Northern Border Blue Grass will be bringing old time music to the Spartanburg Methodist College campus on Wednesday, October 15. The 7 p.m. event will be held in the Gibbs Auditorium, located in Ellis Hall on the campus of SMC. The event is open to the public and admission is free.
Northern Border, named “Best Upstate Bluegrass Band” in competition and performance at Twichell Auditorium on the Converse College campus, had its beginnings on the campus of Wofford College in 1961 as part of the late Professor Sam Moyer’s choral program. The band’s name is derived from the first line of the Wofford College Alma Mater “On the city’s northern border….” The band leans heavily on the traditional mountain sound featuring three and four part harmonies and driving instrumentals from the five-string banjo and the mandolin. They also feature a variety of musical Americana from Steve Goodman to the Everly Brothers.
The members of Northern Border come from a variety of backgrounds ranging from concert to rock and roll, all returning to the traditionally voiced music of the mountains. The players include Steve Campbell of Greer, S.C.; Greg Farmer of Spartanburg, S.C.; Tom Bratton of Gaffney, S.C. and Milton Smith of Woodruff, S.C.
“Old Time Music at its Best” describes Campbell, who is one of the finest and most respected five-string players in the region. A veteran of bands “Southbound”, Flint Hill”, “Dakota’’ and “Mountain View”, he brings his extraordinary talents on banjo, guitar and dobro to Northern Border. A versatile vocalist, he sings lyric tenor lines as well as the bass part.
Farmer is a Michigan native, a physical therapist by vocation and an excellent singer and musician, bringing his vocal talents as well as his talents on the mandolin, guitar and fiddle to Northern Border. He displays his passion for the old time music every time he hits the stage and was named “one of the top five bluegrass musicians in the state” by “Living in South Carolina” magazine.
Bratton is a fine upright bass player and story teller who handles vocal arrangements for the group. As an All-State and orchestra trombone player, he naturally sings the baritone line as well as the lead part and has a “steel trap mind” when it comes to lyrics.
Smith sings lead and baritone parts and plays rhythm guitar. After traveling for many years as a horn player in contemporary music, he returned to the traditional music which is his first love. He has worked with the late Nashville producer and five-string banjo genius Bobby Thompson and handles logistic for the band.
Northern Border has recorded five albums: “Prisoner’s Song”, “Friends Forever”, “Pickin’ on the Back Porch”, “Live at the Pickin’ at Pickens” and “Nailing It!” and their appearance schedule includes TV, radio, and a variety of festivals, concerts and events including the North Carolina BBQ Festival, the South and North Carolina Seafood Festivals, the Atlanta Folk Festival, the Highlands, N.C. Folk Festival and the South Carolina Juried Arts Festival at Atalaya Castle in Huntington Beach State Park.
Make plans to experience Northern Border on Wednesday, October 15. The 7 p.m. concert is open to the public and admission is free of charge. The Gibbs Auditorium in Ellis Hall is handicapped accessible. Take advantage of this free community concert to learn about the distinct qualities of local blue grass! For additional information, contact Yvonne Harper, firstname.lastname@example.org, 864-587-4278 or 266-7409.