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The Country Gentlemen

The Country Gentlemen expanded the definition of "bluegrass" -- they were progressive bluegrass before the term existed. The Gentlemen came along with the first wave of the folk music revival in the late '50s and quickly made a name for themselves as a band that could not only play traditional material straight, but also brought Bob Dylan and contemporary country material into the genre. Because of their exceptional singing and virtuoso instrumentals, the Gentlemen attracted a broad audience, ranging from traditional country/bluegrass fans to folk and soft rock lovers.

Formed in Washington, D.C., on July 4, 1957, the original lineup of the Country Gentlemen featured guitarist/vocalist Charlie Waller -- who has led the band through all of its numerous incarnations -- mandolinist/vocalist John Duffey, banjoist Bill Emerson, and bassist Tom Morgan. Waller had spent time with a number of country string bands in the early '50s, most notably Buzz Busby's band, the Bayou Boys, which also featured Emerson. After the Bayou Boys suffered a car crash in early 1957, Waller and Emerson put together a group to fulfill the band's regular spot at a Virginia venue while various members were recovering. That replacement band evolved into the County Gentlemen.

For the first two years of their existence, the Country Gentlemen went through numerous lineup changes. In 1959, they finally landed on a permanent lineup, with banjoist Eddie Adcock and bassist Tom Gray joining a band that already included Waller and Duffey. This lineup secured a contract with Starday Records and released a handful of singles, as well as one album, Traveling Dobro Blues. Following their Starday recordings, the group moved to Folkways, where they released three albums, including their breakthrough, Country Songs Old & New. After their stint at Folkways, the group moved to Mercury in 1963, where they released Folk Session Inside. The following year, they began a long association with Rebel Records.

During the '60s, the Country Gentlemen built up a dedicated fan base in America through constant touring. Although their lineup shifted rapidly -- following Gray's 1964 departure, they went through several of bassists before settling on Ed McGlothlin -- their sound pretty much stayed the same. At the end of the '60s, the core lineup began to splinter as Duffey left in 1969; he was replaced by Jimmy Gaudreau. In the following year, both Adcock and McGlothlin left the lineup. In 1971, the second classic lineup of the Country Gentlemen -- featuring Waller, a re-joined Bill Emerson, mandolinist Doyle Lawson, and bassist Bill Yates -- fell into place and stayed together for two years. For the next 20 years, various lineups of the Country Gentlemen, which were all led by Waller, remained popular on the bluegrass festival circuit. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine & David Vinopal, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

Always loved their sound!
mikedearmas1
First time ever. I like.
Got into blue grass when I heard string cheese for the first time... then I saw them at uic in 06 and I can't listen to anything else now... I love when Sadie has her new dress on... also this Pandora has brought me ole crow.. I just love me a string band. I used to follow a string band around called ole zesty and the old time bootknockers . . .
ethbarry
Loved them in Europe when I was 12 or 13 and everyone thought I was crazy for loving American bluegrass. Now I'm almost 60, live in the USA, became a US citizen and I still love them to pieces.
They were a great group
Love the Country Gentlemen and the Louvin Brothers gospel songs.
Very great amazing bluegrass music!
ganz1009
Great song!
I don't know about God, but they sure do some great pickin' and a grinnin'.
My grass is Blue what about you?
You can allways tell when God has had his hand in something because it turns out perfect. Their music is sacred and we're blessed to get to listen to it.
I didn't appreciate this kind of music when I was younger, NOW! I realise what I was missin
kipb3
Bought my first house from Bill. Quite a picker.
Duffy and Waller... doesn't get any better
mandyhoover9 9
This is one of my favorites!!!
great music my fvorite is rebel soldier on award winnig album good at this 150 anniv civil war bluegras rules
http://www.p a n d o r a . c o m / m u s i c / a l b u m / c o u n t r y + g e n t l e m e n / v o l + 4 + g o i n g + b a c k + t o + b l u e + r i d g e + m o u n t a i n s
slapshot1894
Great....... . . . . a s always.
These guys were truly some of the best. John Duffys Harmony really put em on the map and them on to the Seldom Scene. Really miss his harmony in Bluegrass! no one has come close yeat.
good for poppy city grass of that time period. none better than big mon and his boys though gary
natalie85
Luckily I figured out how to operate my internet radio so I could enjoy these guys
I like to liston to cal smith but I guess I don t umderstand how to operate the internet radio???
slapshot1894
I agree with the last comment. They are the very, very best of the best. I've been lucky enough to see them often and every performance was better than the last........ . . . . . . . h a r d to do when you're already perfect.
Only 5 comments to date? Incredible! To me The Country Gentlemen is the best that ever played the genre, bar none. Charlie's voice is golden and I hope his music continues to live on in popularity.
Great group, great harmonies, great instrumentat i o n . I saw them many times in my younger days following the bluegrass circuit on weekends around the Carolinas and Virginia.
nascar382448
char;ie was a friend of a friend indeed and one of the best of the best one of my favorite bluegrass singers and also gospel songs hated to see him go but GOD needed a singer in the band there
kevinh08
great group that has been around forever
i need to find a song about the sing call he was a friend of mine
jgjg24
Charlie Waller has the golden voice of a bluegrass man, he was truly the Country Gentleman.

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