Last Saturday, Terry Baucom’s Dukes of Drive introduced their new mandolin player, Will Clark, to the audience at the IBMA Bluegrass Live! Streetfest. Though Will was welcomed into the group in the middle of September, it was his first show with the band.
The Pickens, SC native has been playing the mandolin since he was a boy. Clark is also a fine tenor singer and plays all the bluegrass instruments, but it’s the mandolin that has always called him back. He got his start in local and regional bands in South Carolina before joining the James King Band in 2012. For the past three years he had been working with Dave Adkins. These days Will spends his weekdays teaching at Acoustic Cellar Guitars in Clarksville, GA where he has taken over most of Patton Wages’ students since his stroke.
You may have heard cuts from his solo album, Ten Feet Deep, recorded in 2012 with assistance from Clay Jones, Ron Stewart, and Jason Moore.
In fact it was his acquaintance with Jones, guitarist with the Dukes, which won him an audition with Baucom, as Will told us after Saturday’s performance.
“Yeah… Clay was the connection to Bauc. We’ve been good friends for a decade.
I’m grateful for the opportunity to do this, especially getting to be a lead singer. I’ve been a sideman for years. We’ve done a few shows with my own band, and fronting the show is something I really enjoy. I’m looking forward to playing as much as we can going into next year.”
Will also mentioned that he was a great admirer of Doyle Lawson. “I’ve studied not only his music, but how he runs and fronts his band.”
The debut of the new Dukes of Drive was a rousing success in Raleigh. Terry told us that since they were the opening act on the Capitol Stage, it started with just a few people watching, but by midway through their set, it had grown to several hundred. The group is completed by Joe Hannabach on bass.
Here’s video of them performing one of Bauc’s big hits, Fourth and Goal.
Terry also mentioned that they see a steady summer of shows coming in 2022, with some nice festivals and theater shows on the docket. Be sure to check them out if they come your way.
Special thanks to Terry’s wife, Cindy Baucom, who hosts the nationally syndicated bluegrass radio program, Knee Deep in Bluegrass, for sharing photos and video from last week’s set in Raleigh.