Quigg Lawrence is an odd kind of bluegrass artist and producer. A Bishop Suffragan in the Anglican Church in North America, he records specifically to enhance the musical careers of young bluegrass artists he has met, and has formed a band called Bent Mountain for that purpose. It’s named for the peak that separates Roanoke county from Floyd county in southwestern Virginia where he also serves as pastor at the Church of the Holy Spirit in Roanoke.
His chief local collaborators are The Brothers Young, consisting of 17 year old banjo player Ayden Young, and his 12 year old brother, Blane Young, on mandolin. Since meeting Nashville teen mandolin wunderkind Wyatt Ellis, Bishop Quigg has brought him in to his projects as well.
They have just released a single, a new but respectfully traditional version of A Robin Built a Nest on Daddy’s Grave, one of Ralph Stanley’s more compelling numbers. Lawrence sings the lead, with Ayden on banjo, and Wyatt on mandolin and guitar, assisted by Jamie Harper on fiddle and Scott Mulvahill on bass. The Bishop sings the lead, and says that while they didn’t break any new ground with the arrangement, he does feel it is notable based on the youth of the participants.
“A Robin Built a Nest on Daddy’s Grave is unique in that it features a 12-year-old singing harmony, 14-year-old Wyatt Ellis playing mandolin and guitar, a 16-year-old doing the artwork, a 17-year-old on banjo, and a 22-year-old recording engineer – plus an old man (me!) on the vocals.”
Caleb Meyer was the engineer, and Asher Love provided the graphic. Blane Young sang harmony. And for such an erudite and educated man, Quigg does a fine mountain-style vocal.
Have a listen…
A Robin Built a Nest on Daddy’s Grave is available now from popular download and streaming services online.
Well done all!