Marshall was the banjo player for his family’s band, The Marshall Family, who had a brief but meteoric career in the 1970s. The group’s introduction to professional status is pure bluegrass. Not booked at Ralph Stanley’s Hills of Home festival in 1974, the Marshalls attended the festival and were discovered by Dr. Ralph playing in the campground. He asked them to come to the stage, they did, and were an instant hit.
Soon signed to Rebel Records, The Marshall Family recorded three albums and then disbanded in 1977. Their sound was pure, mountain style gospel music, which they learned and developed in their West Virginia home, based around the singing of David’s sister, Judy Marshall, who remained close to the Stanley family until Ralph died.
Other members of the group were David and Judy’s brothers, Ben on bass and Danny on mandolin, along with their father, Chester (Pops) Marshall.
After the family band dissolved, David signed with Mountain Home, then a start up label, and recorded Clearwaters at Horizon studio in Asheville, NC in the early 1980s. It was produced by Tim Surrett, now with Balsam Range, who continues to work with Mountain Home, and included support from Bryan Sutton on guitar, Jeff Parker on mandolin, and Ben Isaacs on bass. Providing harmony vocals were Dale Ann Bradley and Steve Gulley.
David Marshall developed a strong lead vocal style, influenced by the Stanley sound, and a bit reminiscent of Larry Sparks. You can get a taste in this video shot at roughly the time of Clearwaters, with David and Judy singing together at Renfro Valley, supported by Bobby Sloane on fiddle, Jeff Parker on mandolin, and Steve Gulley on bass.
Clearwaters is set for a digital-only re-release on January 27 on Mountain Home Music. Pre-saves are enabled now online.