Moore, IIIrd Tyme Out is bluegrass at its finest


Russell Moore and IIIrd Tyme Out, which includes, from left, Keith McKinnon, Wayne Benson, Moore, Blake Johnson and Justen Haynes, will perform Sunday at the Thomas Center.

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Published: Thursday, June 19, 2014 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, June 17, 2014 at 1:25 p.m.

In its nearly 25-year-long career, the bluegrass band Russell Moore and IIIrd Tyme Out has become one of the most lauded and celebrated groups in bluegrass history. The band has won the International Bluegrass Music Association's Vocal Group Award for seven straight years. And Moore's five career nods for Male Vocalist of the Year makes him the most awarded singer in the IBMA's history.

Facts

If you go

What: Russell Moore and IIIrd Tyme Out
When: 6:30 p.m. Sunday
Where: Thomas Center, 302 NE Sixth Ave.
Tickets: $20 advance, $25 day of show
Info: http://bit.ly/1r17WNM or email jsaccocci@cox.net

With its most recent album, 2013's “Timeless Hits from the Past Bluegrassed,” the group, which performs Sunday at the Thomas Center, pays homage to some of the classic country songs that influenced its members along with some of its own best-known songs as well.

The album, which was released through Cracker Barrel Old Time Country Store, includes bluegrass versions of famed hits by George Jones and Tammy Wynette (“Golden Ring”), Merle Haggard (“Mama Tried”), Glenn Campbell (“Gentle on my Mind”), Don Williams (“Tulsa Time”) and others.

“All those songs were songs that influenced us in one way or another, because we all grew up listening to classic country and hearing that stuff,” said Moore in a phone call from Lexington, Kentucky, where IIIrd Tyme Out was among the headliners of the recent Festival of the Bluegrass.

“There were so many more that we could have recorded that influenced us, as far as that goes. But we kind of went a little more toward the country side. So we thought we'd throw some bluegrass at that.”

For “Golden Ring,” the No. 1 country duet released by Jones and Wynette in 1976, Moore and the band brought in the famed gospel singer Sonya Isaacs to pair Wynette's part with Moore's take on the Possum.

“Sonya did Tammy's part, of course, and just knocked it out of the park,” Moore said. “It was a real treat to be in the studio with her.”

The album also includes new takes on songs that Moore and the band are known for performing live, including the classic doo-wop song “Only You,” and IIIrd Tyme Out's own “John & Mary,” which the group recorded with Pam Tillis for the new album.

“'John & Mary' was a really big song for the band,” Moore said. “So it was really cool to get Pam Tillis in to sing on that and make it a duet where it was a solo before. And that was a treat.”

Moore grew up in Pasadena, Texas, and co-founded IIIrd Tyme Out in 1991 after performing with other groups including a six-year stint with the renowned Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver.

The singer/guitarist says he was drawn to bluegrass because of its the warm sound of its acoustic instruments and also because he liked the accessibility of its performers.

“It was the natural acoustic tones of these instruments,” he said about the appeal of bluegrass. “It's not the electrified, whole band with a great big set of drums that kind of take away from the subtletites of acoustic music.”

“And it was just how approachable the musicians and singers were where I was growing up. You couldn't get close to a country artist if you went to see them,” Moore said.

“But I could walk right up to a (bluegrass) band warming up, getting ready to go onstage, listen to what they were doing. And that was very intriguing.”

Contact Entertainment Editor Bill Dean at 374-5039 or at bill.dean@gvillesun.com, and follow him on Twitter @SceneBillDean.

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