PressStarlett and Big John Make the Top 12
Mountain Bluegrass with David Pugh
The Weekly Top 12 for March 7th, 2021
Starlett and Big John Debut on the charts at number 11!
The Bluegrass Standard
Starlett and Big John Bring Their “Perfect Fit” Musicianship to a New Record
by Kara M. Bachman
It’s not every day that we get to meet someone who performed on the Opry stage with bluegrass legend Bill Monroe. It’s even rarer to get the opportunity to be in a band with that level of street cred. For bassist and vocalist Starlett Boswell Austin, performing with such a musician — guitarist Big John Talley — had tremendous appeal. She met him when they were both filling in with another band in January of 2019.
“We both had been playing music all our lives and had the same friends growing up, and couldn’t believe we had never met before,” Starlett explained. “We had the same musical influences, and we liked the same music, same bands and it was down to liking the same songs. It was just a perfect fit.”
That “perfect fit” became the duo Starlett and Big John. According to Starlett, the pairing that required no extra accommodations or compromises still didn’t happen without a few surprises.
“When we were in the studio recording a song we had written, while I was not there, he recorded this awesome guitar break. It was literally out of this world. Very good, hard-driving, excellent picking…perfect…if it were being played as background music in a game of Mario Brothers or Tetris!” she said. “I was blown away. It was good, and I had no idea how I was gonna say, ‘no, I don’t think that is gonna fit right there, let’s get back to the basics.’ The joke was on me…ha-ha…he was joking the whole time.”It sounds like a whole lotta fun, but for these two, performing has been serious business for each since childhood.
“My dad played, his dad played,” Big John said. “It’s been a generation of musicians I came up in.” He became hooked when as a child, his dad took him to Virginia’s Galax Fiddler’s Convention. “At 17, I won the VFMA [Virginia Folk Music Association] for the state of Virginia, male vocalist category. That same year, I also played with the Grand Ole Opry,” he said.
Read MoreBluegrass Duet Starlett and Big John Join Turnberry Records
February 2, 2021--Rancho Mirage, Calif.--It is with delight that Turnberry Records and Management announces acquisition of new talent to be added to its roster of quality recording artists. Bluegrass duet Starlett and Big John have been signed to a 2-CD deal at the burgeoning label.
The duo is comprised of 38-year music veteran and Virginian, Big John Talley, who has performed with various outfits including New Dominion Bluegrass, and whose performance resume includes many appearances with Bill Monroe and The Bluegrass Boys--including at the Grand Ole Opry--as well as with Jackie Phelps (Hee Haw), Tater Tate and Jodi Rainwater. Guitarist Talley is joined by the talented Starlett Boswell Austin, a singer since childhood recognized as bassist and vocalist with Lawson Creek Grass.
This relatively new pairing of two lifelong musicians to form the duo represents a somewhat new direction, and goes hand-in-hand with their new partnership entered into with Turnberry.
“We’re super excited to be on the Turnberry label,” Big John said. “We think this will be a great relationship between a great label and ourselves.”
“This is definitely a dream come true,” Starlett said. “I’m excited for the music that we’re making.”
That music includes the record “Till the End of the Road,” the duo’s initial release via Turnberry. The first single from the record is expected to drop on February 8. When released, the full 12-track album will include three originals penned solo by Starlett; two co-written by her and Big John; and a song each by experienced songwriters Keith Driver and Barney Rogers. Also included are Starlett and Big John renditions of older tunes by Earl Taylor, Bill Monroe and more.
“We’re excited about the album, which is already recorded,” Big John said. “We’ve got some heavy hitters. The guys we played with are our dream band.”
Those “dream band” musicians also appearing on the upcoming record include: Jonathan Dillion (mandolin), David Carroll (banjo) and Ron Stewart (fiddle).
Stewart--bluegrass multi-instrumentalist and winner of IBMA “Player of the Year” awards for both fiddle and banjo--created the liner notes for the record and wrote of the CD: “Great original material, a couple of deep catalogue classics, some newer gems, great singing, great picking, good production, it’s all there.” He said he was “thrilled” to be asked to provide fiddle for the record.
Turnberry Records and Management looks forward to bringing new music to the world. Located in Rancho Mirage, Calif., the label is a division of The Bluegrass Standard Magazine, which provides in-depth interviews with both the stars--and the up-and-coming new artists--in the worlds of bluegrass, country, Americana and folk. For more information about Starlett and Big John, or about the label and magazine, visit www.turnberryrecords.com or www.thebluegrassstandard.com