Without a doubt, the bluegrass supergroup, The Seldom Scene is Washington DC’s favorite bluegrass band (originally from Bethesda, MD), but don’t think of this legendary band as a regional band. With a body of work stretching back over 48 years, formed of independent musicians and as an offshoot of The Country Gentlemen, this band has included early collaborations with Emmy Lou Harris, Linda Ronstadt and Jonathan Edwards. They are easily one of the most recognizable bands on the circuit today with fans located all over the world. In 2007, they were nominated for a Grammy for their release, SCENEchronised. They recently signed with Rounder Records (November 2017) for their next CD.
Charlie Waller, is credited with naming the band. Expressing his doubt that this new band could succeed, Waller reportedly asked fellow musician, John Duffey, “What are you going to call yourselves, the seldom seen?” The private joke was that there’s an old adage in bluegrass: "Don't give up your day job." The budding group took this to heart, taking gigs on a weekly basis, supplementing their other obligations. What's now known is that what they initially lacked in show frequency, they made up in decades of activity and now are featured nationally with plentiful tour dates.
As one of the first bluegrass bands to embrace a non-traditional approach, “progressive bluegrass,” they stretched the boundaries of what was acceptable by embracing artists such as Bob Dylan, James Taylor, and the Grateful Dead while mixing it up with Merle Haggard and traditional tunes as well. As it was from the beginning days with signature tenor singer John Duffey, the band is still known for its soaring, incredibly tight, vocal gymnastics.
Today the band features Rickie Simpkins on banjo, Dudley Connell on guitar (formerly of the Johnson Mt. Boys), Fred Travers on dobro, Lou Reid on mandolin (formerly with Ricky Skaggs) and Ronnie Simpkins on bass (formerly with The Tony Rice Unit). Sometimes irreverent, always entertaining, the Scene’s legend continues growing into the 21st century.
You can catch The Seldom Scene tonight at The 8x10 tonight, 7pm. Tickets are available at https://bit.ly/2Uf0d34.