The Bluegrass Kinsmen are a well-known band in their native southwestern Virginia. Formed in 1971 by brothers Shelby and Ebby Jewel, the Kinsmen are still active under Ebby’s leadership since Shelby laid down his guitar and retired in 2012.
Bluegrass doesn’t give out gold watches, but Shelby did pick up a Local Music Legend award last weekend at the Cedar Bluff, VA Heritage Festival. He was recognized for 40 years of service to the region both playing and promoting bluegrass music, and for providing a training ground for young musicians along the way. Wayne Taylor, Darrell Webb, Robert Hale, and Jeff Brown are among the area’s current bluegrass professionals who had been Bluegrass Kinsmen in their younger days.
Ebby and the current Kinsmen are keeping the tradition alive, and have released a new album, Renewal, earlier this year. In addition to Ebby on banjo, the band includes his wife Teresa on vocals, Ervin Compton on guitar, Ricky Kennedy on bass, Ryan Lester on mandolin, and Dean Jackson on lead guitar.
They have kept the lively sound that has epitomized The Bluegrass Kinsmen for more than 40 years. It is traditional, but with a crisp, modern edge well-served by Ebby and Teresa’s knack for writing a memorable song.
Any radio programmers who don’t have the album can download it from Airplay Direct.