Bluegrass & Beyond current lineup on-stage at the Merry Go Round
The Making of a Band
The Bluegrass & Beyond band was formed in January of 2002. While performing mostly traditional bluegrass and bluegrass gospel music, the band sometimes wanders off the bluegrass path and plays what we call 'Beyond' tunes. These are tunes that most everyone knows from other areas of music such as rock & roll or country played with a bluegrass twist. Songs such as Seven Bridges Road, King of the Road, Under the Boardwalk, and Margaritaville have proven to be real crowd pleasers mixed in with the more traditional fare.
The band performs all over Northwest North Carolina, Southwest Virginia, and Southeast West Virginia. Some of the more prominent venues are the 'Blueridge Backroads Show' on WBRF 98.1 FM radio, the 'Merry-Go-Round' show on WPAQ 740 AM radio, Applewood Music Park in Cana, VA, and Christopher's Pizza in Meadows of Dan, VA.
Original Band backstage at the Andy Griffith Playhouse
Bluegrass & Beyond still has three of the founding members (Ted Turner, Jim Scott, and Randy Culler) with the fourth (Chris Comer) retiring due to health problems. We were fortunate to pick up our current fourth member (Jake Robertson) in December 2004.
Before actually forming a band, Ted, Jim, and Chris travelled down the mountain to a jam session in Mount Airy, NC mostly just for fun but with an eye out for banjo pickers. They ran into Eric Marshall of the Marshall Brothers band who played a few tunes with them. When he found out they needed a banjo player, Eric told them to call Randy Culler. Despite another jam session participant telling them "I know what you want in a banjo picker, and Randy's not it" they took a chance and called him anyway. While it wasn't a perfect match to start with, the potential was clearly there. After a few jam sessions and a lot of fun we never looked back. Bluegrass & Beyond was born!
In late 2003, Chris decided he could no longer keep up with the band because of increasing health problems, so the search was on for a bass player that could sing like a girl. We tried out several excellent bass players, but couldn't find anyone with the right mix of bass style and vocals. Finally, Randy remembered a bass player he had met at a party the previous summer who sang tenor to a mix of folk and rock (we're talking Simon & Garfunkel). He contacted Jake Robertson and asked him if he'd be interested in playing some bluegrass. It turned out Jake had played some bluegrass in the past and was ready to give it another try. We invited Jake over for a jam session, and it didn't take us long to realize that we had found our bass player.