Cowboys and Indians from Wyatt Rice and the ETSU Spacegrass Unit

Earlier this week we wrote about the 13 students who graduated last week from East Tennessee State University with either a bachelor’s degree or a minor concentration from the Bluegrass, Old Time & Country Must Studies program. Today we have a music video based on a studio recording from one of the program’s elite ensembles, featuring several of the recent graduates.

Here’s the school’s Spacegrass Unit, led by Wyatt Rice, on a recording made this semester of Bill Emerson’s banjo classic, Cowboys and Indians. Bill recorded the tune with The Country Gentlemen in 1971, and it was an immediate hit in the banjo world both for its interesting melody, and habit of switching back and forth between C minor and C major throughout the tune.

The Spring 2021 edition of the Spacegrass Unit included Trey Wellington on banjo, Hudson Bosworth on guitar, Josiah Nelson on fiddle, Luke Morris on mandolin, and Katelyn Lowe on bass. As you might guess, the Unit is dedicated to learning and performing the music and style of the late Tony Rice, and these students are incredibly fortunate to do so at the knee of Tony’s brother and long time accompanist, Wyatt Rice, who has recently been awarded the ETSU College of Arts & Sciences 2021 Adjunct Faculty Award.

Wyatt both engineered and played a guitar solo of the track, which Josiah then set against multiple still images of the members of the group.

Well done all!

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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.