Wildfire

The bluegrass band Wildfire features four former members of J.D. Crowe’s band, New South. Their Jubilee appearance includes performances and interviews recorded at the 2002 Festival of the Bluegrass in Lexington, KY.

Wildfire comprises five veteran musicians: dobro man and vocalist Phil Leadbetter, guitarist and vocalist Robert Hale, mandolin player and vocalist Darrell Webb, Curt Chapman on upright bass, and Barry Crabtree on banjo. The first four are all members of an exclusive bluegrass music club that includes Ricky Skaggs, Keith Whitley, and Tony King, to name just a few—bluegrass musicians who have played with J.D. Crowe. His band the New South has been a proving ground for some of the leading lights of bluegrass music. Wildfire’s Leadbetter and Chapman worked with Crowe on Flashback, which received a Grammy nomination for Best Bluegrass Album in 1994.

Leadbetter, Hale, Webb, and Chapman have performed bluegrass and country music together since 1976. The quartet was joined in the studio by banjo picker Scott Vestal to record the album Uncontained, released in 2000. Musical sparks flew, and Wildfire was born. Since that time, banjo player Barry Crabtree, who spent a decade with Larry Sparks and the Lonesome Ramblers, became a member of the touring band.

Stellar harmonies, heartfelt lead vocals, and unique arrangements of traditional and not-so-traditional country and bluegrass tunes are staples of this high-energy group. The Jubilee performance features tunes from Where Roads Divide, released in 2003.


This artist appears in the following Jubilee programs:

Wildfire (#808)
Former members of J.D. Crowe’s New South burn up the bluegrass with their unique sound.
Wildfire (#1024)
Virtuoso guitar picking and hot banjo runs energize classic bluegrass and country.