The Berline-Crary-Hickman trio features three of the most renowned bluegrass musicians to have taken up the form: fiddle virtuoso Byron Berline, banjo master John Hickman, and celebrated guitarist Dan Crary. Individually and as a group, they have brought innovation and new creative energy to the traditions of bluegrass and country music, recording with numerous legendary artists and performing around the world.
When Byron Berline played the Newport Folk Festival in 1965 he met Bill Monroe, who asked Berline to join the Blue Grass Boys. In 1967, the young fiddle player accepted the invitation and made his first appearance with the band at the Grand Ole Opry. After moving to Los Angeles in 1969 he soon became one of the most popular fiddlers in the music business. His long list of collaborative performing and recording credits include sessions with The Rolling Stones, The Eagles, The Band, The Byrds, The Flying Burrito Brothers, Earl Scruggs, Emmylou Harris, Tammy Wynette, Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson and Vince Gill. Like his contemporary Vassar Clements, fiddler Byron Berline expanded the sonic possibilities of bluegrass, adding elements of jazz, pop, blues, rock and traditional country to the genre.
Regarded as one of the great masters of the banjo, the legendary John Hickman continues his 30 year collaboration with Berline. Hickman has played with bluegrass greats such as Red Alien, Frank Wakefield, and Earl Taylor’s Stoney Mountain Boys, as well another Berline-Crary-Hickman band incarnation, California. Much of Hickman’s work can be found on major label studio sessions and motion picture and television soundtracks. Along with artists like Earl Scruggs and Béla Fleck, Hickman is widely considered to be among the best banjo players in modern times and remains famous for his ability to imitate with amazing precision the picking styles of other prominent banjo players.
Bluegrass connoisseurs agree that Dan Crary is a pioneering flat-picking stylist with an international reputation for innovation, taste and brilliance. With more than 50 years as a performer, Crary has pursued the development of his unique approach to the steel string, flat-top guitar, transforming what had always been an instrument of accompaniment into one with a leading role, capable of fluent, expressive melodies and a variety of textures. A long and distinguished recording career, featuring solo projects and group efforts (especially with California) plus many guest appearances, has won Crary the mark of legend in bluegrass circles and the music community in general.
Drawing on their combined expertise, the Berline-Hickman-Crary trio’s Jubliee performance brings together a vast amount of experience and technical precision sure to inspire fans of bluegrass and brilliant musicianship all the same.
This artist appears in Jubilee #719: Berline – Crary – Hickman.