You’re right. Terry Baucom doesn’t look likes he’s old enough to have 50 years in bluegrass under his belt. And that’s just counting his true professional career, starting at age 18. He actually had been involved in the contest and convention scene for several years before that.
Having recently celebrated his 68th birthday, Bauc – as he is widely known – has covered a lot of ground in that time. Starting with the banjo at age 10, the fiddle captured his attention at 14, and he took his first paid gig at 18 on fiddle with Charlie Moore, after several years on banjo with his father’s group.
From there Baucom was a founding member of three of the most important and influential groups in contemporary bluegrass history. At 22 he was there for the beginning of Boone Creek, along with Ricky Skaggs, Wes Golding, Jerry Douglas, and Steve Bryant. Ironically, he had initially come on board to play fiddle, with Marc Pruett to have been on banjo, but other concerns forced Marc to pull away before they really got going.
Following two successful albums, Boone Creek dissolved, and Terry was in on the ground floor when Doyle Lawson formed the iconic Quicksilver in 1979. He played banjo with Doyle until 1985, when he, Jimmy Haley, and Randy Graham left Lawson to form New Quicksilver with Alan Bibey. That combo only played together for a short while.
Then in 1991, Baucom was involved with the startup of IIIrd Tyme Out, with Russell Moore, Alan Bibey, Ray Deaton, and Mike Hartgrove. Interestingly, this group included a number of other former Quicksilver members who left to start their own band. Terry stayed with them only a few years.
He and Lou Reid launched their own outfit, Carolina, in 1993, and recorded a pair of stellar albums of traditional bluegrass. In ’96 he decided to come off the road to focus on teaching in the Charlotte, NC region where he is from. But the lure of the road was on his mind, and he and Alan Bibey launched Blue Ridge, which continued for some time after he left. Terry rejoined Quicksilver in 2003, staying with Doyle another 4 years.
Bauc stuck with freelance work for the next few years, before deciding to launch his own group for the first time, forming Terry Baucom & The Dukes of Drive in 2013. He has just released his third album with them, Fine Time To Get The Blues, on his own independent label. Will Jones plays guitar, Joey Lemons is on mandolin, and Joe Hannabach bass. Will and Joey split time on lead vocals, with Baucom’s banjo driving the music the whole time.
Guests on Fine Time To Get The Blues include Justin Moses on fiddle and reso-guitar, and Terry’s lovely wife Cindy, who contributes lead vocals on two tracks.
Thinking about a half century in bluegrass, Bauc says it’s all been worth the trouble.
“First of all, I never would have thought fifty years would go by so fast! But when I look back at all the places the music has taken me, and all the many parts of the world I’ve gotten to experience, I’m very thankful. Deep friendships formed with band mates over the years means so much to me. I’m humbled when I hear younger banjo players performing instrumentals I’ve written…or bands doing songs I recorded over the years. But the cool thing is, I’m just as excited about my music looking forward as I was when I first started. In fact, it’s been so much fun up to this point, another fifty would suit me fine!”
Here are some samples from Fine Time To Get The Blues.
Congratulations Bauc on 50 years!
Many thanks to Cindy Baucom for going through old photos to share these.