Ron Stewart and The Dan Tyminski Band

Ron StewartWe posted last week from IBMA about the imminent debut of The Dan Tyminski Band in 2008. The band will feature Dan on guitar and vocals, along with Adam Steffey on mandolin, Barry Bales on bass, Justin Moses on fiddle and Ron Stewart on banjo.

I spoke with Ron earlier this week, and he expressed his excitement about this new chapter in his career, and the difficulty – and surprising success – of keeping this quiet for the past few months.

Ron said that they would be heading into the studio the second week of November to start work on a CD, which is expected to be released early in 2008. The sound is “in your face grass,” with some lighter, ballad-like material as well for contrast.

The Dan Tyminski Band will be booked by Keith Case & Associates and managed by DS Management. Tour dates for 2008 are starting to come in, and a busy schedule for next year is anticipated.

Ron also asked if we would publish an open letter to the bluegrass community, which he wrote to combat a number of unfounded rumors which have begun circulating about his departure from JD Crowe & The New South. It is a heartfelt tribute to one of the giants in our world, and goes a long way towards explaining why Ron is one of the most widely admired and respected people in bluegrass music.

Many, if not all of you have heard that I am leaving JD Crowe and The New South at the first of the year, and will be a full time member of The Dan Tyminski Band. After spending just one day at IBMA last week, rumors had already started to surface pertaining to the reasons I am leaving JD, none of which I heard were true. I am not sure why some folks have a need to make up their own versions for such happenings, about which these folks know nothing – but such is the case in our very “close knit” business.

So I will explain to the best of my ability what you, the people and fans, need to know about this situation. The main reason I am doing so is my respect for JD, who I am proud to call my friend, in and out of the music business.

I started to work with JD early in 2002 on a fill-in basis, doing every show that I could possibly make while working with Lynn Morris, and from the first note we ever played together, we connected musically. That same year, Lynn tragically suffered a stroke due to a surgery, and couldn’t finish the year herself. I went on to play the rest of the year with Marshall Wilborn, Jesse Brock, and Lloyd Douglas to finish dates that we were obligated to do, and didn’t join the New South until those dates were played.

I have never been a “jump and run” kind of guy, leaping at the first offer that came my way – and I’m no different now. JD gained my respect by not trying to get me to join his band while I was working with Lynn, and I hold the highest respect for him in that regard. Not many in our business are that respectful – and there are quite a few, with whom everyone out there would be familiar, who are not.

JD has lived “old” school bluegrass his whole life, and has picked with and studied all of those wonderful players, who still today are revered by all who know soul, timing, and taste. I grew up a generation later than JD, but I have spent my lifetime, literally, since I was three years old listening and studying that same music, and it is just as dear to my heart as it is his. I can not tell you the hours spent on the road talking, listening and watching classic bluegrass and country music together and how much it has meant to me for JD to share his thoughts and talents with me.

The first show I ever played with JD was at The Birchmere in D.C., and when I asked him if he wanted to go over a few tunes before the show, he said “Sure… kick off “No Mother Or Dad.’ ” This was not what I had expected, but I kicked it off as close to Benny Sims’ original version as I could play, and when we got done with that tune, JD said, “That’s good enough for me. If you know that stuff, mine won’t be a problem.”

He didn’t care if I knew his stuff (which I did), he cared that I knew the right stuff, and WHY!

Back to the subject at hand, I am leaving the band because it is a professional move I need to make, but NOT because I am not or have not been satisfied with JD, Rick, Dwight, or Harold. I love JD, and he knows that, and I feel just as close to him as ever, and I will surely miss playing music with him. Even more than that, I will miss hanging out with him, getting Starbucks, and watching Beavis and Butthead! I would do anything for JD, anytime, and that goes for Harold, Rick and Dwight as well! I don’t feel like I’m losing a friend, I feel I have gained a rare, true friend.

I also want to say that Harold Nixon, Ricky Wasson, and Dwight McCall are like brothers to me, and I will surely miss picking and traveling with them. They have been there for me thru some trying times, and also the best times! I love you guys, and I’m proud to call each of you my friends for life!

I appreciate the fact that no one has posted anything on any of the discussion boards as to why I am leaving JD, and I respect all of you who haven’t!!!

I say all this for those few that have started things by word of mouth, and so the rest of you know where I stand. I am looking forward to working with Dan, Barry, Adam, and Justin, and I want to thank all of you for all of your support throughout the years, and I will thank you in advance for your continued support, for without you all I would be nothing, no matter how well I might play.


Ron Stewart

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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.