Behind The Mic with Larry Nixon and Tim Woodall

nixonWith IBMA’s annual World of Bluegrass and Wide Open Bluegrass Festival taking place this week, many bluegrass fans are turning their attention to Raleigh, North Carolina for the second year in a row. Tickets have been purchased, hotel rooms have been reserved, and of course, everyone is trying to decide which radio station to listen to once they get to Raleigh. For many, that will be WQDR-FM – at least on Sunday night at six, when the PineCone Bluegrass Show is broadcast.

The show is sponsored by the Piedmont Council of Traditional Music (or for short, PineCone), a traditional music organization headquartered in Raleigh. Although WQDR is a commercial country station, in the late 1980s they had been receiving quite a few requests for bluegrass songs. The station approached PineCone for help, and after some discussion, Larry Nixon (a member of the PineCone Board of Directors) and Tim Woodall (a multi-instrumentalist who is now the bass player for The Grass Cats) started the show in January 1989. Both men were and continue to be heavily involved in bluegrass music. Nixon jokes that Woodall, along with The Grass Cats, has had several number ones on the Bluegrass Today and Bluegrass Unlimited charts, while he, as a member of Nixon, Blevins & Gage, is still trying for number one.

Tim WoodallAccording to Woodall, he and Nixon have been alternating Sunday shows for the past twenty-five years. “We consider it an honor to spread the word each week about this wonderful music we call bluegrass,” he says. The PineCone Bluegrass Show was both Woodall and Nixon’s first foray into bluegrass broadcasting, although both men became interested in radio at a young age. Woodall says that he got to know some of the guys that worked at Raleigh’s WKIX when he was a teenager, sparking his interest. Nixon worked at a local radio station in Elkin, NC while in high school and later at local stations around Raleigh while attending NC State.

We recently had the chance to speak with Nixon and Woodall about their thoughts on bluegrass music. Here’s what they had to say.

How would you define bluegrass music as a genre?

Nixon: “No drums… producers’ use of drums is destructive to the genre. In recent appearances, both Tony Rice and Rhonda Vincent have reflected this position. The essence of bluegrass is the establishment of rhythm without the use of percussive instruments.”

Woodall: An eclectic blend of Gospel, old time, country, blues, Irish fiddle tunes and others… just like Bill Monroe saw it.”

What form of bluegrass do you most enjoy?

Nixon: “Modern Traditional.”

Woodall: “A mixture of all types.”

What bands do you consider examples of the form you most enjoy?

Nixon: “Boxcars, Grass Cats, Detour, Balsam Range.”

Woodall: “The Grass Cats… ☺”

If you could only listen to one album for the rest of your life, which one would it be?

Nixon: “J.D. Crowe & the New South. This album is one of the best illustrating the transition from old to new.”

Woodall: “J.D. Crowe & the New South, 0044.”

What album is currently in your car stereo?

Nixon: “Detour, A Better Place.”

Woodall: “The Grass Cats’ next one.”


Artists who would like to submit their music to the PineCone Bluegrass Show can submit a physical copy of their album to either DJ. To submit music to Woodall, please email him at to receive a mailing address. To submit to Nixon, please mail CDs to:

4412 Dewees Court
Raleigh, NC 27607


If you host a bluegrass radio show and would like to participate in our chart as a weekly reporter, please fill out this form and we’ll get right back to you.

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About the Author

John Curtis Goad

John Goad is a graduate of the East Tennessee State University Bluegrass, Old Time & Country Music program, with a Masters degree in both History and Appalachian Studies from ETSU.