I began playing guitar when I was 10 years old while living in Verona, KY. The problem was that his guitar strings were about 3 inches above the frets. So, When I was 13 I played my Kay electric bass in front of the RCA Victor HiFi console stereo system while listening to Charlie Pride, Loretta Lynn and Conway Twitty. By 16 I had my first real guitar and at 17 I made enough money stripping tobacco to by a Fender Stratocaster. Fortunately when in Vocational school, a friend asked him to hold his mandolin. After plucking around on it a few times it seemed to make sense to me.
By the time I was 21 I was playing bluegrass at all the Ground Round restaurants in the Cincinnati area with Spur ‘O the Moment and Ted Reddington and the Reddytones. In 1985 while playing a bluegrass festival in Indiana I was approached to join a new group out of Indianapolis named Classified Grass. This band included an up and coming fiddle player named Alison Krauss. For the next couple years Classified Grass played festivals in IN, KY, OH and PA.
In 1987 I moved to Rochester, NY where NOTHING important happened musically. Frustrated, I moved to Nashville to work as a graphic designer and played with Mike Scott and the All American Band. I made many life long friends in the Nashville music scene. Then in 1990 I joined J.D. Crowe and the New South as J.D. was coming out of retirement. My real job (paid the bills) took me from playing with J.D. and I moved back to Cincinnati. There I joined the Comet Bluegrass All Stars and the Lazy Boyz. In the 8 years that I was with the Comet Bluegrass All Stars we won 3 CAMMY and 3 Cincinnati Entertainment Awards for best bluegrass band in the Cincinnati area.
Earl’s Gone Wild