Stars Shine in ETSU Program Faculty
Barry Bales, Hunter Berry, Adam Steffey on Staff
March 14, 2009JOHNSON CITY, TN — East Tennessee State University's Bluegrass, Old-Time and Country Music Program has three award-winning musicians on its faculty this spring semester, offering individual instruction to students on their respective instruments. And, all three are Tri-Cities natives and alumni of the ETSU Bluegrass Program.
Kingsport native Barry Bales is the Grammy and International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) award-winning bass player and harmony vocalist for Alison Krauss and Union Station. He also performs regularly with The Dan Tyminski Band and is one of the most in-demand session players in bluegrass and country music. He has worked with such artists as Reba McEntire, Vince Gill, Merle Haggard, Patty Loveless, Dolly Parton, Amy Grant and others. In addition, he appeared in a cameo role as a musician in the film "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" and on its multiplatinum soundtrack.
Hunter Berry is now in his eighth season as fiddler for Rhonda Vincent and the Rage and has also released a solo CD, "Wow Baby." The Elizabethton native took up the fiddle by age 9, studying under the noted old-time bluegrass fiddler Benny Sims and local musician and teacher David Yates. He played with the legendary Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver, as well as Melvin Goins, before joining Rhonda Vincent and the Rage in 2002. He is a six-time Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music of America Fiddle Performer of the Year, and has earned several IBMA nominations for Fiddle Player of the Year, as well as Instrumental CD and Recorded Event of the Year nominations.
Adam Steffey of Kingsport was introduced to bluegrass music by his grandfather, who took him to the Carter Fold in Hiltons, Va., where he became interested in music and particularly intrigued by the sound of the mandolin.. He soon took lessons and began playing with various local bands. His first full-time playing position was with The Lonesome River Band, of which he was a member for one year before helping to form Dusty Miller. During his time with that band, he became acquainted with a young Alison Krauss, with whom he worked for the next seven and a half years. In 1998, Steffey left Alison Krauss and Union Station and played with The Isaacs and Mountain Heart before attaining his current spot as a member of The Dan Tyminski Band. He has received Mandolin Player of the Year honors five times from the IBMA and is also a Grammy Award winner.
For more information, contact Bluegrass, Old-Time and Country Music Program Director Raymond McLain or Assistant Director Daniel Boner at 423-439-7072.