Long before the Old Rock School became a popular stop for Bluegrass touring artists, hardcore fans of the genre knew the small town of Valdese, NC as the home of the legendary George Shuffler. Born on April 11, 1925, Shuffler is one of the most beloved and influential sidemen of Bluegrass’ first generation. His contributions to the bluegrass music include his “walking” style of playing the bass, and even more significant, his cross-picking style of guitar playing.
"The Boy From Valdese" was written for the 2013 release Songs From Burke County, the third in an ongoing series of North Carolina history projects by Buddy Melton, Milan Miller, and Mark W. Winchester. Although the target audience was history buffs, "The Boy From Valdese" began to receive high marks from members of the Bluegrass community.
This new recording of the song features old friends and long-time collaborators Buddy Melton (Lead Vocals) and Milan Miller (Guitar, Baritone Vocals), with special guests Terry Baucom (Banjo), Carl Jackson (Tenor Vocals), Ron Shuffler (Upright Bass), and Adam Steffey (Mandolin). In just over three minutes, the song takes the listener on a journey that begins with Shuffler’s early days learning to play guitar, through his induction into the Bluegrass Hall of Fame in 2011. The end result is a fitting tribute to a man who helped introduce the acoustic guitar as a lead instrument in Bluegrass music.
A free download of the song is available at: SoundCloud.com.
George toured 20 years with the Stanley Brothers where he developed his unique cross picking guitar style that has been a big influence to many musicians. He was inducted into the International Bluegrass Music Association’s Hall of Fame in 2011 and was a
recipient of the North Carolina Heritage Award in 2007. In 2011, Shuffler was inducted into the International Bluegrass Music Association's Hall of Fame along with Del McCoury. George Shuffler’s influences in bluegrass are as an innovative bass player, guitar stylist and featured vocalist and humorist, primarily as a sideman in some of the most important bands in the music’s history.
Known as an accomplished fiddler with a seemingly endless vocal range, Buddy Melton is a founding member of the bluegrass super-group Balsam Range. Along with producing a string of chart-topping hits across their four albums, the band took home the coveted Song of the Year award at the 2011 International Bluegrass Music Awards (IBMA) for their single Trains I Missed, and won the 2013 IBMA trophy for Album of the Year. The band’s fifth album is slated for release on the Mountain Home Music label in the summer of 2014.
Milan Miller grew up in Waynesville, NC, but moved to Nashville, TN, in 1999. Able to wear many hats, his talents as a multi-instrumentalist have enabled him to work with a variety of major label artists, but fans of Bluegrass perhaps know him best for his songwriting credits that include Caney Fork River and Papertown by Balsam Range, Pretty Little Girl From Galax by Russell Moore and IIIrd Tyme Out, and Terry Baucom’s award-winning What’ll I Do. Career highlights include numerous appearances on the Grand Ole Opry, being featured in Guitar Player magazine, and receiving nominations for Bluegrass Song of the Year in 2012 and 2013 from the IBMA.