About Lynwood Lunsford
This North Carolina banjo player was brought up on a family diet of country & western and old-time music but was not exposed to bluegrass until the Camp Springs Bluegrass Festival became established about an hour's drive from where Lunsford grew up. The festival, run by musician Carlton Haney, helped make bluegrass incredibly popular in the region in the early 70s, to the point where Lunsford remembered being something of a fad to start one's own bluegrass band. A good example was right at home. His father and two of his cousins formed a bluegrass outfit called the Country Cousins. The rambunctious practice sessions in the house were Lunsford's first real exposure to the music. His whole family on his father's side did play music, including relatives that picked both mandolin and banjo. But this was strictly old-time music, and while some listeners might not be able to discern the difference, the preteen Lunsford certainly could. When he heard bluegrass banjo he fell in love with the instrument and decided to try and figure out how to play it himself. The clawhammer style favored by his great grandfather Bascam Lamar Lunsford hadn't had such an inspirational effect on him. The younger Lunsford played in professional and semi-professional bands since the late '70s. His credits include two years with Jimmy Martin, five years in the band Lost and Found, and one year with the Alabama band Sand Mountain. In 1998, the latter band recorded the album Molly Rose for the Hay Holler label. The title cut was a Lynwood original, possibly revealing the touch of a populist. As the rose is one of the most popular flowers in the world and "Molly," a variant of "Mary," one of the most widespread English names, a bluegrass tune called "Molly Rose" had built-in potential to stay on bluegrass trade charts for months.
The original Lost and Found band was formed in the early '70s and consisted of bassist Allen Mills, banjo player Gene Parker, mandolinist Dempsey Young, and guitarist Roger Handy. The band worked steadily through the increase in the size of bluegrass through the '70s and into the '90s, by which time Lunsford and guitarist Ray Berrier were brought in to replace two of the departing original members. Lunsford cut a total of three albums with this group for the Rebel and Copper Creek labels, and was considered to have been a superb addition to the band, blending perfectly with mandolinist Young as well as coming up with a number of new tunes that were solidly in the group's style.
The Hay Holler folks signed up the banjoist as a solo artist in 1999. He was also part of the Grass Tank CD and project organized by Eden, NC, guitarist Johnny Williams as a chance to get together with some of his favorite local pickers. The resulting Grass Tank band plays a few dates each year as the members' schedules permit. Lynwood is also an accomplished guitarist.
He formed his own group, Lynwood Lunsford and the Misty Valley Boys, in 2000. Bandmembers include guitarist Travers Chandler, fiddler Andy Martin, and bassist Gary Baird, which would have the opportunity to travel throughout the United States, Canada, and Mexico. The group has released several albums on the Hay Holler label.
After forming the Misty Valley Boys, the band recorded the album A Portrait of the Blues (HH-1355), released in November 2000. ~ Eugene Chadbourne, Rovi