Kevin Pace & the Early Edition returns to form

A few weeks ago we wrote about the newest member to join up with Kevin Pace & the Early Edition, which led to a more in-depth conversation with the bandleader. The group had been on hiatus for nearly two years, and Kevin wanted to explain what had happened, and how they came back.

Back in the summer of 2016, Pace underwent a pair of surgical procedures within two weeks of each other to attack his cancer, which required him to spend nine weeks in the hospital, followed by a substantial period of recovery at home. Early Edition took the rest of 2016 off while he was recuperating, and 2017 as well. Kevin says it had occurred to him a number of times that perhaps he should hang it up, but the five years they had performed together won him over and he decided to put the band back together.

During the hiatus, several band members moved on to other interests, so Kevin had to rebuild. His longtime friend Barry Ehlert came onboard, switching between mandolin and banjo, settling finally on fiddle when Kaleb Dion came into the picture on banjo. Just 14 years old, Dion was performing with his family when Kevin heard him and asked him to join up.

Next into the fray was Maggie Ruffcorn, who we had written about in February. Pace says that his youth movement is working out just fine.

“I was very pleased to have Barry and Kaleb join the group! They’re both very talented musicians and bring so much. And I was excited to be back to a five-piece band and had never thought of going beyond that until I heard this young lady sing and was blown away. I invited her to a rehearsal and she seemed to fit right in with everyone. I’m glad to have her on board. She adds a whole new element to the group that we’ve never had before.

Even before I ever started the Early Edition band I had envisioned having young people be a part of the group. They bring a youthfulness and such energy, which is a real benefit to the band. And in return I hope to be a help and somewhat of  a mentor for them. I get to watch them develop and grow musically and that’s really a neat thing to see. Of course, not everyone is a fit for my band but there are certain ones that I just feel an urge to reach out to. So far it’s worked out with who I’ve chosen. They’ve all made me proud!”

Remaining from before Kevin’s health issues are fellow founders Josh Robertson on guitar, and Jim Adams on bass. Pace plays mandolin and sings lead, with vocal help from all the members of the group.

Here’s some video from a show last month, featuring Kaleb on Bill Monroe’s Bluegrass Breakdown

…and Kneel At The Cross.

Kevin says that their schedule for 2018 is filling up, with lots of shows in and around their home base of Spokane, WA. You can keep up with their dates on the band web site.

“I’m very thankful! The Lord has been so good to me! I’m grateful for all the people who were praying for me when it was found that I had cancer and then complications from the surgeries. There were people from across the US and the world that was lifting me up in prayer and I could sure feel it. It was a long, hard journey but with God, the love and support of my dear wife and all the prayers I made it through. My endurance and stamina is still not where I’d like it to be yet but I am able to perform again and I’m really excited to be back on stage with a full band of great folks to make music with.”

Welcome back, Kevin Pace & the Early Edition!

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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.