Starlett & Big John to Rebel Records

Rebel Records has announced the signing of bluegrass vocal duo Starlett & Big John to the label. The two have been fast rising artists since forming their group in 2019, having been selected as Bluegrass Ramble showcase artists at last year’s World of Bluegrass convention.

Starlett is Starlett Boswell Austin, an experienced bluegrass musician and singer living near Reidsville, NC. She plays bass with the band and sings lead, as she did for the prior decade with Lawson Street Grass. She has enjoyed harmonizing this past three years with Big John Talley who lives in Southampton County, VA. Talley also has many years in bluegrass under his belt, starting with New Dominion Bluegrass in his teens. Over the years he has had the honor to play several times with Bill Monroe and his Blue Grass Boys, as well as many other outfits in the Virginia/North Carolina region.

Their original traditional bluegrass sound had escaped Mark Freeman of Rebel Records until he caught their showcase in Raleigh last year, but he quickly became a fan. 

“I had heard about Starlett & Big John but was not that familiar with them, Then, at World of Bluegrass in Raleigh, I ran into Russell Johnson and he was talking about how excited he was to see their showcase that night. Respecting Russell’s taste like I do, I was intrigued and made a mental note to catch their performance. What I saw blew me away: Starlett’s powerful voice, their dynamic stage presence, and to top it all off the amazing songs they had written. By the end of the showcase, I knew we had to get them on the label.”

Starlett says that she had to pinch herself when they signed with Rebel.

“Signing with Rebel Records is a huge dream come true for us because this is the label of our heroes!”

Talley quickly agreed…

“As children, Starlett and I both grew up listening to Rebel Records artists and admiring the quality of music the label produces. Now, we are so humbled and proud to be joining this historic record label which has produce the best bluegrass music, past and present.”

Here’s one of their original songs, I’ll Have You Back, performed live at the Willow Oak Bluegrass Festival last summer.

They will be in the studio in early spring working on the next project, with bandmates David Carroll on banjo, Jonathon Dillon on mandolin, and Warren Blair on fiddle. Ron Stewart will produce and engineer.

Rebel plans to have their first album with Starlett & Big John sometime this summer.

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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.