Charlie Waller and the Country Gentlemen (#223)

Innovators for more than 40 years, the Country Gentlemen mix bluegrass, folk, and country.

True members of the bluegrass royalty, Charlie Waller and the Country Gentlemen were playing their authentic American music long before it became popular with Hollywood or was widely familiar to mainstream America. Since their 1959 release, Traveling Dobro Blues, and 1960’s Country Songs Old & New, the Country Gentlemen have been well known among bluegrass fans and folk aficionados.

The Country Gentlemen not only helped to keep bluegrass music alive, but also expanded the definition of “bluegrass” itself, playing progressive bluegrass before the term existed. A critical part of the first wave of the folk music revival in the late 1950s, the Gentlemen made a name for themselves as a band that not only played traditional material but also brought Bob Dylan’s folk tunes and contemporary country material into the genre. With their exceptional singing and virtuoso instrumentals, the Gentlemen attracted a broad audience, ranging from traditional country/bluegrass fans to folk and soft-rock lovers.

With more than two dozen albums to their credit, the Country Gentlemen have seen a number of personnel changes over the years. Since the beginning, though, guitarist/vocalist Charlie Waller has led the band through its numerous incarnations. The lineup for this performance includes Waller, Greg Corbett, Darin Aldridge, and Ronnie Davis. It was recorded at IIIrd Tyme Out’s 2001 Poppy Mountain Bluegrass Festival in Morehead, KY.

New fans of the Country Gentlemen may want to start with 45 Years of Memories. Released in August 2002, the album is a showcase of the group’s most successful hits.