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Bluegrass Express "In Our Own Words" Now Released

In Our Own WordsElizabeth, IL -- Plum River Records is proud to announce the release of “In Our Own Words” by Bluegrass Express. “In Our Own Words” features 12 all original tunes penned by members of Bluegrass Express. Bluegrass Express was formed in 1980 by the father - son team of Gary and Greg Underwood. The band has been in existence, and performed extensively ever since.

Featuring the tight harmony that can only be found in a family band along with the superbly proficient instrumentation, a live performance is certain to delight audiences of all ages.

Bluegrass Express includes band founder and patriarch Gary Underwood on guitar and vocals; Greg Underwood, whose credits include a stint with The Cox Family and a guest appearance with Charlie Louvin, on bass, guitar and vocals; multi-talented instrumentalist Jacob Underwood on banjo, mandolin, fiddle and vocals; and 2013 National Mandolin Champion and 2011 National Flatpicking Guitar Champion Andy Hatfield on mandolin and guitar.

Guests on the new project include super-fiddler Tim Crouch, mandolin virtuoso Sierra Hull, and up and coming vocalist Bethany Burie.

"'In Our Own Words' has something for everyone. You will find interesting songs, great picking and singing, and a devotion to their craft that sometimes only family bands can offer."
- Keith Garrett, guitarist and vocalist with “The Boxcars”

Bluegrass Express has performed from Michigan to Mississippi and all points in between.  Featuring the tight harmony that can only be found in a family band along with the superbly proficient  instrumentation, a live performance is certain to delight audiences of all ages.

Gary Underwood grew up in the tiny east central Illinois town of Custer Park. One of his earliest musical influences was the fiddle playing of a neighbor “Fiddy” Crater. Gary developed an interest in the fiddle at an early age and was hooked from then on. In the early stages of the band, Gary switched to guitar to handle a large portion of the vocals. He is still featured on occasion on the fiddle. Gary and his wife Sharon have three grown sons. Gary also repairs and restores old fiddles.

Greg Underwood is the product of a childhood filled with music.  As did his father, Greg garnered an interest in music at an early age.  By the time he was 12, he was playing the mandolin and singing.  Early in his career, Greg received “Most Promising Mandolin” and “Most Promising Male Vocalist” from SPBGMA (Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music in America).  Greg now handles the bass chores for the group as well as lead and harmony vocals.  He has written many of the songs performed by the band. Among his many credits, Greg has sang and performed with the late Charlie Louvin, and spent about two years touring with Asylum recording artists “The Cox Family” (O Brother Where Art Thou) playing bass with them.  Greg and his wife Michelle have four children; Jacob, Katie, Emily, and Jared.

Jacob Underwood began singing on stage at age three, and soon took an interest in the mandolin.  He began taking piano lessons at age five, but soon returned his focus to the mandolin and fiddle, winning his first fiddle contest at age ten.  In 2007, at age 11, He became a full time member of the band, replacing Jeff Midkiff on mandolin and fiddle. He is a multiple contest winner, including The Sandwich Fair Fiddle Contest (2006 & 2011) and Woodstock’s Harvest Fest mandolin contest (2010).  Most recently, he captured first place in the adult mandolin, fiddle, and banjo contests at Woodstock’s Harvest Fest in 2012.  He won the adult guitar contest at Woodstock in 2013. In 2013, Jacob also released his first solo CD “Grass Clippings” on which, he played all the instruments on all the cuts.  With the addition of Andy Hatfield, Jacob now handles most of the banjo chores, as well as playing fiddle.

Andy Hatfield is a creative musician and teacher from Peoria, IL.  Andy’s unique approach to the guitar draws on 20 years of studying and playing bluegrass, jazz, and R&B.  He is the 2013 National Mandolin Champion, as well as taking third place in the mandolin contest at the 2011 Walnut Valley Festival, and second place in 2012. He also won the National Flatpicking Guitar Championship at Walnut Valley in 2011. Andy has also been a guitar instructor at the Gold Award winning Kaufman Kamp. As a teacher, Andy is known for his creative teaching style, and for helping students to hone their individual gifts, and to sound good at any level.  Andy is a full time teacher with 55-65 students a week on guitar, mandolin, and banjo.

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