High Ground Bluegrass

Location: R.A. Fountain

From our promo for this show:

High Ground Bluegrass Band Headlines 4-Day Music Run in Fountain

[Fountain, NC] High Ground Bluegrass, a quartet of veteran pickers from the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia, headlines a 4-day run of music at Fountain General Store this week. Their Saturday night concert of original and classic bluegrass music features the stellar mandolin playing of Jimmy Almarode, one of the best pickers in the state of Virginia.

Also playing in Fountain this week are Jarvis Street Bluegrass on Thursday night, west coast bluesman Andy Coats on Friday night, and a couple of traveling troubadours, Joe Wilson and Forever in Motion, on Sunday night.

High Ground, based out of the little Shenandoah Valley community of Mt. Sydney, was formed only a couple of years ago although its individual members have been playing bluegrass music collectively for over a hundred years. The band originated as a vehicle for two old friends, Larry Taylor and Rick Altis, to record a CD they’d wanted for years to make.

The critically-acclaimed result, Old Friends, was released in 2004. The band’s newest recording, A Game That I Can’t Win, consists of all original material. It was released just last month.

High Ground was named Artist of the Month on bluegrassradio.org in October 2005. Bluegrass Now magazine noted in its May 2006 issue that High Ground is “fast on the rise in the bluegrass music industry.”

Taylor grew up in the Blue Ridge Mountains near where his father had been displaced by the U.S. government in the 1930s for the formation of the Shenandoah National Park. A former member of the popular bluegrass band Virginia Run, he plays bass.

Altis, the band’s guitarist, writes much of their original material. He performed for 14 years with the Cabin Fever Band, which released two recordings in the 1980s.

Almarode has been one of the best-known mandolin players in the Shenandoah Valley for over 20 years. He first worked with Altis while with the Cabin Fever Band, and he has also played with Heather Berry and the Berry Pickers. When not picking on one of his two handmade mandolins, Almarode is the baseball coach at Stuart’s Draft High School.

Bryan Plemmons, who plays banjo, is a native of Greensboro, NC but grew up in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. He met Almarode while playing with Heather Berry, but before that he was for 10 years playing with Halls of Grass. He plays a 1929 Gibson Mastertone.

“We’re delighted to have a band of this caliber coming to Fountain,” said Alex Albright, Fountain General Store proprietor. “And we hope to give them a fine eastern Carolina welcoming.”

Tags: bluegrass, bluegrass gospel, Concert, tradtional bluegrass