“Get a dose of forward-thinking bluegrass, with songs that match the players’ instrumental prowess.”
– The Roanoke Times
Good time music.
“What we play is good time music,” says lead guitarist Will Farmer. “It’s bluegrass, it’s Americana, it’s a lot of things. Mostly we just call it good time music.”
Making music together in the mountains of southwest Virginia since 2003, Blue Moonshine’s blend of tight harmony, hot licks, and strong songwriting is a crowd pleaser anywhere from rowdy bars and festival stages to backyard parties and corporate events. “We have fun playing music together,” explains rhythm guitarist Phil Norman, “and it shows on stage. That energy is infectious, and so the audience has a great time, too.”
That energy also translates to their recently released 5-song EP, “Distilled,” giving you an immediate sense of the singing, songwriting, and instrumental prowess of the band. From the opening fiddle & mandolin hook of “Your Love is On My Mind” to the tender emotion of “Buddy’s Backyard,” this is a collection of songs that showcases why Blue Moonshine was voted a favorite local band by the readers of The Roanoke Times after the release of their album “New Mountain Music” in 2005.
Fiddle player Shannon Wheeler puts it this way: “the world doesn’t need another bluegrass band playing nothing but standards all night long. People want to have a great time when they hear live music, and we’re to make that great time happen.”
Blue Moonshine starts with the high and lonesome sounds of bluegrass, and ends with your toe tapping and a smile on your face.
Blue Moonshine is good time music.
Warren Amberson and his trusty mandolin bring the bluegrass bona fides to the group. He founded the first officially recognized US Army bluegrass band, and was nominated for an IBMA award for his live recording work with Tony Rice & Vassar Clements, not to mention his work with longtime Virginia bluegrass favorites, Acoustic Endeavors.
Lead guitarist Will Farmer is the youngest member of the group and his easy-going stage presence and multi-instrumental talent help glue together Blue Moonshine’s sound. His golden tenor voice has been recognized multiple times as one of the best male vocalists in Roanoke by the readers of the Roanoke Times.
Rhythm guitarist Phil Norman took the crooked road to playing mountain music, with pit stops as an itinerant folksinger and front man for a touring rock band. But his songwriting talent quickly helped shape Blue Moonshine’s direction and his newness to the genre brings a raw and joyful energy to the band.
Bassist Glenn Scaggs was brought up in the sounds of bluegrass, with his Grandmother Scaggs on fiddle, and his father on banjo. With a distinct high tenor voice, as well as chops on the guitar and mandolin, Glenn has jammed with Sammy Shelor, Tim Stafford, Kenny Smith and Rickie & Ronnie Simpkins, to name a few. Bluegrass Unlimited compared Glenn’s voice to Russell Moore and Dan Tyminski.
Fiddler Shannon Wheeler got his start on the drums but his father, a fiddle player, too, always had the late legendary Bluegrass DJ and historian Bill Vernon on the radio at home when he was a kid. The sounds Shannon pulls from his bow have had him touring with Larry Keel & Natural Bridge, Gary Ruley and Mule Train, and The Churchmen.