Billy Droze, Maddie Denton, Zach Top, and Chuck Allen Floyd at the Modern Tradition signing
Here’s a pair of names you may not recognize, but which you can expect to hear about a good deal in coming months.
First up is RBR Entertainment, a new bluegrass label in Nashville run by singer/songwriter Billy Droze and Chuck Allen Floyd, a veteran Music City attorney with experience as an artist as well. They have launched RBR to function as an artist centered record company, and have big plans for the future. Their first signee has been Marija Droze, Billy’s wife, whose current single, Listen To Your Heart, has been appearing on our Bluegrass Today Weekly Airplay chart of late.
Then there’s Zach Top, an up and coming young grasser, with a smooth voice and a long, lean look. He comes from Washington state, where he learned to play and sing, with a very engaging contemporary bluegrass sound. He and his band, Modern Tradition, have just inked an agreement with RBR Entertainment and will have a debut single released around Labor Day. Some may remember them under a previous band name, MashTag, back a couple of years ago.
As strong a vocalist as Zach is on his own, Modern Tradition is equally stout, consisting of some of the most powerful young pickers and singers in our music. Maddie Denton on fiddle is Top’s musical partner in the band, and has already made quite a name for herself. Since 2008, she was won 14 state fiddle championships, along with the grandaddy of them all, the Grand Masters in 2016. She also sings harmony, along with banjo picker Calib Smith, from Indiana. Zion Napier is on mandolin, who has demonstrated his chops with a number of bands, and Wyatt Harman, a widely experienced bass played from St Louis.
Here are a couple of examples of Zach and Modern Tradition in action. This one comes from the 2018 Wide Open Bluegrass festival in Raleigh, doing one Zach wrote called Forget You.
And Zach yodeling out the classic Bill Monroe number, Rain and Snow.
Zach and Maddie are budding stars in bluegrass, as are all the members of the group, and it will be exciting to hear what they produce with Modern Tradition. Their music is crisp and grooving, and they are a lot of fun to watch on stage.
You can learn more about them online.