Johnston County has a rich musical heritage with bluegrass music, especially well-known is Al Batten & The Bluegrass Reunion who have been playing together for over 40 years.
Al Batten and the Bluegrass Reunion, local Johnston County bluegrass band.
Al Batten has proven true the concept that time, practice, and dedication are what it takes to master the 5-string banjo. The "3-T's" are his staples: Taste, Timing, and Tone. Following his initiation to the instrument in his teens, Earl Scruggs, Don Reno, Bill Emerson, Walter Hensley, and Billy Edwards heavily influenced him. And by combining these influences, Al developed a unique style of his own. In addition, his lead singing is second to none. For just as soon as he sings the first note, you can immediately tell it comes straight from the heart!
By carrying on his family tradition in agriculture (farmer, leader in the local FFA, former Boy Scout leader, and retired agriculture teacher), Al has learned to keep things down to earth, not only in his music, but in life as a whole. His quick wit and down-home demeanor only add to his outgoing personality and his good-hearted nature. These traits have become the standard for the Bluegrass Reunion, not only in the music business, but in his home, church, and community, as well
But how is the music evolving and staying relevant for today's younger generation?
GENERATION BLUEGRASS is a video project introducing some of the most talented up and coming young bluegrass musicians in the country. It was produced, directed, and edited by 17 year old bluegrass guitarist Corey Smith, with the help of Zeb Snyder (17) of the Snyder Family Band. Its purpose is to promote bluegrass music to the younger generation and honor the older generation that gave us such a rich musical heritage. If you want an insight into the youth in bluegrass scene, and the talent level of young bluegrass musicians, this is a must see video. If nothing else, this film will communicate the blessing of great heritage music and will make a strong statement that the uniquely American form of music known as Bluegrass will continue on.
Generation Bluegrass members include, Zeb and Samantha Snyder (Snyder Family Band); The Church Sisters; The Moore Brothers; Shane and Alex Edwards; and The Smith Family. You will not only be entertained and amazed by the talent of these young musicians, but you will be encouraged by the character of these performers. The future of bluegrass music is indeed in good hands.
The Paul A. Johnston Auditorium is hosting Generation Bluegrass on September 21st on the campus of Johnston Community College. Tickets are $12.50 and $10.00.
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