Warren Blair to Lorraine Jordan & Carolina Road

Lorraine Jordan & Carolina Road welcome a new fiddle player, Warren Blair, for their 2023 season.

Jordan shared…

“Matt Hooper, who had been with the band for six years, is taking some time off the road. He will be staying close to home, filling in with local bands and continuing to perform at Lorraine’s Coffee House & Music with the popular band, The Legends.

Matt was recently involved in a car crash, through no fault of his own, and his vehicle was totaled and his fiddle was demolished. Thank goodness, Matt is recovering well.

 We’ve brought in the popular Warren Blair to play during the 2023 season. It just seemed like the right fit for our band.

Warren filled in for Matt last summer while he was caring for his dad. Warren already knows our music and fits our style. Warren had mentioned he was going to retire after 2022 so when I approached him with the opportunity, it surprised me when he said yes. Warren stated he enjoyed his time with the band, and liked that I ran the band like a business. He was willing to play another year and we are thankful.”

Blair said, “Although I had planned my retirement starting this year, and having helped out Lorraine and Carolina Road for a portion of last year, I was more than eager to accept the position for the full year of 2023 when invited. I very much admire the professionalism of Lorraine’s organization, and you won’t find better people than the band members she has with her at this time. That closed the deal for me. Looking forward to seeing her fans as well as mine in the coming months!”

 “Warren and I both started our bluegrass career together when we were 18 years old with the Legendary Charlie Moore,” said Ben Greene, veteran banjoist with Carolina Road. “I guess we started together so it’s cool to go full circle and play out his final years in the same band. Warren is a professional on and off stage, and his fiddle compliments my banjo style.”

 Since the early ’70s, Warren has compiled quite a musical resume. Internationally known in music circles, he has a distinct long-bow fiddling style all his own, but can also replicate hundreds of iconic fiddle tunes and breaks from the masters note for note. He also has a showstopper routine where he plays double stop harmony as he hums the third part. 

Warren’s father, Kimble Blair, was a well-known regional fiddle player for more than 50 years, playing in bands with his brothers Kenny and Darrell, who were wonderful singers and musicians in their own right.  Following in his dad’s footsteps, Warren started playing fiddle at age 16. Within months, he began performing with local bands in the Baltimore area and won the 1976 National Bicentennial fiddle contest in Washington, DC. 

Warren went on to perform with many top national bluegrass and country music acts over his 49 year career, including Charlie Moore, Jimmy Martin, Del McCoury, and the Bluegrass Cardinals, to name a few. Among his finest memories are repeated guest appearances with the Osborne Brothers, Jim & Jesse, The Boys from Indiana, J.D. Crowe & the New South, and many more. Warren has been proclaimed by many top bluegrass fiddlers as an inspiration and influence on their playing, most notably, Ron Stewart, Michael Cleveland, and Jason Carter.

For the 2023 season, Carolina Road band members include Ben Greene, 18-year banjo player and baritone singer; Allen Dyer, five-year band member, on rhythm guitar, and lead and bass vocals; Kevin Lamm, four-year band member, on bass; and new full-time member, Wayne Morris, on lead guitar. Randy Graham will guest on select gospel shows.

Carolina Road’s new CD will release in April. A sneak peak concert will be held on February 17 and 18 at Lorraine’s. Both nights will live stream at 7:30 p.m. on Lorraine’s Coffee House & Music Facebook page.

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About the Author

Sandy Hatley

Sandy Chrisco Hatley is a free lance writer for several NC newspapers and Bluegrass Unlimited magazine. As a teenager, she picked banjo with an all girl band called the Happy Hollow String Band. Today, she plays dobro with her husband's band, the Hatley Family.