Monday, February 27, 2006

Uncle Earl personnel change

I haven't seen this reported anywhere, so it may come as a surprise to learn that Sharon Gilchrist is no longer one of the Uncle Earl g'earls. At Wintergrass, Hit & Run Bluegrass bassist Erin Coats was sitting in on the stand-up bass. At first, I figured she was filling in for this gig while Gilchrist had a conflicting date with one of Peter Rowan's bands. But then I asked Abigail Washburn about it, and learned it is a permanent change.

According to Washburn, "We all love Sharon, but it was becoming harder to coordinate our schedules with her other commitments. We were getting tired of having to book around Peter Rowan's dates, especially since he was often late in setting his schedule. Besides that, Sharon really wanted to play mandolin--and who could blame her, considering her talent. But her role with Uncle Earl was as the bassist."

With the jam-packed Wintergrass schedule, I was able to catch only about half of one Uncle Earl set, but on first glance it seems that Erin Coats will be a terrific replacement on the bass and as a vocalist. No word on whether she'll continue holding down the low end for Hit & Run, but we'll get an idea how all the changes play out at upcoming festivals. Uncle Earl and Peter Rowan are both on the bill at Old Settler's, while Uncle Earl and Hit & Run Bluegrass both will play at Grey Fox.

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