10 October 2011

Patriots call it a 'day' after 31 years

L-r: Dan Rogers, Dan Mitchell, Willie McDonald, Ken Seaman, Glenn Zankey

Jimmy Carter was president when the Bluegrass Patriots took the stage at the Colorado State University Student Center for their first gig in October of 1980. Almost thirty-one years later, they will play their final show at Avogadro's Number in Fort Collins, CO, on 21 October 2011.

Four of the original band members are still with the band: Glenn Zankey, Dan Rogers, Willie McDonald, and Ken Seaman. Following the death of Rick Bradstreet in 2002, several musicians have taken Rick's spot in the band including Dan Mitchell, Ernie Martinez, Bobby Vickery, and Jean Ballhorn.

The Bluegrass Patriots travelled far and wide over the course of three-plus decades including five tours of Ireland and the British Isles, two tours of Denmark/Sweden, and several appearances in Alaska and Canada. They played most of the major bluegrass festivals in the US, and private parties for Former President Gerald Ford, Senator John Glenn, and Governor Richard Lamm. The band served as goodwill ambassadors for bluegrass music everywhere they played, making countless friends over the years wherever they appeared.

The 'Bluegrass Patriots' name will be retired, only to be used if the group does an occasional 'reunion' appearance. The Patriots have over a half-dozen recordings to their credit and some of them can still be ordered at the band's website. The band would like to express their sincere thanks to their many fans, friends, promoters, fellow musicians, and family members for their support over the years.

BIB editor's note: The above release has just been received from the Patriots and is also on their home page. The band's many friends in Ireland will receive it with regret, but also with great gratitude; we have known them for more than half their career, as they first came to Ireland for the very first Guinness International Bluegrass Festival at Dunmore East, Co. Waterford, in 1995, and any members of the band who come back here in any capacity can be sure of a welcome. The photo album from their 2006 tour in Ireland and Britain can be seen here.



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