Author: Chelsea

Blue Ridge National Heritage Area

Blue Ridge National Heritage Area

Jonah Riddle & Carolina Express are now featured in the Artist Directory for Blue Ridge National Heritage Area! You can view their profile here.

Jonah Riddle & Carolina Express features a trio of family members from Yancey County centered around the playing and singing of brothers Jonah and Grayson Riddle. The band also includes their father, Benjie Riddle, and Michael Grove, from Cosby, Tennessee. They occasionally perform with Mars Hill fiddler, Rhiannon Ramsey.

The Riddle brothers grew up around bluegrass and gospel music. “Bluegrass was around the house for as long as I can remember,” Jonah says. Their grandfather, Butch Ball, plays Dobro and guitar, and he would play in church and family events. When Jonah was around seven years old, his grandfather started teaching him to play Dobro, getting him started on stringed instruments. Jonah’s father, Benjie, was learning to play some banjo, and soon Jonah turned his attention to the five-string as well.

Around this time, Jonah sought out a banjo teacher and found Rhonda Gouge, a local multi- instrumentalist and instructor who has worked with many of the areas budding musicians. Jonah’s younger brother, Grayson, started taking guitar lessons from Gouge, and his father started learning to play bass.

Jonah first started performing several times a week in his church, blending his love for bluegrass and gospel music. With Grayson learning guitar and Benjie learning bass, Jonah decided to start the band, Jonah Riddle & Carolina Express. Grayson plays guitar and sings lead, Jonah plays banjo, and Benjie plays bass. The group is known for dressing in ties, jackets, and brimmed hats, like their idols Jimmy Martin and Earl Scruggs.

Since starting the band, the group has played on stages with Doyle Lawson, Darin and Brooke AldridgeBalsam Range, Ralph Stanley II, Ricky Skaggs, J.D. Crowe, and many others. They have performed at the Ryman Auditorium Courtyard, Dollywood, the North Carolina State Fair,  Bluegrass First Class in Asheville, the Carter Fold, Silver Dollar City, and the WDVX Blue Plate Special in Knoxville, Tennessee. The group and individual boys have won several awards and ribbons for their playing, and they were featured in the IBMA Kids on Bluegrass in Raleigh.

The band released their first CD, Traditions, in 2016 which includes an original song from Jonah, as well as bluegrass covers from Flatt and Scruggs, Jimmy Martin, and some gospel material. “We like to try and keep the older style of bluegrass going,” Jonah says. “If there aren’t people to carry it on, it will eventually die out.”

In 2017 the band released their second CD, House On The Corner, which is also the title of an original song written by Jonah.

The band’s third recording, an all-gospel project comes out in the summer of 2019.

NEW ALBUM! House on the Corner

NEW ALBUM! House on the Corner

We have a new album out called House on the Corner! Below is a track-listing of all the songs on the album.

  1. In Despair
  2. I’ll Remember You Love In My Prayers
  3. Green Green Grass Of Home
  4. Skip Hop And Wobble
  5. Because He Loved Me
  6. The House On The Corner
  7. Highway 52
  8. Another Night
  9. I Can’t Keep You In Love With Me
  10. A Robin Built A Nest On Daddy’s Grave
  11. Just As The Sun Went Down
  12. Two Coats

CDs are a total of $18 ($15 for the CD and $3 for shipping). To purchase a copy, you can buy it through Paypal below.

Bluegrass & Blue Water Cruise

Bluegrass & Blue Water Cruise

Carolina Express  will be going on a cruise January 2018! It is the Bluegrass and Blue Water Cruise and it will be presented by Deering Banjos.

A little about the cruise from their website:

5 DAYS OF BLUEGRASS AND BLUE WATER, JAMMING, WORKSHOPS, AND ALL THE FUN YOU CAN STAND! SAILING FROM CHARLESTON, SC TO FREEPORT AND NASSAU, BAHAMAS!

JOIN NU-BLU, CAROLINA BLUE, THE HINSON GIRLS, AND CAROLINA EXPRESS ON THE HIGH SEAS FOR CONCERTS, WORKSHOPS, JAM-WITH-THE-BAND SESSIONS, AND OTHER FUN FILLED MUSIC ACTIVITIES!

Read more about the cruise at bluegrassandbluewatercruise.com