Where does the "big" stuff come from, you ask? Well, I do come in at 6'5" and a bit over 250 lbs (which I'm currently working on). My Aunt Mabel labeled me "Michael D" when I was a kid and I've always liked that one. The phonetic spelling of that became my prefix on most of my email addys over the years as "mikeld." Young David Grindstaff of the McDowell County area (pronounced MACdowell) added the "big" part to it and it became Big Mike D, usually finshed with "son."
I'm automatic and manual at the same time. Sometimes I accept newer technologies and, at the same time, I like old-timey stuff as well. Mules, log houses, country life, camping and fishing are parts of me. Then, watching the everchanging technologies, with regards to the music industry, intrigues me all the time. It's hard to keep up.
Over the course of 25 years, I've been involved in tons of music. Here is a synopsis:
1983 Irish Creek was formed. A local Gospel bluegrass band. During the course of it's history members were (or included) Randy Fox, Andrew Coleman, Ronnie LaFevers, Susan LaFevers, Keith Patton, Buster Carswell, Keith Coffey, Ronnie Hicks and myself. This band lasted until the early fall of 1990. My duties included banjo and mandolin. Two cassette recordings came out of this effort. They were both recorded in Blountville, TN at Lasting Sounds Studio in the summer and late fall of 1989.
1990-late 1991 I participated (and began playing bass for) The Narrow Way Quartet of Bakersville, NC. This group followed in the style of The Primitive Quartet based in Candler, NC. Members were Bill Craigo, Johnny Miller, Gary Robinson, Perry Woodie, Andrew Coleman (briefly) and myself. I helped them record one cassette in Bristol, VA, by Bandy Brownlee at Classic Recording. This recording took place in February & March of 1991.
June 1992-March 2002 I helped form and manage Damascus Road. This was an acoustic/bluegrass Gospel band as well. Members were Buster Carswell, Keith Coffey, Perry Woodie, Doug Rogers, Richard Fletcher, Aaron Ramsey and myself. This band had begun gaining a regional following by the end of it's tenure in East TN, VA, SC and all over North Carolina. This band gained some national notoriety with the original MP3 webpage (later bought out by Napster). Our version of The Old Rugged Cross went to #1 on the MP3 charts for contemporary country songs for a period of 3 weeks during August of 2000. This resulted in me being able to participate in a seminar during the 2000 IBMA trade show involving digital distribution. Other members of this seminar were Archie Warnock and David Crow. Damascus Road recorded 7 times. The first 4 with Rick McClurd at A&M Recording studio, near Drexel, NC from early 1993 through late 1995. The next 2 recordings were made at Black Crow Studio in Chesterfield, NC. One in '96-'97 and the other in 1999-2000. The final recording was made at Tick Nock Recording Studio in Lenoir, NC in late 2000 early 2001.
The Linville Ridge Band was formed in the spring of 2002, in May to be exact. By all accounts, all the members are still playing or are involved in music. Some still on a local scale, some a regional scale and some are playing music full-time as their jobs. It's been quite an adventure.
The Linville Ridge Band was a 5 piece, traditional/contemporary bluegrass band. Sometimes it's hard-core, nailed to the wall Bill Monroe-type stuff, sometimes it's original. That's the part that sets us apart from some of the other regional bands. We were located in (and around) Morganton, North Carolina. Just one county north of where Earl Scruggs was born. So, we knew the lingo of the bluegrass music.
Members were: Corey Pittman, Perry Woodie, Aaron Ramsey, David Wiseman, Colby Laney, Barte Laney, Shannon Slaughter and myself.
The Linville Ridge Band was privileged in it's brief history. Our first recording, A Road to Anywhere, was voted in the top 50 bluegrass recordings by the listeners of WNCW in 2004. Kenny and Amanda Smith later covered Mike Ramsey's Danbury Jail on their recording Always Never Enough, released on Rebel Records in 2005. A Road to Anywhere was recorded at Lonesome Pine Studio in Deep Gap, NC by Andy Owens in 2003 and mastered by CHI-RHO Productions in Cliffside, NC.
Our next effort, Hopes and Dreams, was released in June of 2005 and was the #23 bluegrass recording as voted on by those listeners of WNCW. It was also the #11 regional release of that year, pitting it against all genres of music played on WNCW. Sometimes, in these online, fan based, voting procedures, many bands send out email blasts to their fans asking them to go vote for them to increase their placement in the top 100. We didn't do that, in either year. So that left us feeling pretty good with our regional releases, as they compared to everything else folks had to vote on for each year. This recording was made back at Black Crow Studio in Chesterfield, NC. It was recorded, engineered and mixed by Aaron Ramsey, all of 20 years old, in late 2004-early 2005. It was also mastered by CHI-RHO Productions in Cliffside, NC.
Our bookings carried us from Louisville, KY to Charleston, SC and from Augusta, GA to Wilmington, NC. Festivals, churches, fundraisers, wedding receptions, private parties, corporate events, BBQ gigs and everything in between made use of our musical wares.
I also get to help produce a 4 day bluegrass festival in Morganton every year, and have been doing so since 2004. It's called The Red White and Bluegrass Festival, presented each year from July 1st through July 4th, by the Morganton Parks and Recreation Department. The 2009 festival made it to the final round of nominations for the IBMA Event of the Year. The 2011 event promises to be another stellar bluegrass event. Make your plans now to attend.
If you have time, tool around the rest of the site. There are pictures, links to buy music, tee shirts and such, a place to contact us and some of our favorite places to visit on the 'net. Thanks for stopping by.