Kevin McKinnon to Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out

Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out have announced the addition of Kevin McKinnon to the group. He will play bass and sing harmony, taking the spot previously held by Dustin Pyrtle since 2018.

If Kevin looks familiar to IIIrd Tyme Out fans, it’s because he is the brother of banjo picker Keith McKinnon, and the two could pass for twins – because they are, fraternal twins. They grew up playing bluegrass, and toured together with Carrie Hassler & Hard Rain for several years. Keith and Kevin had their own group, Still-House, for a time until Kevin accepted a job as the sound man for Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, where he remained until the COVID shutdowns last year.

Pyrtle turned in his notice while the band was inactive, allowing Russell the chance to move slowly in finding a replacement.

Moore explained how the process unfolded.

“A few months ago Dustin told us of his need to leave the position of bass player and harmony singer for the band. Dustin is a great talent and he will be greatly missed. I applaud his decision to stop touring and stay closer to home so that he can spend more time with his son, Houston. Even though we were all saddened with his announcement, I would have been disappointed if he had decided otherwise, and we all wish him and his son the best going forward.

With so many of our shows being cancelled, I was afforded the opportunity to take my time and really consider the type of player and person I wanted in that role moving forward. I’ve known Kevin McKinnon for years, and his brother Keith is our banjo player. Honestly, when Keith told me his brother was interested in auditioning, I held off on scheduling other auditions. Something just kept telling me this was the route we needed to go.

“The entire band got together and had two days of intense eight-hour rehearsals. Kevin fit like a glove. He is so intuitive with his playing and, because he literally grew up listening to IIIrd Tyme Out music, I was just reaching back into our repertoire from the past 30 years and throwing song titles out. He absolutely knocked his audition out of the park.”

You’ll have a chance to see the latest edition of Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out in action soon, as they have a busy schedule shaping up for this summer. Starting in late May, they have shows throughout the southeastern and central US, with more coming in all the time. They may not have as many dates as pre-COVID this year, but the bus will be rolling hard through 2021 so keep an eye out for when they come your way.

Kevin says that he is overjoyed to start with Russell, and reunite with Keith after so many years.

“What an absolute privilege and honor to be joining Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out. This being the band’s 30th Anniversary is a testament to the true staying power and impact they’ve had on this music. Russell is one of the best vocalists bluegrass has ever had. And, it’s been a while since I’ve shared the stage with my brother and I’m really excited about it! I’m so thankful to Doyle for how he’s helped me grow and mature in this industry, and for everything he’s done for my family. You’ll still see me out on the road with Quicksilver when I’m not traveling with IIIrd Tyme Out.”

IIIrd Tyme Out is completed with Wayne Benson on mandolin, and Nathan Aldridge on fiddle.

Check their 2021 tour schedule online.

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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.