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The Johnson Mountain Boys

During the 1980s, the Johnson Mountain Boys were contemporary masters of traditional bluegrass music who remained faithful to the old styles while keeping the songs fresh and original. The band was founded in the suburbs of Washington, D.C., by vocalist/banjoist/guitarist Dudley Connell, banjoist Richie Underwood, mandolinist David McLaughlin, fiddler Eddie Stubbs, and Larry Robbins on bass. The personnel changed over the years, but the group's sound remained consistent. The Johnson Mountain Boys made their recording debut with a single in late 1978; an EP soon followed and helped build a loyal audience in the D.C. area. They became festival favorites after the release of their self-titled debut. Their second album, Walls of Time, came out in 1982 and featured Connell, McLaughlin, Stubbs, and vocalist/banjoist Tom Adams. The same lineup recorded four more albums for Rounder during the early '80s. In 1986 Robbins departed and was replaced by Marshall Wilborn; Underwood left soon after, to be officially replaced by the mandolinist Adams. In 1988, the Johnson Mountain Boys announced that they planned to retire after a farewell concert in Lucketts, VA. Two years later, the Boys reunited briefly to play two festivals. But the reunions were so successful that the band basically reconstituted itself. The Blue Diamond LP appeared in 1993, followed by a live recording. By 1997's Working Close, Underwood had returned to the fold.
© Johnny Loftus /TiVo
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