Throughout the '70s, '80s, and '90s, Dudley Connell has remained an important figure in bluegrass music, first as the founder and mainstay of the Johnson Mountain Boys and later as a member of the Seldom Scene. He also undertook a series of "brother-style" duo albums with Don Rigsby.
After growing up in Rockville, MD, as the son of bluegrass enthusiasts, Connell got his start in the mid-'70s fronting the Johnson Mountain Boys. Amongst a thriving "newgrass" scene in Washington, D.C., the group remained traditionally oriented. Early on, before the Johnson Mountain Boys, Connell had focused on banjo but soon noticed that his strongest attribute was his voice, so he switched to guitar and concentrated on his singing. Carter Stanley was a huge vocal influence for Connell early on. In 1988, after more than a decade together, the Johnson Mountain Boys disbanded due to the rigors of road life. After that, Connell began working as a contractor for the Smithsonian Folkways collection. In 1995, the staunchly traditional Connell surprised many people in the bluegrass world when he joined newgrass giants the Seldom Scene. He also undertook a series of duo recordings with Rigsby. Connell has contributed his distinct voice and guitar to the work of numerous artists, including Hazel Dickens. ~ Erik Hage, Rovi
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