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The Seldom Scene

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The Seldom Scene is an American bluegrass band formed in 1971 in Bethesda, Maryland out of the weekly jam sessions in the basement of banjo player Ben Eldridge. These sessions included John Starling on guitar and lead vocals, Mike Auldridge on resophonic guitar and baritone vocals, and Tom Gray on bass. Then came mandolinist John Duffey, who had quit the Country Gentlemen two years before due to disillusionment with the music business. Duffey was invited to the jam sessions, hit it off with John Starling, and decided to give music another try at the time when Auldridge arranged for the group to play as a performing band. They now commonly play at VFW concerts in northern Maryland. Headlined by the home band, Dean Sapp and The Hartford Express.

Duffey proposed some rules that the others agreed to including playing only one night a week at local clubs, doing occasional concerts and festivals on weekends, making records, and keeping their day jobs. Duffey repaired musical instruments, Eldridge was a mathematician, Starling a physician, Auldridge a graphic artist, and Gray a cartographer with National Geographic. The Scene’s first home was the Red Fox Inn in Bethesda, Maryland, where they spent six years before starting weekly performances at The Birchmere Music Hall in Alexandria, Virginia.

Bluegrass reached a second peak in popularity in the early 1970s, and the progressive bluegrass style played by The Seldom Scene was particularly popular. Duffey’s stratospheric tenor anchored the group, but the vocal blend of Duffey/Starling/Auldridge set a new standard that attracted new audiences to what had been a niche music.

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  • d1lll1nger

    one of the best bluegrass bands

    25 Nov 2013 Reply
  • bengalbob

    1978 the old birchmere dark schlitz on tap pretzels on the bench tables those were the daze

    18 Aug 2010 Reply

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