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The Last Resort Band
The Last Resort Band at January 8th Gathering

Kick off your musical new year with The Last Resort Band at the Charlotte Folk Society's next Gathering concert. Join us in the former sanctuary of the Great Aunt Stella Center, 926 Elizabeth Avenue, Uptown Charlotte, at 7:30 PM on Friday, January 8, 2010. Doors open at 7 PM.

Folk Society Gatherings are family-friendly, open to the public, and free. Donations, which support the series in part, are greatly appreciated. The hour-long concert will be followed by refreshments, a Song Circle, a Slow Jam and fast jams. Visitors are also invited to the Charlotte Appalachian Dulcimer Club meeting after the concert.

Free surface parking is available adjacent to the Stella Center. The arm of the nearby parking deck goes up for the weekend at 7 PM. Pick up a ticket on the way into the parking deck, but you will not have to pay on the way out if you leave after 8 PM.

The Last Resort Band describes their music as "grassed up soul and rock n' roll." They bring unique instrumentation and consummate musicianship to some of your favorite songs. You'll hear influences of soul, R&B, gospel, Americana, bluegrass, and rock ''n' roll when these musicians take the stage. Ever wondered what it would have sounded like if Sonny Osborne had played banjo with Otis Redding?

The band unites the talents of fiddler and mandolinist Glen Alexander, four-time IBMA "Banjo Player of the Year" Sammy Shelor, acoustic guitarist Johnny Green, and bass guitarist Mark Vernon. All have toured extensively and recorded on major labels. They collectively have 160 years live playing experience. The Last Resort Band is all about having fun -- no agents, producers, or promoters -- just a group that loves presenting good music in a fresh and unique way.

The original band formed in 1994 when four members of a nationally touring Americana/bluegrass band decided to change musical directions. Glen Alexander, one of the region's most celebrated fiddlers, joined the band in 1996. The group disbanded in 1997 for ten years. A last-minute engagement in 2007 brought them back together and gave rise to their name, The Last Resort Band. A chance meeting with Sammy Shelor at a Galax Fiddler's Convention jam session led to his joining the band.

Sammy Shelor

Sammy Shelor has been named "Banjo Player of the Year" four times by his peers in the International Bluegrass Music Association and nominated fourteen consecutive years. He's best known for leading one of the country's finest bluegrass outfits, the Lonesome River Band.

Sammy's grandfather helped to set his destiny when he fashioned a banjo for him from an old pressure cooker lid when Sammy was only four years old. By age ten, he was performing in local bands and became a full-time professional musician when he graduated from high school, joining The Heights of Grass. That band eventually morphed into The Virginia Squires, and brought Sammy into contact with banjo legend Sonny Osborne, who helped shape the young picker's approach to working as a professional banjo player.

Since becoming a member of Lonesome River Band in 1990. Sammy has been featured on dozens of successful recordings, both with the band and as a guest player. His solo project, Leading Roll, is still a popular title in the Sugar Hill Records catalog and his work on Knee Deep in Bluegrass for Rebel Records helped that project earn the "Instrumental Album of the Year" award from the IBMA in 2001.

Glen Alexander

Glen Alexander has been winning fiddle contests for more twenty years. He is a two-time winner of the prestigious Galax Old Fiddler's Convention, as well as taking the title "Fiddler of the Festival" at the famed Union Grove Fiddler's Convention. When he is not competing, he is usually judging the competition.

Glen got his start by playing fiddle with his dad's band, Muddy Creek Bluegrass Band. He has played with numerous area bands and has played to open for Ricky Skaggs and Alison Krauss. He has shared the stage with Roy Clark, Larry Gatlin, Doc Watson, Jack Lawrence, Ronnie Bowman, and others. Glen is an accomplished session player as well. You can hear his work on over 100 recording projects, including his own solo CD. In addition to his live performances and session work, he teaches violin lessons and co-owns The Violin Shoppe in Charlotte.

Johnny Green

Acoustic guitarist Johnny Green's love for music is rooted in the soulful gospel music he grew up singing. Though he had some formal vocal training, it was a steady diet of black gospel music and the emotion of the old soul artists of the '60s that most influenced him. It was when his love for soulful gospel music intersected with bluegrass music that the sound he refers to as "rhythm and bluegrass" was formed. This is the sound The Last Resort Band captures so well. Some of his musical inspiration comes from listening to Otis Redding, Sam Cooke and the Soul Stirrers, John Cowan, The Beatles, and the Fairfield Four.

Johnny has traveled extensively and recorded on a national label while playing all types of music. Though he has shared the stage with many artists through the years, it is the current line up of The Last Resort Band of which he is most proud. These are his best friends and musical heroes.

Mark Vernon

Mark Vernon comes from a musical family rich in southern gospel harmony. He started singing professionally at the age of five. By the time he was twenty-one, he was working steadily in local bands. In 1982 he took his first full-time traveling gig with the Plum Hollow Band. In 1987 he joined the Carter Brothers Band. In 1994 he joined fellow Carter Brothers band mates as a charter member of The Last Resort Band, playing bass guitar. After the group disbanded in 1997, Mark worked with several projects headed by local musician Davis Tucker. Ten years later, Mark was instrumental in the reforming of The Last Resort Band.

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Mark has shared the stage with Nantucket, George Hatcher Band, Poco, Doc Holliday, Atlanta Rhythm Section, Marshall Tucker Band, and Lynyrd Skynyrd. His music career has taken him from Sloppy Joe’s in Key West to the Lone Star Café in New York, to Boot Hill Saloon in Rapid City, South Dakota to Calgary, Alberta and Oslo, Norway.

Visit The Last Resort Band's website here and Myspace page here for music and video samples.

Our Gatherings are made possible, in part, with funding from the Arts & Science Council and the North Carolina Arts Council, an agency of the Department of Cultural Resources, and the National Endowment for the Arts, which believes that a great nation deserves great art.