Local quintet introduces young blood to old time Bluegrass

By: Mike McCarthy Email
By: Mike McCarthy Email

ANDERSON COUNTY (WVLT) -- Bluegrass music has struck a chord with one East Tennessee band.

At first glance, Laycee Lee and Granite Station appear a little young to be singing the old time genre’s tunes and praises.

But even though all their members are under the age of 21, they’ve already received worldwide attention.

"You don't really find young Bluegrass Bands, especially the traditional ones," said Laycee Lee Mack, the band’s 16 year old lead singer who has been behind a microphone for the last 13 years. "A man told my dad that if I wanted to sing, I needed to play the guitar. That way, I could keep rhythm."

Now, besides strumming, she also co-manages the band and at one point, spent more than scouting for back-up.

The band now consists of Laycee on lead vocals, the fiddle and guitar, Alex Leach, 19, on guitar and mandolin, Brannon Hyder, 20, on bass, banjo, Dobro, and the mandolin, Andrew Hamblin, 17, on baritone vocals, bass, banjo, and piano, and their youngest member, Abby Sinders, 14, who also plays the piano.

Each is self taught, and they have been playing together for only the last six months.

"We picked up on it, we play it, and we do our best,” said Andrew, “I believe that's what matters."

On Saturday night, they took the stage at the historic Ritz Theater in Clinton.

They have also played to audiences in Kentucky, Virginia and East Tennessee and sold CDs as far away as Ireland and Japan.

"Not one word can describe it, except that it's fun," said Brannon.

Andrew may be one of the few teen-bop banjo players in the nation, and he knows all about breaking through the string stereotypes.

“You mention bluegrass and you think of 80 and 90 year old men," he said.

For each member, the genre is not a phase, but rather a professional pursuit.

"I really think we can make a difference,” said Laycee, “Just because we're young doesn't mean we can't play like everyone else."

To them, there is nothing cooler than strumming a few bluegrass chords.

"I have to keep this great music going,” Brannon said, “it's the best music ever.”

Laycee Lee and Granite Station recently auditioned for Dollywood, and they hope to land the gig for the summer.

You can read more about the band along with listen to their music by clicking on the links below.

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