Three on a String: Bluegrass and more coming

Published 10:00 pm Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Not often do folks around Pike County have the opportunity to be entertained by a Hall of Fame bluegrass band.

That opportunity will be at 7 p.m. Monday, June 1, at the Trojan Center Theater when “Three On A String” comes to town.

“Bluegrass? Whoa,” said Jerry Ryan leader of “Three On A String,” which is the 2009 inductee into the Alabama Bluegrass Hall of Fame.

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Ryan had no intention of downplaying the tremendous honor the “Three” received in March, it’s just that “Three On A String” is more than just bluegrass.

“I think the reason we were elected to the Alabama Bluegrass Hall of Fame is because we have taken bluegrass to places where it would not normally be played,” Ryan said. “We don’t actually advertise what we do as bluegrass. It’s more musical comedy. We do bluegrass in the concert – Bill Monroe, Doc Watson and Ralph Stanley — but we also do Big Band music, like Glenn Miller and we do some folk music – Bob Dylan’s ‘Don’t Think Twice’ for one.

“Back in the 1970s, we had a traditional bluegrass band with five people playing the fiddle, mandolin, guitar, bass and banjo. After three or four years, we continued to play bluegrass in all our shows but not so much in the traditional sense and we added other music.”

Ryan plays the bass, guitar and harmonica and he just might “let loose” with “Orange Blossom Special” on the harmonica. Bobby Horton, who is known for his Civil War music, plays banjo, guitar, dobro and trumpet and Ryan’s son, Brad, plays upright bass and fiddle.

“We do a lot of swapping around to keep our show from being boring,” Ryan said, laughing.

Over the years, “Three On A String” has developed skits that add laughter and fun to their shows.

“We had our own club for a while and we developed the skits there as we went along,” Ryan said. “So what we do on stage has changed over the years.

Ryan said the skits bring variety to their “musical comedy” concerts

“We have skits about high school and talk about things like pep rallies, senior proms and homecoming parade, things that most people can relate to,” he said. “What we do is light and a lot of fun.”

Shadron Graham, Johnson Center for the Arts administrative assistant, said the “Three” are talented and experienced entertainers who know their business and want to share their good time show.“‘Three On A String’ is a hilariously funny, clean show that leaves the audience wanting more,” Graham said. “It will be a very entertaining show and we encourage everybody that enjoys music of different kinds – bluegrass, folk and Big Band – to join us for this great concert.”

Tickets for “Three On A String” are $12 for adults and $10 for students and are available at the sponsoring Johnson Center for the Arts, 300 East Walnut Street, Troy.

Tickets may also be purchased at the door but seating is limited.