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Band Bio

South Carolina Bluegrass Band PALMETTO BLUE is a blend of seasoned traditional music veterans mixed with the freshness of youthful band members who have been playing bluegrass music since their childhood. We are serious about having fun while passing along the tradition of our music. Our shows will surely entertain you with old favorites, lively fiddle and banjo tunes that make you want to dance and tap your feet, old time country songs, a capella trio songs, and new songs as well.

We will play for your party, event, city festival, BBQ, wedding reception, square dance, afternoon social club, folklore class, political rally, historical exhibit, corporate function, barn raising, hunt club, fundraiser, state, national, or international conference, family reunion, oyster roast, and just about any other kind of event you can think of!

If you're looking at South Carolina bluegrass bands, you're sure to be pleased if you call on us the next time you need a bluegrass band to provide entertainment!

Band Members


Chris Boutwell

Lead Vocals, Mandolin, and Guitar

Chris has been singing and playing bluegrass music since the late 1960s, and was a member of the band "High Country" from 1970 to 1976. High Country has been known as the premier bluegrass band on the west coast of the U.S. from the early 1970s onward. During his tenure as High Country's lead vocalist, Chris recorded two albums with the band on Warner Brothers Records. After moving to South Carolina around 30 years ago, he has been a fixture on the bluegrass scene in the Palmetto State. Chris has played in numerous bands over the years, including High Country, Amick Junction, High Lonesome, Anna and Shellie Davis and the Unnamed Bluegrass Band, and the Claude Lucas Band. You're sure to enjoy Chris' smooth vocals. He is a walking encyclopedia of bluegrass knowledge, and you will be challenged to find another vocalist who knows the lyrics to as many songs as Chris does. Chris was selected as the 2014 Recipient of South Carolina's Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Award for his contributions to preserving traditional bluegrass music.

Shellie Davis

Bass and Vocals

Shellie Davis is no stranger to the bluegrass music scene. She has been playing the bass and singing in bluegrass bands since she was 8 years old. Shellie played in the band Anna and Shellie Davis and the Unnamed Bluegrass Band, and made her first studio recordings when she was 10 years old. Shellie keeps a rock-solid beat, and can sing sweet harmonies and has her share of songs on which she sings lead vocals. Although Shellie is rooted in the time-proven bluegrass traditions, she also keeps us on our toes by bringing current songs to the band. She also encourages us to experiment with non-traditional material such as bluegrass takes of Beatles songs! When she's not playing the bass and singing with Palmetto Blue, Shellie is excelling in high school academics and extracurricular activities. She is a rising senior, is the Student Body President and is among the top students in her class. We are proud to have her as a member of our band!

Steve Willis

Banjo

Steve Willis has been playing banjo since the mid 1970s. At age 15 he bought a $98 banjo from K-Mart, and was and was soon hanging out with Little Roy Lewis on Tuesday night tapings of their Lewis Family show on TV station WJBF in Augusta, Georgia, learning banjo licks from Little Roy. It wasn't long before he had saved enough to get a better banjo. He was soon playing with Ed Hurt and the Cross Country Express, which included award winning fiddler George Pritchard. Steve was soon playing banjo for radio commercials and won several first place titles in banjo contests. He got to play banjo for Mac Wiseman on a show, and was joined on stage by banjo legend Don Reno for a few numbers. In his early 20s, marriage and raising a family took priority, and Steve put his banjo down for nearly 30 years. We are glad that he has picked it back up again! His solid style is deeply rooted in the Scruggs tradition.
Ashley Carder
Fiddle

Ashley has been playing bluegrass and old-time music for over 30 years and has played in various SC bluegrass bands including Bill Wells and the Blue Ridge Mountain Grass, High Lonesome, Anna & Shellie Davis & the Unnamed Bluegrass Band, Old Growth String Band, and The Blue Iguanas. Ashley's style of fiddling is rooted in the old time and early bluegrass traditions. Ashley is a 2012 recipient of South Carolina's Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Award, which was also awarded to his fiddling mentors, Homer "Pappy" Sherrill in 1988 and Vernon Riddle in 1999.
Ed Dalton
Guitar and vocals 

Ed Dalton has been playing the guitar since his childhood growing up in the Winston-Salem, NC area, where his dad would take him to bluegrass jam sessions. Ed grew up surrounded by bluegrass and old time music, where his dad played in bands with the likes of Joe Greene. Ed's grandfather was also a fiddler. Ed contributes some fine flatpicking guitar and vocals to the group, and has won several guitar contests over the years. Since moving to South Carolina, he has been a fixture on the bluegrass scene and has played in several regional bands. We are proud to welcome Ed as the newest member of the Palmetto Blue family!
Dr. Larry Klein
Dobro

Larry has been playing bluegrass music for over 30 years, and has been a fixture on the South Carolina bluegrass music scene since the 1980s. He is a long time member of Bill Wells and the Blue Ridge Mountain Grass. Larry is known to many as the host of SC ETV Radio's weekly show, "The Bluegrass Sound", a job that he held since the late 1980s, retiring in 2015. Known as "Dr. Dobro" in these parts, he has long been an advocate for bluegrass music in the Carolinas, and received South Carolina's Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Award for bluegrass advocacy in 2004. In addition to being a master of the dobro, Larry also is quite adept on the banjo and the guitar.

 

Established in 1991 and reactivated in 2014, the SC BTMA is a non-profit organization chartered by the state of South Carolina.