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Wrong Turn That Led Me To You from Wilson Banjo Co Posted on November 13, 2020 By John Lawless 

Steve Wilson is a pretty smart guy. He has a pair of bluegrass-related business, and he calls them both by the same name –Wilson Banjo Co. Anytime he is promoting one, the other gets mentioned at the same time. Plus he was bright enough to marry a bluegrass publicist and booking agent, so he’s got the whole thing at home. 

One is a banjo building enterprise, using skills Wilson developed working for some time at the Gibson Custom Shop in Nashville. The other is his bluegrass band, with him on banjo, talents he has displayed working with artists like Dale Ann Bradley and Deeper Shade of Blue. 

The band has had a string of members over the years, with Steve as the primary constant. So for their next album, Six Degrees of Separation, Wilson has brought in a number of the people he has played with over the years, giving the record something of an all-star feel. 

A debut single has been released on Pinecastle Records, Wrong Turn That Led Me To You, one Steve wrote, featuring Colton Rudd on lead vocal. 

Steve says that all the tracks on the new record are close to him. 

“This album has a special meaning, in that I have included brilliant musicians and vocalists that I have worked with under all of the many hats I wear. Rather than a ‘band’ album, we refer to it as a ‘Company’ release! 

I have been so privileged to be in the BEST company for the last eight years and it has continued to this day! With my bluegrass family, I have recorded albums for and with them, built banjos for them and been blessed to share a stage with them. The new record called, Six Degrees of Separation, not only boasts amazing artists, but you will also enjoy a broad scope of music and something for everyone. 

Bluegrass is a small world and we are all or will all connect at some point in our careers! I believe it!” 

With Steve on banjo and Colton on the lead vocal, the ‘Company’ is Richard Bennet on guitar, Glen Crain on reso-guitar, Blake Young on mandolin, and Porkchop Branch on bass.

Wrong Turn That Led Me To You is available wherever you stream or download music online. Radio programmers can find the track at AirPlay Direct.

Steve Wilson to Deeper Shade Of Blue on banjo Posted on May 22, 2020 By John Lawless 

Following the surprise retirement of banjo player Jim Fraley earlier this month, Deeper Shade Of Blue has announced that Steve Wilson of Westminster, SC will become their new five string man. 

It wasn’t a tough choice for the group, as Steve has been their go-to fill-in guy for the past year and a half. He knows the material, and the guys, and everyone gets along well together. 

Wilson says that he is ready to take on this position, knowing he has big shoes to fill. 

“I am very excited about what the future holds with these guys and humbled to have been chosen to step in where such an iconic musician is taking his exit. Jimmy Fraley has been a staple in not just this band, but the bluegrass music community as a whole and that is not something I take lightly. I’m looking forward to continuing forward with Deeper Shade, making great records and playing fun shows. This is a great fit for me as a banjo player and for my life.” 

Steve is a busy guy in the bluegrass world. In addition to playing the banjo, he builds custom professional instruments as Wilson Banjo Company, utilizing skills he developed working in the Gibson Custom Shop. He had also founded a band with that same name, initially formed to showcase the sound of his banjos, but which has since become a popular performing group on its own. Then there is the recording studio where he produces and engineers bluegrass projects in South Carolina. 

Though much of this season’s shows have been cancelled, Deeper Shade Of Blue is eager to get back out on stage, and anticipates seeing their fans and friends when live music picks back up in the near future. There are also plans to start work on a new album with Mountain Fever Records sometime later this year. 

 

NC BanjoFest makes its mark in the dark Posted on November 25, 2019 By Sandy Hatley 

The show must go on and it did, despite a two hour power outage during a rainstorm, at the North Carolina Banjofest this past weekend in Clemmons, NC. Just as Deeper Shade of Blue concluded their Saturday evening performance, the room went dark (except for emergency lighting in the hotel), the sound system silenced, and for many, the concert would have ended or at the very least, paused. But not for promoter, Lorraine Jordan. The lady of tradition and her band, Carolina Road, planted themselves in front of the stage and performed their entire set in the dimly lit room. 

“Move to the center section if you want to hear,” Jordan suggested to the room of banjo and bluegrass enthusiasts. 

