Big Country Bluegrass celebrated another milestone this week as the band was formed 27 years ago. Big Country Bluegrass delivers their own hard driving and heartfelt style of bluegrass music, and it makes them crowd favorites wherever they perform. Tommy and Teresa Sells formed Big Country Bluegrass in the late 1980s, and the group's name comes from the instrumental "Big Country" that the late Jimmy Martin recorded many years ago.
Whether it's at a festival in Missouri, on the stage of the Grand Ole Opry, or at a small intimate concert in their hometown of Independence, Virginia, the band brings back memories reminiscent of the early days of bluegrass music.
All band members live in and around the Virginia-Carolina Blue Ridge, and their music reflects much of the deep musical heritage found in this region which is at the heart of the Crooked Road Music Trail.
Tommy plays mandolin and does most of the emcee work while Teresa plays rhythm guitar, sings lead and the high harmony vocals. Eddie Gill handles most of the distinctive lead vocals and plays the guitar. Lynwood Lunsford, a former member of both Lost and Found and Jimmy Martin's Sunny Mountain Boys, plays banjo and also sings harmony for the group. Tony King of Galax, Virginia, plays the acoustic upright bass, and bluegrass veteran Tim Laughlin, of Bristol, Tennessee, plays fiddle and sings harmony with the band.
The recent success of Big Country Bluegrass on the bluegrass charts has helped spread the word about their traditional sound. The current lineup is Tommy Sells & Teresa Sells, Lynwood Lunsford, Tony King, Eddie Gill, and Tim Laughlin.
Big Country Bluegrass plays music that has become known to many as Galax or Mt. Airy style bluegrass. It is straight ahead, hard edged bluegrass with no frills. The rhythm and timing are solid, the instrumental work is clean and tasteful, and the vocals are from the heart.
The band has released over a dozen albums and CDs over the years. Their latest release, Memories of the Past, has garnered the prestigious #3 song on the Bluegrass Unlimited Top 30 chart. The song is titled, "Putting on my Leaving Shoes", penned by Tom T & Dixie Hall and Troy Engle. For more information on the band, go to http://www.bigcountrybluegrass.com/.