Russell Moore has announced the two newest members of IIIrd Tyme Out. Keith McKinnon is coming aboard on banjo, and Blake Johnson on bass.
This was necessitated by the departures of both Steve Dilling and Edgar Loudermilk last month, both of whom had been long term members of the band. Dilling gave up the road owing to the difficulties presented by a health issue, while Loudermilk decided to strike out on his own. Edgar and Dave Adkins have formed a new band to record and perform their original music.
But IIIrd Tyme Out just keeps rolling along. Now approaching their 24th year, Moore is the sole remaining original member. He has kept a remarkably stable band together over that time, garnering five IBMA Male Vocalist of the Year trophies for himself, and 7 for Vocal Group of the Year. They maintain a rigorous touring schedule and have built an enviable cadre of loyal fans for their contemporary bluegrass sound.
So these new guys have big shoes to fill, but despite their youth, both are experienced bluegrass road warriors.
McKinnon first hit the scene as a member of Carrie Hassler & Hard Rain, playing guitar and singing. His twin brother, Kevin, played mandolin in the band as well. The two started their own outfit, Still-House, when Carrie hung up her traveling shoes. This past two years, Keith has run sound for Lonesome River Band. His “underground” reputation as a crackerjack banjo man is now set to go public.
Johnson had been playing guitar and singing lead with Grasstowne this 2013 season. He had originally been a bass player, and was a founding member of North Carolina’s Hagar’s Mountain Boys. A notable vocalist, he is sure to continue the polished style that has been a hallmark of the IIIrd Tyme Out sound since their inception in 1991.
Russell says that he sees the fresh energy from these two new members as all positive, and that it takes him back to his early days in the business.
“When you work and travel with people in a touring band for years, not only is it a creative effort on a professional level, but you become friends with these people as well. Even though we are sad to see old friends depart, we are excited about the fresh, new talent, creative energy and new relationships we’ll develop, both professionally and personally, with the new members. As a band, it’s sometimes important to reinvent yourselves, your music and your show, to keep things exciting and fans engaged.
Quite often a band member change can be the spark that lights that creative fire. I know the feel and excitement of being a new member of an established band, dating back to my days when I joined Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver. Although they are not ‘new’ to the bluegrass music scene, it is great to see and feel that same excitement from Keith and Blake.
IIIrd Tyme Out’s past has been nothing but wonderful, but have no doubt, we’re even more excited about what the future holds.”
The band takes the month of December off each year, but will be back in January with the new lineup. You can follow their tour schedule online.