Marshall Stephenson & the Bluegrass Train + Backroads

Location: R.A. Fountain

With Backroads opening.

Marshall brought one of his best bands ever to town tonight: Curtis Lee on fiddle, his wife, Ruth, on bass, Clyde Mattocks on Dobro, and Tim Myatt on banjo.

Opening act Backroads was ready to go by the time they finished their sound check at 7:05, so we got an extra half-hour or so of good music in, too. This is a band that keeps getting better & better.

From our promo for this concert:

Marshall Stephenson, the premier promoter of bluegrass in eastern North Carolina since the 1960s, has assembled another band of all-star pickers for his Fountain show. Featured will be Tim Myatt of Snow Hill on banjo, Clyde Mattocks of Kinston on Dobro, champion fiddler Curtis Lee, and his wife, Ruth, on bass. Stephenson, originally from McGee’s Crossroads, sings lead and plays guitar.

Stephenson has in the past 5 years recorded several bluegrass and traditional country music CDs with all-star bands. He hosts a weekly bluegrass program on radio 98.5 WDWG, “the Big Dawg,” out of Rocky Mount and regularly promotes shows throughout the region. “Marshall’s been performing and promoting bluegrass for over four decades,” said Alex Albright, R.A. Fountain proprietor. “He’s lived the history of bluegrass and country music, and he’s known and played with many of the pioneers of traditional music. He always brings a great group of musicians to town with him, but this might just be his best group yet.”

Curtis Lee, a native of Carson, Virginia, is a member of the Virginia Country Music Hall of Fame. He has won the Virginia state fiddling competition four times and has earned the Bascom Lamar Lunsford Trophy at the NC Folk Festival at the annual state fair. He traveled with Mac Wiseman and his band and has over his long career backed up Patsy Cline, Don Gibson and the Stonemans, among many others.

Ruth Lee, originally from Decatur, Indiana, is the band leader for the NC State Fair Folk Festival, where she has also won the Bascom Lamar Lunsford trophy. She is a former president of the National Clogging and Hoedown Council and has danced and taught clogging and judged clogging competitions throughout the United States and England. 

Tim Myatt is generally regarded as the best banjo picker in eastern NC. Clyde Mattocks is one of the most sought-after session men in the southeast as well as an outstanding performer with several bands. He co-founded SuperGrit Cowboy Band, which he still fronts, and has in recent years organized Without Further Ado, a country band that showcases the singing of Jessica Gardner. He also has a bluegrass band, Highway 58, that’s one of the best in the region.

Backroads, which has hosted several bluegrass jams at Fountain, has turned into one of the best young bluegrass bands in the region, said Albright. “Beth Lamm’s got a great voice,” he added, “and Mike Sugg has become a really fine mandolin picker, too.”

Tags: bluegrass gospel, classic, country, tradtional bluegrass