In my last Music Notes column I raved about Kid Drew and the Brassholes, a local rock ‘n’ roll act that far too few people know about or make the effort to see. This week I will rave as equally hard about Alan Bibey and Common Ground, performing at Creek Ratz in Murrells Inlet Aug 21.
We play all kinds of music for these types of gigs; some country covers, originals, Marvin Gaye, Nickel Creek, Miranda Lambert, all stripped down to acoustic versions.
The Grammy-nominated, award-winning multi instrumentalist Alan Bibey, who lives in Surfside Beach when he’s not on the road, is a darling of bluegrass and modern acoustic music lovers from around the world. Originally from North Carolina, he’s won multiple awards for songwriting and mandolin performance, with countless accolades from industry insiders and fans alike.
Bibey’s touring bluegrass act, Grasstowne, mixes traditional bluegrass with a contemporary edge, which has helped him build a legion of fans of all ages. Performing professionally since he was a teenager, Bibey has shared stages with almost every legendary bluegrass band and crossover bluegrass/country artist touring.
Today he plays festivals, corporate shows, teaches at workshops and mandolin camps, is a guest lecturer at the Berklee School of Music, and is another one of those Grand Strand musicians whose performances are well worth seeking out.
“Ricky Skaggs is writing the liner notes for our new Grasstowne album,” beamed Bibey from his home studio, Maggie’s Crib, in Surfside Beach. “He’s always been one of my favorites.” Skaggs was in town last weekend and Bibey had been looking forward to catching up with his old friend.
Bibey goes quietly about his life here at the beach, and enjoys taking the opportunity to occasionally play locally for “something different to do.”
His four-piece act, Common Ground, features Bibey (mandolin, mandocaster, vocals) and three players from the Charleston area: Laura Macon (guitar/vocals), Melvin Cumbree (banjo) and Jenny Wellington (bass).
“We play all kinds of music for these types of gigs; some country covers, originals, Marvin Gaye, Nickel Creek, Miranda Lambert, all stripped down to acoustic versions.”
Grasstowne will release its fourth studio album, “Grasstowne 4,” on Oct. 2.
“We recorded some in Nashville, and some here at my studio in Surfside.” The first two pre-released singles both went to No. 1 on a number of bluegrass charts.
“In Common Ground we use traditional bluegrass instrumentation, but don’t play a lot of traditional bluegrass music– we play some – but we mix it up, and do a lot of original material, some jazz, too.”
Grasstowne occasionally plays festivals in the area, but it’s far more likely to catch Bibey in a Common Ground performance, but even those are few and far between. Don’t miss this opportunity to see these world-class player featuring one of the best mandolin players ever. Ever.
Singing for charity
The American Cancer Society is hosting a monthlong contest at a variety of local bars in Conway, Murrells Inlet and Myrtle Beach. The overall winner will receive thousands of dollars worth of studio time, a performance slot at Legends in Concert, and even a mini-Segway. Contestants must be 16 older, and no professional singers allowed. If you’re in band, singing for your supper every week, then you are not eligible. Contest details may be found at www.thevocalistchallenge.com.