatt and Scruggs on his father’s radio at the age of 17. After a short stint playing banjo with Lonesome Pine in 2005, he bought his first bass in August and started playing. A natural musician, Herring was able to contribute immediately on bass with his great sense of timing and drive. Equally gifted as a singer, he adds harmony vocals to his bluegrass arsenal, making him an extremely accomplished musician despite his young age. With his pants worn low and his snappy nick-names, “Double L Kool Aid” or “Stringbean”, Herring brings an infectious youthful exuberance to band.
Affectionately known as “Fiddleboy” by The Grass Cats faithful, Chris Hill has been dragging the bow since the age of 7. With more than 20 years of performing under his belt, he has traveled from local shows to bluegrass festivals to venues as far away as Ulster American Folk Park in Northern Ireland. He has appeared on stage with the likes of Grand Ole Opry member and International Bluegrass Music Association Hall of Honor inductee Ralph Stanley, country and bluegrass favorite Mac Wiseman, and bluegrass-gospel legends The Lewis Family. Hill was a member of regional favorite Al Batten & The Bluegrass Reunion for six years. His deeply traditional style complements the band’s powerful vocals and shines on their instrumentals.
Bring your family and friends, lawn chairs, and a picnic to Holding Park for an afternoon of music for the whole family! For more information, please visit www.pinecone.org.
Artist website: http://www.grasscats.com/