For the next hour, the band sang and interacted up close and personal with audience members. From taking suggestions (ghost song, Long Black Veil) to singing weather appropriate tunes (Jordan’s own Carolina Hurricane) to sing-alongs (a Gospel medley), to walking up and down the aisles as they picked, Jordan kept the show moving and the crowd entertained. Next, Terry Baucom’s Dukes of Drive followed suit with Bauc dealing jack hammer banjo breaks during the temporary blackout. Midset, power restored, Bauc and band relocated to the stage and the evening continued in normal fashion. 

The Friday and Saturday night all-things-banjo celebration held at Village Inn Hotel & Event Center, just west of Winston-Salem, was the brainchild of Garrett Newton and orchestrated by Jordan. 

“NC is all about the banjo,” she explained. “Shake a tree and a banjo player falls out. Garrett came to me. (His group served as host band for the event.) It was his idea. He said, ‘NC is known for banjo players. I thought it was time for them to be recognized.’ As a mandolin player, I know I take a backstep to banjo pickers in NC.” 

Not only did the weekend focus on the five string, Steve Wilson of Wilson Banjo Company also recognized all the banjo players that performed in daily award ceremonies. 

“It’s an honor to sponsor and be a part of the festival,” the banjo builder and picker of Westminister, SC, shared, as he presented plaques. “It’s pretty amazing to stand on stage with all these great musicians. It’s the reason that I do this. I am proud to say thank you to these folks. I’ve stolen plenty of their licks.” 

Each player was given a chance to express their thoughts. 

“It is appropriate for this event to here in North Carolina,” stated Steve Dilling of Sideline. 

Danny Bowers, banjoist with Travis Frye and Blue Mountain, conveyed, “Love expresses itself in many ways. I think music is the best. To be a part of the bluegrass community, I am truly blessed.” 

“I want to thank the people for coming so that we can do what we do,” added Carolina Road’s Ben Greene. 

Terry Baucom readily agreed. “It’s always nice to win an award for what I enjoy to do.” 

Special recognition was given to two pickers (one in honor, one in memory) by pickers. AL Wood was presented a plaque by Gena Britt, banjoist with Sister Sadie, on Friday night for his contributions to NC bluegrass music. The late Al Batten was remembered on Saturday night with a plaque conferred by banjoist and friend, Lee Flood of Steady Drive, and presented to Batten’s daughter, Laura. 

Referencing her banjo-picking patriarch, Laura shared, “Dad said that he was like the State Fair. He got bigger and better every year. Keep making the music my daddy loved.” 

Jordan elaborated, “We went to different ends of the state (Wood-west, Batten-east). A committee that included Cindy Baucom, Steve Dilling, High Lonesome Strings, myself, and a few others made the selections. Our hope is that as we move forward that the Earl Scruggs Center will get more involved.” 

In addition to the awards portion there were also performances by other top-notch NC groups such as Sideline, Wood Family Tradition (AL Wood’s off spring), Mickey Galyean and Cullen’s Bridge, and Mark Templeton Band to name a few. Friday night featured traditional bluegrass music with a collaboration of Danny Paisley and Junior Sisk joining Jordan on stage. 

On Saturday, there were workshops held by masters of the five: Steve Dilling, Terry Baucom, Steve Wilson, Ben Greene, Garrett Newton, Danny Bowers, and Randy Smith. There were also mandolin, fiddle, and guitar tutorials. Participants came from four states and ranged in age from 11-86 in these instructional sessions. 

Emcee, Cindy Baucom, expressed, “Bluegrass is so generational. I grew up with a banjo picker, my dad. Banjo is the whole idea behind this festival. Earl Scruggs made it popular. He gave us the sound that made our music.” 

Now married to banjo extraordinaire, Terry Baucom, the host of the syndicated radio show, Knee Deep in Bluegrass, teased about her husband, “He’s had two love affairs in his life-the banjo and me.” 

Door prizes were doled out to audience members who correctly answered banjo trivia questions. Plans are already underway for the next Banjofest to be held Feb 12-13, 2021, with Terry Baucom & The Dukes of Drive serving as the event’s host.

