GrassStreet's latest release, Grandma's Hymnbook, is the band's first all-gospel studio recording project, and it includes a collection of their favorite hymns along with original gospel tunes.
In 2005, they released Hittin' the Road, which was recorded live at the Ridgeway Opera House. Better Times was the first album that they recorded as a full band. Released in 2004, Better Times features straight-ahead driving bluegrass. GrassStreet is a derivative of the band Swift Run, which has performed regionally since the early '80s.
Wayne Kinton is the driving force behind GrassStreet. He wrote and arranged most of the material on Better Times, and he is a great singer, songwriter, and instrumentalist, as well as a true entertainer. He plays multiple musical styles from traditional string music to jazz and swing.
The CD project Reminisce features songs written by Wayne and his friend Clifton Preddy. Several songs from this project appeared in the theatrical production That Long Tobacco Road, as do eight additional pieces written by Wayne. This show was presented in 2001 at Louisburg College; it was also produced at the Progress Energy (formerly BTI) Center for Performing Arts in Raleigh in 2002. Wayne, a native of Henderson, was the show's musical director.
Kearns joined GrassStreet in 2008, and his taste and timing on the dobro bring a smooth, powerful touch to the band. His lead and backup really set the mood on the slower songs, and his aggressive attack on the more upbeat songs embellish the band's hard-driving edge. Kearns cites Duane Allman, Jimmy Page, Jerry Douglas, and Josh Graves as the musicians who had the most influence on him.
Wayne's son, David, is a 2004 graduate of UNC Chapel Hill who minored in jazz studies. In 2003, the father-son duo released a CD titled Acoustic Pathways. David has been performing for more than 14 years and plays many styles of music with the acoustic and the electric bass. While at UNC, he was active in the jazz studies program, where he played upright bass with the UNC Jazz Band & Jazz Combos and is featured on their 2004 CD release, From One To Another. David grew up with bluegrass music and has followed his dad to bluegrass festivals since he was young. He developed his own love for bluegrass music as well as strong musicianship. His solid timing and varied musical influences contribute to GrassStreet's intense drive and unique sound. David cites his dad as his biggest musical influence. Some of his bass heroes are Tom Gray, Ray Brown, Christian McBride, Todd Phillips, Mark Schatz, and Jason Moore.
Hargis is no stranger to the bluegrass scene. He started playing music around the age of 7, learning to play the autoharp and banjo from a neighbor down the road. He has played with many local and regional bands such as Carolina Express, Younger Mountain Boys, Lovers of Gospel, New Classic Grass, and Second Chance. He can also be seen in the area filling in on banjo and bass with other local bands. His finesse and melodic banjo style add a unique dimension to the GrassStreet sound, and you can't help but smile while watching Hargis enjoy himself on stage.
The Music of the Carolinas series has attracted overflow crowds this season! The museum will issue free tickets to this performance on a first-come, first-served basis the day of the show. Tickets will be available at the table outside the auditorium at 2 p.m. (doors open at 2:45 p.m.) and will be issued to the first 311 people to arrive. Per fire marshal regulations, tickets must be presented before entering the auditorium.
This concert is part of the Music of the Carolinas Series, presented in partnership by the North Carolina Museum of History and PineCone, the Piedmont Council of Traditional Music. The Music of the Carolinas Series is sponsored by Williams Mullen and the NC Museum of History Associates, with in-kind media support from WLHC & WLQC Life 103.1.
Program notes will be provided at this concert, and large-print program notes are also available. For more information, please visit http://www.pinecone.org or http://www.ncmuseumofhistory.org.