The Nashville Bluegrass Band will be coming to the 2014 Grange Fair on Aug. 23 accompanied by many accolades.
“We were offered a gainful opportunity to perform at the Grange Fair, which we greatly appreciate,” band member Alyn O’Bryant said, “and look forward to performing with all the current longtime members of the Nashville Bluegrass Band and playing for an audience of fairgoers who may be old friends and fans or may not be familiar with NBB or bluegrass at all, perhaps hearing us for the first time.”
The group has two Grammy Award-winning albums and two Entertainer of the Year honors from the International Bluegrass Music Association and has been selected as the IBMA Vocal Group of the Year four times.
The band, which formed in 1984 to support a tour by country musician Vernon Oxford, is made up of O’Bryant on banjo and vocals; Pat Enright on guitar vocals; Mike Compton on mandolin and vocals; Stuart Duncan on fiddle and vocals; and Andy Todd on bass and vocals.
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“We all started playing bluegrass as teenagers, some earlier, and have been performing for audiences in some capacity since that age,” O’Bryant said. “I moved to Nashville after graduating high school in ’74 and took my first ‘professional’ job in ’75 while attending college and have been playing professionally ever since.”
O’Bryant, Enright and Compton were founders; Duncan came along not long after. Todd joined in 2005.
The group has remained mostly the same throughout the years, with several bass players changing hands. The biggest change was a stretch when Compton was replaced by Roland White. But Compton returned to the band a few years ago.
Each member brings his own sound and character to the band “while supporting the essential NBB swing,” the band states on its website.
“I would call NBB a traditionally based, all-acoustic bluegrass band with a developed original approach and a uniquely identifiable sound,” O’Bryant said.
The Nashville Bluegrass Band has played in a variety of venues. They’ve performed at the White House and around the world, including shows in China, Iraq, Bangladesh and Bahrain. The band also has played for a crowd at Carnegie Hall in New York City.
For O’Bryant, music stole his heart early on.
Specifically, Bill Monroe influenced O’Bryant heavily when he visited Bean Blossom for the first time at 17.
“I was just a country boy off the farm, but I was totally enthralled,” O’Bryant said. “It was amazing to watch and listen to him sing. Then I’d hear Kenny Baker. Makes you want to play music for the rest of your life.”