Bright Sunny South from Laney & Bishop

From the fertile musical landscape of western North Carolina comes a new bluegrass duo, comprised of guitarist and songwriter Colby Laney, and fiddler and vocalist Danielle Bishop. Going by the name of Laney & Bishop, the two have a debut single released on the Sound Biscuit label, which projects a brilliant future for these talented young artists.

Both are second generation grassers whose fathers had been active in the music. In fact the two love to share the story that Colby’s dad had once bought a guitar from Danielle’s. But the two never met until a few years ago, at which time they began performing together.

Bart Laney, cousin of Glen Laney of Knoxville Grass fame, was Colby’s dad, and would sometimes sit in with the band back in their Buddy’s BBQ days. Danielle’s father, Danny Bishop, is a talented mandolinist known primarily for his work as a luthier. Danny runs Fiddle & Fret, his shop in Fairview, NC.

Laney has had a bluegrass career as a sideman for some time, working with Larry Stephenson and Volume Five on guitar. His song Rich Man’s Daughter was a #1 hit for the band in 2013. Bishop made her mark at fiddlers’ conventions where she has taken first place at the Old Fiddlers’ Convention in Galax and the Georgia Mountain State Fair. She also has the distinction of being the youngest winner at Fiddlers Grove.

For this first release they have chosen an old song of uncertain lineage, Bright Sunny South, a civil war ballad credited to F.M. Prince, memorably recorded in the past by both Doc Watson and Alison Krauss (Dan Tyminski). Danielle really shows out with her robust singing and fiddling, and Colby’s guitar is appropriately spare.

Sound Biscuit CEO and track producer Dave Maggard speaks quite highly of Laney & Bishop.

“Working with Colby and Danielle on this project has been exhilarating. Experiencing the level of talent in this next generation of bluegrass music that Colby and Danielle bring to the studio gives me confidence in the direction the genre is heading. Combining traditional with a twist of fresh vision has created a haunting, driving rendition of this beautiful classic song. I think Danielle’s vocals along with exceptional instrumentation, will make this tune a bluegrass favorite.”

Support comes from Aaron Ramsey on mandolin, Cory Walker on banjo, and Jeff Partin on bass, fine players the lot of them.

It’s well worth your attention. Have a listen…

This is a great start for this new duo, and we look forward to hearing more from their first album, which we are told is nearly completed. The two have taken to referring to themselves as LAB, both for their obvious initials, and because they share their home with three Labrador Retrievers, one of whom is usually with them at shows. LAB also breeds and raises Labrador puppies.

Bright Sunny South from Laney & Bishop is available now from popular download and streamings services online, and to radio programmers via AirPlay Direct.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.