A native of Grundy, Virginia, Kevin Prater picked mandolin for bluegrass legend James King for 12 years before setting off with his own band in 2009. He told Bill Conger for a Bluegrass Unlimited profile that, as a youngster, he first started picking guitar before adding banjo, mandolin, and bass to his skill set: “I would put myself in my bedroom with the banjo, guitar, or whatever, and I would sit in there for hours at a time.”
He also recalled having an 8-track of Flatt & Scruggs’ Foggy Mountain Banjo album: “I had that tape in the old stereo that stood at the end of our hallway. It would play over and over and over and the channels would click, and the other three songs would come on. I’d just stand over that bass and play over and over and never stop. Finally, Mother took all of it she could take, and she just smashed it. I about drove her crazy with it.”
Prior to joining up with King, he played banjo and mandolin with Jerry Williamson and Redwing.
Prater’s high energy sets performed with talented pickers have been treats for us in Fountain, where we get him booked as we can when he’s en route from his current eastern Kentucky home to a bigger gig.
Conger, Bill. “Kevin Prater: Living the Dream. Bluegrass Unlimited. July 2015: 30-32. Buy it.