Original Show Bill
Columbia Bluegrass Company
Columbia Bluegrass Company is the brain-child of guitarist Duane Davis. When Duane receives a request to provide music for some function or private party, he’ll gather together four other local pickers to complete the group’s roster for performing traditional, contemporary, and gospel bluegrass. Duane fronts the band with his smooth vocals and guitar playing, also contributing many “home-made” songs he has written over the years. He hit the jackpot with this current lineup, as Columbia Bluegrass Company placed FIRST in the 2015 RenoFest band competition held in Hartsville, SC back in March!
You can’t hear the words bluegrass, banjo, guitar, or pickin’ in the midlands of South Carolina these days without Randy Lucas coming to the forefront of your mind. Randy Lucas pops up just about everywhere bluegrass is played, from local joints like Bill’s Pickin’ Parlor, British Bulldog Pub, and Main Street to BBQ & Bluegrass festivals all over the state, region, and nation. He’s won numerous awards and competitions (on banjo and guitar), most recently first place in the SC Banjo Competition AND Band Competition at RenoFest 2015 in Hartsville, SC! Whether Randy plays solo, or in a duo, trio, quartet, or full band, his audience quickly realizes just how talented he is and how much he enjoys performing and perfecting his craft.
An article in South Carolina Living by Hastings Hensel lets us in on how Randy and bluegrass have a lifelong kinship with each other:
The stars were aligned, it seems, for Randy Lucas to become one of the best banjo players in South Carolina and to win the 1997 National Banjo Championship.
He shares a birthday with bluegrass legend Bill Monroe. He was born into a family in which his great-grandfather played fiddle, his grandfather played guitar, and his father played banjo and guitar. He was even named after a banjo tune by Earl Scruggs called “Randy Lynn Rag.”
Lucas has been playing his own banjo since the age of 5, and grew up blending traditional bluegrass with a variety of musical influences.
“It’s not just bluegrass,” he says. “When I came up through high school, I heard all the rock n’ roll, all The Beatles, television shows, movies, augmented chords, diminished chords—all that really plays into my music. I sometimes feel like I’m a rock n’ roll player playing banjo.”
The group’s fiddler is Jim Graddick of Blythewood, SC. He is a 2012 graduate of the USC Music Department with a degree in music education. Fortunately, he became interested in bluegrass and old-time fiddling styles at a young age and has been playing these styles along with the classical style for years. Jim knows what to play and when to play it. His tasteful contribution is so vital and adds that unique “edge” to the group’s overall sound.
Ronnie Gregory of Eastover, SC plays mandolin for the group. His “chop” is the best around these parts and his lead and tenor singing is extraordinary. Ronnie’s natural knack for harmonizing on the “high-end” really highlights the group’s three-part singing.
The bassist for the group is Dave Holder of Columbia, SC. Dave, the “senior” member, started playing folk music in 1964 and has continued playing acoustic music of some sort throughout his life. He says that when he became involved in bluegrass he realized his guitar skills weren’t quite adequate enough, so he returned to the double bass after laying it down in 1968.
All members of the group have played, and continue to perform, with various other bands and projects so you never know where you will see them sharing their chops, pickin’ and grinnin’, to appreciative audiences all over the area.
Columbia Bluegrass Company, takes bluegrass to the highest level with its members’ combined years of experience and talent, as well as the love of the music and their respective instruments. Their first place win in the 2015 RenoFest Band competition is quite an accolade! Woodshed Archive couldn’t be more honored than to have the Columbia Bluegrass Company end our Spring Season on such an impressive note!
First Place Band winner, Columbia Bluegrass Company, performs “Salt Creek” at RenoFest 2015 in Statesville, NC
Duane Davis – Guitar
Randy Lucas – Banjo, Guitar
Dave Holder – Bass
Ronnie Gregory – Mandolin
Jim Graddick – Fiddle