Saturday, October 14, 2017
High Country is one of the best Bluegrass Bands around. Great players, all, they carry the torch of Bill Monroe, and create a true bluegrass experience, with old traditional songs and new original music. Here are the guys:
Butch Waller is High Country’s leader and emcee. Butch was one of the first to play professional bluegrass in Northern California and formed the band in 1968. His distinct mandolin playing, firmly grounded in the Monroe style, shines through strong bluesy downstrokes and vibrant tremolos. Butch sings lead and baritone and also contributes many of the band’s original songs and mandolin instrumentals.
Larry Cohea has been with the group from nearly tghe beginning. His genuine enthusiasm for music and life pervades his energetic banjo work, which spurs the band’s hard-driving sound. Larry’s dedication to the bano and bluegrass began when, as a kid he watched the daily telecast of the Flatt & Scruggs show at his home in Springfield, Tennessee. He is featured on ed and tenor voices.
Jim Mintun is a welcome addition wherever bluegrass players convene as he brings with him a vast repertoire of songs, along with a soaring bluegrass voice of the high lonesome variety, singing either the lead or tenor part with equal vigor. Jim’s gritty, zestful approach to the dobro never ceases to delight audiences, and his song writing is a key ingredient in the band’s personalized stamp on the genre.
Tom Bekeny, High Country’s fiddle player, is well known to many bluegrass enthusiasts for his mandolin work with a number of California bands. As a fiddler, Tom’s powerful bowing and inspired interpretations of traditional fiddle solos explode with bluegrass sentiment. Occasionally Tom will line up with Butch for some dazzling mandolin duets that leave the stage smoking. Tom is also a talented and heartfelt singer in his own right, at home with any part, including bass on the gospel quartets.
Glenn Dauphin anchors the band with his solid, dynamic bass playing and inspired singing. Glenn is possessed of a clear, soulful bluegrass voice and ably handles the lead, tenor or baritone part with equal enthusiasm. He is also a songwriter of high regard and his finely crafted compositions are a lively addition to High Country’s repertoire.
Bob Waller, rock solid guitarist, lead and tenor singer, and Butch’s younger brother, is a veteran bluegrasser, having cut his teeth with a number of groups both in the Bay Area and in Seattle. Bob and Butch zero in on the close harmony sound that is the gift of siblings, and is reminiscent of the brother duets of bluegrass and country music past and present.