Steve Wilson to Dale Ann Bradley Posted on August 6, 2018 By John Lawless 

Dale Ann Bradley has announced the latest edition to her touring band. Steve Wilson from South Carolina has signed on as banjo player with the group. 

Many bluegrass fans know Steve as the chief luthier with Wilson Custom Banjos, or as the leader of the band Wilson Banjo Co. Growing up in the state of New York, he moved to Nashville as a younger man where he honed his skills as a banjo picker, and his art working in the Gibson Custom Art Shop. After returning to New York to raise his children, he now makes his home in the Palmetto State, where he builds professional grade banjos. 

Bradley became acquainted with Wilson while recording her upcoming Pinecastle album, and says that he is a good fit for her road band. 

“I am very thrilled with Steve Wilson joining the band. I’ve worked with him at Bonfire Studio and know first hand how serious he is about putting the best music together possible. He’s very creative and we love the same types of music. He is loaded with talent and is one of the best people to boot. No better combination of talent and personality than Steve.” 

Wilson joins an experienced group that includes Matt Leadbetter on reso-guitar, Scott Powers on mandolin, and Tim Dishman on bass, with Dale Ann holding down the guitar spot. 

Given the less rigorous schedule that Wilson Banjo Co plays – and the fact that Dale Ann also is doing shows with Sister Sadie – Steve feels that he can continue his schedule with both bands. 

He says that this is a perfect scenario for him. 

“Working with Dale Ann is a dream come true for me. I have been a fan of her music for decades and having become friends over the past year and given the recent opportunity to record with her has been incredible. I have such a deep admiration for the music that she has created and the path she has cleared for so many in the industry. I am looking so forward to this musical journey with this A-list group of musicians.” 

You can follow her schedule online.

Ain’t No Grave video from Wilson Banjo Co Posted on October 26, 2017 By John Lawless 

The name Wilson Banjo Co has a dual meaning. It is the name of a band formed by Steve Wilson, who also makes custom banjos. Only he calls the instrument business Wilson Custom Banjos. Confused yet? 

But you’ll be clear on what they do when you hear the music. 

Wilson Banjo Co has a new album set to drop tomorrow on Bonfire Records, the new Pinecastle imprint. Called Spirits In The Hills, it features 14 new tracks from the band in their driving Carolina sound. In addition to Steve on banjo, the group includes Joey Newton on guitar, Sarah Logan on fiddle, Dylan Armour on reso-guitar, and Rob Walker on bass. 

They’ve created this video for one of the songs, the old time favorite, Ain’t No Grave. Sarah takes the lead, and the video nicely conveys the somber nature of the subject.

 

Look for Spirit In The Hills wherever bluegrass is sold tomorrow (10/27). Radio programmers can download the tracks now at AirPlay Direct.

Wilson Banjo Co to Bonfire Recording Company Posted on July 21, 2017 By John Curtis Goad 

Last month, Pinecastle Records announced the opening of the label’s own recording studio, known as Bonfire Recording Studio, in their home base of Piedmont, South Carolina. Along with that studio comes a new label imprint known as Bonfire Recording Company, the mission of which is to develop artists of all genres based in and around upstate South Carolina, particularly the Greenville area. The first band signed to the label is Wilson Banjo Co., a traditionally-leaning bluegrass group headed up by banjo player (and builder) Steve Wilson. 

Wilson is a jack-of-all-trades when it comes to bluegrass music, splitting his time between building custom banjos, performing vintage guitar restoration, working as a recording engineer, assisting his wife Melanie with bluegrass publicity company Wilson Pickins Promotions, and of course, performing with Wilson Banjo Co. Wilson released an EP with several musician friends last year, partially as a way to promote his custom banjos, but ended up organizing a full-fledged band when the EP began to attract radio attention. The group now also consists of Joey Newton (guitar), Sarah Logan (fiddle), Brandon Couch (mandolin), Dylan Armour (dobro), and Rob Walker (bass).

The debut full-length album from Wilson Banjo Co., titled Spirits in the Hills, is due for an October release from Bonfire. In the meantime, those interested in hearing more from the group can check out their website, www.wilsonbanjoco.com, which has live videos and sample tracks posted.