Ernie Thacker and Route 23/New Tyme/Rowan County Ramblers (#708)

A former lead singer for Ralph Stanley plays a fusion of bluegrass, country, and gospel with his own band.

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Although he’s considered part of a new generation in the bluegrass world, Ernie Thacker is nothing short of an old pro. He brings his powerful vocals, backed by his band, Route 23, to Jubilee in a program that also features performances by New Tyme and the Rowan County Ramblers.

Born into a musical family in northern Ohio, Thacker mastered fiddle, mandolin, and guitar at such an early age that he was playing gigs by age 13. At 16, he joined bluegrass legend Ralph Stanley’s band as full-time mandolin player. He appeared on six albums with Stanley, one of which won a Grammy.

This Jubilee performance spotlights Thacker’s first solo album, The Chill of Lonesome. Thacker and Route 23, New Tyme, and the Rowan County Ramblers were recorded at IIIrd Tyme Out’s 2001 Poppy Mountain Bluegrass Festival in Morehead, KY.