Mark Kuykendall, Bobby Hicks & Asheville Bluegrass

Bluegrass veteran Mark Kuykendall (pronounced “Kirk-en-dall”; no relation to Bluegrass Unlimited founder Pete Kuykendall) took a 15 year break from the music industry before recording a new project for Rebel in 2015, Down Memory Lane. The talented musician, who had spent years playing as a member of both Bill Monroe’s Blue Grass Boys and Jimmy Martin’s Sunny Mountain Boys, concentrated on his antique car business so he could stay off the road and raise his daughter Dorothy Caroline.

Kuykendall decided to record Down Memory Lane as a gift for his teenage daughter. Then, he played the album for IBMA Hall of Famer Sonny Osborne one day at the Banjothon Gathering. After being so impressed with what he heard, Osborne told Kuykendall to consider taking the album to the folks at Rebel. The rest, as they say, is history.

The official title of the band is Mark Kuykendall, Bobby Hicks & Asheville Bluegrass. The inclusion of Hicks on this recording was an easy decision. Hicks, now in his 80s and sounding as strong as ever, is a legendary bluegrass fiddler who started playing with Bill Monroe in 1954. He would later go on to play for Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder for 21 years, performing on Skaggs’ most successful recordings and winning 10 Grammy Awards along the way. Hicks was also the fiddler for the all-star Bluegrass Album Band that featured future IBMA Hall of Famers J.D. Crowe, Doyle Lawson and Tony Rice. What Kuykendall and Hicks share together are a love for bluegrass music and a deep affection for western North Carolina. Hicks was the North Carolina Fiddle Champion when he was 11 years old and later in life was given a North Carolina Heritage Award and was also inducted into the Fiddlers Hall of Fame.

Down Memory Lane features Kuykendall on guitar and lead vocals, Hicks on fiddle and bass vocals, Nick Chandler on mandolin and baritone vocals, Nick Dauphinais on bass and tenor vocals and Seth Rhinehart on banjo. Adding some Hall of Fame mandolin on two cuts is Doyle Lawson.