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The Stephenson Brothers & Linda, one of eastern North Carolina's most
popular bluegrass bands, returns to R.A. Fountain, General Store and
Internet Café, for a concert of old-time bluegrass gospel music on Saturday,
The brothers, all natives of the Johnston County community of McGee's Crossroads, are poet and professor Shelby; barbecue baron Paul; and bluegrass legend Marshall. Linda is Shelby's wife. The band will be joined by an all-star cast of bluegrass talents, including Mike Langdon on bass, David Hamlet on Dobro, and Les Sandy on fiddle.
The Stephenson Brothers performed as teenagers with their father, who played clawhammer banjo, at community gatherings and for local square dances. But despite their early successes and love for old-time music, only Marshall has made a career of performing music.
From 1960-70, Marshall Stephenson was a regular performer with Homer Briarhopper and Clyde Moody, making over 2,000 appearances on television stations in Raleigh, Durham, and Wilmington. He started the Eastern North Carolina Bluegrass and Folk Festival in Angier in 1973 and staged it annually until 1980. Marshall has played with Benny Martin, Earl Scruggs, the Louvin Brothers, Allen Shelton, Roger Miller, Tater Tate, Clyde Mattocks, Little Red Rector, Dottie West, Hank Snow and many others.
In 2004, Marshall Stephenson released a tribute CD to Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs, which features a well-known cast of contemporary bluegrass performers. He performs regularly with his own band, the Dixie Mountain Boys, who will soon release their first CD. Marshall is also the host of the Bluegrass Train, broadcast every Sunday evening from 7-10 p.m. on 98.5 radio, "the Big Dawg."
Brother Shelby is the author of eight collections of poetry, including Possum, published last year. He is a professor of English at Pembroke State University, where he is also the editor of Pembroke Magazine. With Linda, he has released a Hank Williams tribute CD.
Brother Paul is the proprietor of Stephenson's Barbecue, outside of Benson. He is the band's comedian.
Mike Langdon is also bassist for Ted and the Tar Heel Boys. David Hamlet also plays dobro for White Pine Hollow.
Les Sandy, from Raeford, traveled and recorded with Bill Monroe. A master of many instruments, he learned fiddle from Vassar Clements in the late 1940s. He also traveled extensively with Jim and Jesse.
The Stephenson Brothers & Linda have released one CD, "Sing the Old Songs," which features a mix of traditional bluegrass, gospel, and country music. They have proved to be a popular attraction at R.A. Fountain, where they will be performing for the fourth time in the business's 5-month history.
This concert is at 7:30 p.m.; admission is $5.00.
R.A. Fountain, General Store and Internet Café, is located in historic downtown Fountain, at the intersection of US 258 and NC 222. It is a family-oriented venue, with no smoking or alcohol allowed. For more information, phone 252-749-3228.