Appalachian Road Show has been a sensation in the bluegrass and acoustic world since they debuted at the World of Bluegrass convention in September of 2018. Even before their official coming out, a buzz had been generated based on word of mouth about their plans for a new supergroup assembled from veteran grassers and young guns.
Throughout 2019 the band demonstrated the validity of their founding concept, to showcase contemporary bluegrass alongside the elements that led to its creation, all in a highly entertaining and energetic stage performance. Audiences reacted quickly to their virtuosity and vision, winning raves from existing bluegrass fans and new converts at the same time.
The band came from an inspiration concocted by Barry Abernathy and Jim VanCleve, founding members of Mountain Heart, who shook up bluegrass music in the late ’90s. Combining hard driving grass with a rock ‘n’ roll attitude, the band blasted their way into headliner status in a short space of time. Their new idea for the Road Show was to create a more theatrical production on stage, telling the stories of the Appalachian people from which they had sprung, and how their hardscrabble lives had produced the various elements of traditional folk music that Bill Monroe eventually folded into bluegrass.
They enlisted the talents of Darrell Webb, who made himself into a household name in bluegrass at a young age, and ace bassist Todd Phillips, a true legend in our music from his work with Tony Rice and many others. The last piece came in the form of Zeb Snyder, just a kid in relation to his bandmates, but every bit their equal when it comes to musical acumen and skill.
A second record is being readied for release, and the first single is out today, one VanCleve wrote called Goin’ To Bring Her Back. It is played very much in the style of the early bluegrass pioneers, and sung as a duet between Abernathy and Webb as it moves swiftly along.
Like their live show, the new album, Tribulation, features both hard-hitting music and spoken word pieces, telling the stories behind the songs and the times of the Appalachian people that have inspired them. Other tracks includes classics like Stephen Foster’s Hard Times Come Again No More and Larry Sparks’ Gospel Train, along with some less familiar numbers from the Depression and World War eras in American history.
Look for Tribulation to hit on March 27, with pre-orders available March 6.