CLEMSON — Legendary mandolin player Bobby Osborne and banjo player J.D. Crowe join talents to present a concert of distinctive bluegrass music at 8 p.m. Monday, Nov. 16, at Clemson University’s Brooks Center for the Performing Arts.

“The Brooks Center audience is in for a real treat when these two legends come to town,” said Mark Hosler, a university expert on country and bluegrass music history.

Joining Osborne and Crowe are the next generation of bluegrass stars from the Kentucky School of Bluegrass and Traditional Music Ensemble. 

“Their performance with a young generation of musicians will give us all an opportunity to witness firsthand a musical ‘passing of the torch,’ a tradition as old as bluegrass itself,” Hosler said.  

The Grammy-winning Crowe is considered one of American’s most influential banjo players. In the 1970s, he was at the forefront of the progressive bluegrass movement, a style that blended the traditional sounds of the music with country, rock and blues music, helping bluegrass reach a broader, younger audience.

“Crowe was founder to the most revolutionary bluegrass band of its time,” Hosler said. “The New South featured an all-star lineup featuring Tony Rice, Jerry Douglas and Ricky Skaggs. This group took a ‘new traditionalist’ approach to bluegrass, staying true to the roots of bluegrass, yet contemporary as well.”

Mandolin player Osborne is a longtime star of the Grand Ole Opry, making his first appearance in 1964. He was the first to record “Rocky Top,” the tune that would become the Tennessee state song and the most-recorded song in bluegrass history. Osborne gained notoriety for his performances with his brother, Sonny.

“The Osborne Brothers Band was considered by many to be one of the most innovative and popular bluegrass bands of the post-World War II era,” said Hosler.

“I saw Bobby Osborne and his current band perform at the Grand Ole Opry. They received the evening’s largest ovation. The playing of his signature tunes, 'Ruby’ and ‘Rocky Top,’ had the audience on their feet throughout,” Hosler said.

Tickets for the American Bluegrass Masters concert are $25 for adults and $15 for students. Tickets and additional information are available at www.clemson.edu/Brooks or by calling the box office at 864-656-7787 from 1 to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday.

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