CD-190 Carolina Native Sons "Rank Ol' Bluegrass"
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I've known Clarence Greene as long as I can remember. I grew up in the Sugar Loaf section of Alexander County, just outside of Taylorsville, North Carolina. As a kid, my dad would take me with him when he went to Clarence's house to pick. Clarence lived in the neighboring county of Caldwell, in the little town of Hudson, North Carolina. Together, these were master musicians who could play bluegrass as well as it could be played. However, when they got together they would invariably focus on a different sort of material, songs not filled with hot licks and wailing vocals, but quiet intensity and overwhelming mournfulness. Songs that would give me chills. Two of these songs have found their way into this collection, Snow Covered Mound and Last Old Shovel.
In the early nineties Clarence Greene got a call from Sandy Austin, who lived in the little town of Bethlehem in Alexander County. She was looking for someone to give fiddle lessons to her 9 year old grandson, Nate Leath. Clarence, being an accomplished instrumentalist who could play anything with strings, took the young boy on as a student. He quickly found he had a prodigy on his hands. As Clarence says, "I taught him everything I knew, and then I knew it was time for him to move on." And move on he did. To countless fiddle championships around the country and eventually the Berklee College of Music. Now Nate's genius can be heard with the band Old School Freight Train, as well as in his own recordings and performances. Today Nate says, "I learned everything I know about bluegrass soul from Clarence." When you listen to Nate's playing on this recording, you will realize what a statement that is. It wasn't until I started school that I realized everybody didn't listen to the Stanley Brothers, or the Louvin Brothers, or Flatt and Scruggs. In my father's house these sounds were omnipresent, and I just assumed they were in everyone else's house as well. My summers were spent in a rusty old van going to and from bluegrass festivals with my dad, and falling asleep on the ground to the sound of his dobro. I'm supposed to tell you now how great my dad is, how many awards he's won and how many important people he's played with. But just listen to the record -- his dobro playing speaks for itself. Instead I will use this space to thank my dad, Donald Scott, for exposing me to this music since before I can remember. It has been my good fortune to know and play with these gentlemen. My dad gave me my first mandolin and with it the opportunity to participate in the music I had been hearing since I was a kid. Every opportunity I have had to play with any of these men has been a learning experience, and I'm grateful for their company and their tutelage. It is my honor to be included with the Carolina Native Sons.
The Carolina Native Sons would like to thank Mark Delaney (banjo) and Neil Knicely (bass) for their stellar contributions to this recording. Both are outstanding musicians and good friends, and are hereby honorary Carolinians. Joseph Scott