Phil Leadbetter leaving Flashback

Several years ago, Knoxville reso-man Phil Leadbetter organized a reunion concert for the edition of J.D. Crowe & The New South that had recorded the 1994 album, Flashback. The original recording featured Phil on reso-guitar, Richard Bennett on guitar, Don Rigsby on mandolin, and Curt Chapman on bass.

That reunion led to more shows together, and eventually a decision to function as a full-time group, but now, three years on, Phil has decided that it’s time for him to take his leave.

The past six years have been tough ones for our favorite Uncle Phil. A diagnosis of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma turned his life upside down in March of 2011, which was followed by several years of various cancer therapies to treat the ailment. Multiple rounds of chemo would show progress, only to see the cancer return. Finally, he underwent stem cell replacement therapy which seemed to do the trick, but at a great toll to his overall health.

Leadbetter is now as close to cancer-free as the doctors will admit, and pursuing a new career in real estate after many years of being unable to work. He will focus his attention now on building that career for his future.

Phil shared this as his official statement…

“I want to announce today that I have departed from Flashback. In 2015, I called up everyone, and asked if they would be interested in doing a reunion show. We played my CD release party on January 31, 2015 after 20 years since being known as J.D Crowe and The New South’s “Flashback” version of his band. After that concert, we decided to play some dates as a group. J.D played nearly a year with us before officially retiring in 2016.

We decided (with Crowe’s endorsement and permission) to continue to play as a group, and decided to go with the name Flashback. I have enjoyed my time playing with Curt, Stuart, Don and Richard, but it is time to move on. After 43 years in this business, I am ready to do my own thing, as well as concerts featuring “all star” bluegrass lineups as I have in the past, and will be doing November 17th at The Bijou Theater in Knoxville, TN.

I also plan to focus on my part-time career as a real estate agent, and work to get myself completely well from the side effects of my past cancer treatment. I wish the best to all the guys of Flashback as I say ‘so long.’ “

Flashback is in the studio now working on their second album, but Phil wanted to let them know of his plans before they got started. There is no word yet from the band as to who they might bring in.

Good luck to Phil, and to the rest of the band going forward.

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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.