Grass Cats

Location: R.A. Fountain

What we said:

Although the Grass Cats are often called a “Triangle-based band,” Alex Albright pointed out that most of the members live in eastern North Carolina, including their recently added bass player, Lloyd Herring, of Clinton.

Tim Woodall, a Cary resident who also co-hosts WQDR’s long-running Sunday night radio show “Pinecone Bluegrass,” teamed up with Russell Johnson to form the Grass Cats six years ago. Woodall has been playing banjo for over 30 years; he also plays pedal steel, bass, and guitar as a session musician.

Johnson, of Four Oaks, sings lead in the classic high-lonesome tenor that for many defines the genre. Bluegrass Unlimited has called him among the “first ranks of contemporary bluegrass singers.” His composition “Bluegrass Man” was the number one bluegrass song in the country for the Grass Cats in April and May of 2003. From 1989-2000, he was lead singer for New Vintage.

Snow Hill’s Chris Hill is the band’s fiddler. He played with Al Batten and Bluegrass Reunion for six years, and has also performed with Ralph Stanley, Mac Wiseman, and the Lewis Family.

Steven Martin, guitarist and vocalist, lives in Burlington. He performed with Carolina Drive and the Churchmen for six years. He sings lead and harmony, and also writes songs.

Two of the Grass Cats’ five CDs have made Bluegrass Unlimited‘s top ten charts. “They put on a great show,” said Albright. “They’re one of the biggest acts to come through Fountain. It’s especially nice to see local people doing so well on a national level and still playing venues like ours, where we can’t guarantee them anything like what they’re used to being paid.”

Tags: bluegrass, bluegrass gospel, Concert, new grass, original, tradtional bluegrass