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August 5, 2010     Tri-County News
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August 5, 2010

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The Rarely Herd is known around the globe as one of the premier groups in bluegrass music. In addition to receiving over 120 national, interna- tional and regional awards and nominations, The Herd was named one of Europe's 'Top 3 Best New Bands' and have been featured on CMT, TNN and Japan's network giant NHK-TV. In 2003, The Rarely Herd received the Grand Masters Gold Award at the National Bluegrass Music Awards in Nashville, Tennessee. This was given to The Herd in honor of their 10 consecutive wins as 'Entertaining Band of the Year' a feat unequaled in the history of these awards. Among their long list of accolades are also a Gospel Music Association 'Dove' Award nomination and an IBMA 'Gospel Recording of the Year' nomination. Beginning in 1992 with 'Midnight Loneliness', the first of seven internationally released albums, The Rarely Herd has consistently appeared on National and International music charts. Recently, a single from their CD, 'Return Journey' has chart- ed in the Top Ten Bluegrass charts. The Herd's stellar musicianship and vocals are equaled only by their captivating stage performances. Uproarious comedy and top-notch music make a Rarely Herd performance a must-see event for the entire family! Jim Stack is from Albany, OH and han- dles the guitar and lead vocals. Jim is among the finest and most unique vocalists work- ing today. As proof, at the 1993 and 1995 SPBG MA Midwest Awards, Jim was voted "Contemporary Male Vocalist of the Year". He also provides solid, powerful, acoustic rhythm guitar for the band, as evidenced by his 1994 and 1995 SPBGMA Midwest "Guitar Player of the Year". With a vocal range of three octaves Jim has the reputation of being one of the "Best Vocalists in Bluegrass"...even stated so by his peers. Jeff Weaver is from Athens, OH and creates a solid foundation on the Bass. As front man, he has just the right approach to gain the audience's support and keep them on the edge of their seat. Being named National "Entertainer of the Year" at the 1997 and 2000 National SPBGMA Awards, and the same at the 1992, 1993, and 1994 Midwest Awards Convention confirms his abilities. Jeff is also a fine songwriter and widely recognized as such. Although he also possesses a vocal range of over three octaves, Jeff is most recognized for his distinctive tenor voice that adds to the uniqueness of The Rarely Herd's vocals. Todd Sams is from Shade, OH and is consid- ered an original member of The Herd, Todd not only performed the first several shows (1987), but he has sat in on many tours when other members could not make it. Todd is an accomplished multi- instrumentalist, very talented on the banjo, man- dolin and guitar. Todd adds the banjo, mandolin and guitar to The Herd's current stage. His guitar work is both passionate and strong as discovered on the Gospel works. Brandon Shuping plays mandolin and makes his home in Williamson, WV. Born in Florida and raised in North Carolina, Brandon was born into a musical family that was dedicated to bluegrass tradition. His father, the late Garland Shuping was a well respected banjo player who played in the late 70's with Jim and Jesse among others. By the age of 12, Brandon was playing upright bass with his mother and father and well on his way to becoming the well respected musician he is today. Brandon has been working full time towards a degree in Social Studies Education at West Virginia State University. As resophonic guitarist, Chris Stockwell con- siders himself very blessed to have been around music his entire life. Growing up tn the West Virginia mountains, Chris started singing at an early age, advanced to percussion at 12, and then receiving his first guitar at 15. Chris' interest in the resophonic guitar came in 2002, and instru- ment that he says "pretty much changed my life". Before traveling with The Rarely Herd, Chris was a member of the Johnny Staats Project and Honi Deaton and Dream. Recording or Performing on stage with such artists as Lou Reid And Carolina, Doug and Shelley Harper, Pinmonkey, Ron Sowell, The Mountain Stage Band, Step into the Blue, Drew Emmitt Band, South Ridge, Rush Hour, Shawvers Crossing, 3rd String, Chet Lowther, Matt Walker, Bobby Maynard, The West Virginia Symphony Orchestra, Randy Kohrs, Ernie Thacker, Midnight Ramblers, The Dillards, Barry Scott and Second Wind, Tim O'Brien, Whiskey and Grass, Peggy Ratusz, Joshua Singleton and many others. This is the story of Southern Reign, Iowa's premier traditional bluegrass band. Based out of the East Side of Des Moines (the side for singing bluegrass from the heart), Southern Reign has brought the ring of the five string banjo and the high lonesome harmony of traditional, bluegrass music to this region for ten years by name, and for over thirty years as members of other groups around Iowa and Missouri. Southern Reign are Cindie and Larry Beem (guitar and banjo), Tabitha Hood (bass), and Mark Hargrove (mandolin). Their attitude about bluegrass is that it starts with clear strong harmony, adds the sounds of crisp bluegrass instruments, and finishes with tight arrangements sur- rounding great picking. They think a lot about Ralph Stanley, Jimmy Martin, Bill Monroe, the Osborne Brothers, and JD Crowe. They enjoy nothing more than a bluegrass festival with plenty of time to sit around and pick. Their philosophy is, "You don't choose music, it chooses yOU." PAGE 12