IBMA’s five-time male vocalist of the year set to headline concert at OCHS

-A A +A
By Molly Haines

The bright lights and honky tonks of Pasadena, Texas are a far cry from the hills and hollers of Appalachia where Bluegrass music originated in the 1940s.
Russell Moore, International Bluegrass Music Association’s (IBMA) five-time male vocalist of the year, grew up a scant two miles from Gilley’s, a bar and honky tonk owned by country music’s Mickey Gilley. But it was the music of the mountaineers that pulled Moore east where the traditional form of music flourished throughout the ‘70s and ‘80s.
Moore, along with his band IIIryd Tyme Out, will headline the “Night Before Mayberry Concert” inside the Owen County High School auditorium later this month, and while Moore’s group is rooted in the traditions of Bluegrass, he maintains, “this isn’t your grandpa or your dad’s Bluegrass music.”
Introduced to the acoustic style of music by family members as a pre-teen, Moore initially became intrigued by artists such as Kentucky natives Sonny and Bobby Osborne, The Osborne Brothers, for their approachability before and after a show.
“It was really cool to be able to get up close to them at the venues or festivals and actually see what they were doing, hear what they were doing acoustically,” Moore said during an interview Thursday. “I got bit, as they say, that’s where my heart went. I never tried to follow the country music scene that was all around. Bluegrass was much less visible and heard as compared to country music in the area, but that’s where my heart went, and that’s all I’ve ever actually performed or played.”
At 20 years old, Moore packed his bags and headed east following an offer from IBMA Hall of Famer Doyle Lawson, who headlined the first Kickin’ Grass Concert Series at OCHS earlier this year. Moore and his bandmates performed at Lawson’s annual Bluegrass festival and settled in Ashville, N.C. before Lawson eventually offered Moore and two of his bandmates positions with his group, Quicksilver, in 1985.
After six years and seven recordings with Quicksilver, Moore struck out on his own, forming IIIryd Tyme Out in 1991.
The group immediately hit the recording studio, releasing three albums and quickly becoming a favorite among Bluegrass festival-goers. In 1994, the group earned its first of an unsurpassed seven IBMA awards for vocal group of the year.
The group continued gaining popularity, but rising tensions amongst members led to a rebranding, and in the early 2000s, the group changed its name to Russell Moore and IIIryd Tyme Out with Moore assuming leadership of the band.
While Moore is the only original member of the group left, he contends IIIryd Tyme Out’s sound is better than ever, having recently added fiddle player and bass singer Nathan Aldridge.
“Because of his low voice Nathan has brought back the ability to incorporate quartets and quintets back into our program, which we kinda missed out on the last few years,” Moore said. “It’s two-fold, he’s a great fiddle player and a great person to travel with, but he’s also got the ability for bass vocals. He’s a complete package for us, and it’s working out really great.”
The group will perform at OCHS June 15 as part of the Kickin’ Grass Concert Series. Titled “The Night Before Mayberry Concert,” local favorite The Downtown County Band will open the show beginning at 7 p.m.
Tickets for the event will be available for purchase at the Owen County Farm and Craft Market, located at 430 Roland Ave., from 10 a.m.-1 p.m., Friday, for $20 a piece.
Tickets are also available online by visiting https://app.gopassage.com/events/the-night-before-mayberry-concert, or concert-goers may purchase tickets at the door the evening of the show. Children 12 and under will be admitted for free.
“With IIIryd Tyme Out you’re gonna get a variety of music within the parameters of Bluegrass music with acoustic instruments and all,” Moore said. “There’s gonna be traditional-style Bluegrass music, some contemporary stylings, we’re gonna do some pop influence and throw some Gospel songs in there for everybody -- we’re just gonna throw a lot of things at you that are entertaining and make it flow to a place that is just a great musical ride.”