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"The Banjo Files" Review by Bluegrass Unlimited"

Thursday, June 9, 2016


Plum River

Underwood is a 19-year-old banjo picker who plays with the band Bluegrass Express. He’s helped here by some big name friends on this ten-track effort. He wrote four of the cuts, and they show his approach to bluegrass banjo. He’s about the melody and drive, but does not bowl the listener over with excessive speed. Timing is the thing. He is joined by Mike Scott on “Bully Of The Town” for a tasteful banjo romp. He handles a medium tempo pop evergreen, “When You’re Smiling,” with taste and restraint. Steve Thomas’ fiddling throughout the project borders on the sublime.

Underwood plays the mandolin and guitar with great flair as well. He is his own man with both instruments and stays clear of the cliches that riddle so many players’ work these days. The list of guest players is long here and includes Ron Stewart and Tim Crouch, fiddle, Sierra Hull on mandolin, Matt Wallace and Greg Underwood on bass, Justin Moses on resonator guitar, and Emily Hall on guitar. If your tastes run to solidly played, straight-ahead bluegrass, you should find lots to like on this project. (

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The Banjo Files Now Available

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Newest Music

Genre: Bluegrass
Playing Style: Bluegrass (Scruggs)

Genre: Bluegrass
Playing Style: Bluegrass (Scruggs)


Genre: Bluegrass
Playing Style: Bluegrass (Scruggs)

Genre: Bluegrass
Playing Style: Bluegrass (Scruggs)

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Newest Photos

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Playing Since: 1999
[Teaching] [Jamming] [Socializing] [Helping]

Occupation: Banjo / Fiddle / Mandolin / Vocals / Songwriting @ Bluegrass Express

Gender: Male
My Instruments:
Banjo (Bishline Cimarron, Gibson RB 250 Mastertone), Mandolin (Custom Weber Bitterroot), Fiddle (1800's Strad copy, 1920's German Strad, 1920's German Maggini, Hopf) , Guitar (Taylor 110), Bass

Favorite Bands/Musicians:
Bands: Jim & Jesse, The Osborne Brothers, Hot Rize, Lonesome River Band, The Boxcars, Country Gazette, Ronnie Reno & The Reno Tradition, David Parmley & Continental Divide, Lost & Found, Detour. Banjo Players: Sonny Osborne, Ron Stewart, Alison Brown, Alan Munde, Greg Cahill, Allen Shelton, Bobby Thompson, Mike Scott, Tim Ellis, Garland Shuping, Ron Block, Gene Parker, Lynwood Lunsford, Lloyd Douglas, J.D. Crowe, and obviously Earl Scruggs!

Classified Rating: not rated
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Profile Info:
Visible to: Public
Created 9/17/2012
Last Visit 7/21/2017

I learned my first mandolin chords from my dad when I was three years old. I also sang on stage for the first time when I was three. I began taking piano lessons when I was five, but I returned my focus to the mandolin and fiddle when I was about eight. When I was ten years old, I quit taking piano lessons and I got my first guitar. About a year later, Jeff Midkiff moved to Virginia, making and opening for a mandolin player in my dad and grandpa's band "Bluegrass Express." Several years later, I also started playing banjo. When Andy Hatfield joined the band in 2013, I switched over to playing banjo as my primary instrument so Andy could play mandolin. (Andy later won the 2013 National Mandolin Championship at the Walnut Valley Festival in Winfield, KS). Check out our website - - for our schedule and more info. Ya'll come and see us when you can!

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