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date: 16 July 2020

Seldom Scenelocked

  • Charles K. Wolfe
  • , revised by Gregory N. Reish


American bluegrass group. Formed in Bethesda, Maryland, in 1971 by mandolinist John Duffey, bassist Tom Gray, Dobro player Mike Auldridge, banjoist Ben Eldridge, and singer and guitarist John Starling, the group has strongly influenced the development of progressive bluegrass and newgrass music. Duffey, Gray, and Auldridge had been members of the Country Gentlemen and were interested in expanding their repertory and stylistic palette even further. The son of an opera singer, Duffey was fascinated with tempo and tone color, including the use of amplification to emphasize unusual ways of striking the strings and different ensemble textures.

Active in the thriving Washington, DC bluegrass and folk scene, Seldom Scene began recording for the small Maryland bluegrass label Rebel in 1972. Within five years, they had made a series of recordings that became models for modern bluegrass: “Paradise” (1972), a John Prine composition that merged modern folksong style with bluegrass; “Rider” (...

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