Alan Bibey - Mandolin
Since first hitting the scene in the early 1980’s, Alan has made a name for himself as one of the most technically gifted mandolinist in bluegrass and acoustic music. He was an original member of such ground-breaking bands as The New
Quicksilver, IIIrd Time Out, BlueRidge and, for the last 12 years, Alan Bibey & Grasstowne. He has been voted Mandolin Performer Of The Year by SPBGMA six times, including 2018, 2019 and just recently the 2020 title. Alan also won 2019 and 2020 IBMA Mandolin Player Of The Year as well as “Gospel Song Of The Year” for “Gonna Rise & Shine”. He had won previously for Instrumental Album Of The Year, Album Of The Year and Recorded Event Of The Year, just to name a few.
Alan Bibey & Grasstowne’s latest single “Hitchhiking To California”, on Billy Blue Records, has already been a #1 hit. Their new album titled “Hitchhiking To California” will be released January 29, 2021. Alan was included in the Mel Bay
book, “Greatest Mandolin Players Of The Twentieth Century”, and in 2004, the Gibson Company put into production the Alan Bibey Signature line of mandolins, reaffirming his status as one of the most influential mandolin players in Bluegrass and acoustic music history.
He started playing music at the age of 7, when his father, a banjo player, bought a bass for his mother. Soon Zak fell in love with the bass and his father taught him a few notes and encouraged him to play. Zak studied under a classical bassist once a week for three years and learned the fundamentals of playing, then took the formal knowledge that he gained and applied it to his true musical love, Bluegrass.
Zak started playing music with his parents in a local group, The Tony McLamb Band, in 1988, and continues to play with them today. He joined the Raleigh-based New Vintage Bluegrass Band in 1992 and played with them for two of his high school years. It was during this time that New Vintage won both the SPBGMA International Band Championship and the Pizza Hut International Bluegrass Showdown. Zak has recorded with many different artist in recent years and is considered one of the top bass players in the industry. We are happy to have Zak as a partner in Alan Bibey and Grasstowne!
Zak McLamb - Bass
Tony Watt - Guitar
Award-winning flatpicking guitarist Tony Watt has performed throughout the United States and Europe, on the Grand Ole Opry, and beyond. He has been featured in Bluegrass Unlimited, Bluegrass Now, and four separate times in Flatpicking Guitar Magazine, but is perhaps best known for his version of Cherokee Shuffle on YouTube with Noam Pikelny and Andy Falco, which has been viewed roughly 200,000 times.
Tony has toured with Rounder Recording artist Alecia Nugent, with Leigh Gibson, guitarist for The Gibson Brothers, and with Jenni Lyn Gardner, mandolinist for Della Mae. He is a graduate of Leadership Bluegrass, has served on the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) Education Committee and the IBMA Board Selection Committee, and is currently the Vice President and Education Co-Director of the Boston Bluegrass Union (BBU).
Tony has taught bluegrass for over 20 years and is a visiting artist at the Berklee College of Music's prestigious American Roots Music Program. He is also the Camp Coordinator for Ashokan's Bluegrass Camp (Ashokan.org/Bluegrass-Camp), and Ashokan's First-Ever Flatpicking Camp. Tony is also the director of The Bluegrass University, which has offered classes for adult beginners at many of the largest bluegrass festivals in the Northeast. The Bluegrass University also presents JamVember, a weekend-long bluegrass jamming "non-festival" held the weekend before Thanksgiving at the Sheraton in Framingham, MA (JamVember.com). Tony currently teaches lessons, classes, workshops, and jam sessions throughout the Boston area and anywhere in the world online via Skype video conferencing (further details at TonyWattBluegrass.com)
Justin Jenkins has been playing banjo since the age of 8. He was introduced to the banjo when a man he went to church with played in a small gospel band. The man just so happened to live just a short distance from Justin and he began taking lessons. At the age of 12 he was invited to become a regular member of the Renfro Valley barn dance where he performed every Friday and Saturday night until he graduated from high school. While he was at Renfro Valley he became friends with Bobby Slone who was also a regular member of the barn dance and played with J.D. Crowe for 20 years. He also became good friends with Steve Gulley who performed there prior to Justin. Through Steve, he got his first travelling job with a band from east Tennessee, Blue Moon Rising. He spent 5 years with the band and recorded on 2 albums. From there Justin joined Grasstowne where he has been for the better part of 9 years now. Justin spent a short time with the band American Drive, and also has toured some with Kenny and Amanda Smith, as well as doing a few select shows with Blue Moon Rising. But he has always considered Grasstowne his home and is honored to be apart of such a great band with great people.