The Newport Folk Festival today announced that The Earls of Leicester has been added to their 2023 lineup. The legendary bluegrass band will perform on Sunday, July 30.
The Earls of Leicester is a bluegrass band that pays tribute to the music of Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs. The band was founded in 2013 by Grammy-winning musician Jerry Douglas, who plays the resonator guitar and is also a member of Alison Krauss and Union Station.
Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs were two of the most influential figures in bluegrass music. They began performing together in the 1940s and were instrumental in popularizing the genre through their appearances on the Grand Ole Opry and their work on the theme song for the television show “The Beverly Hillbillies.”
After Flatt and Scruggs disbanded in 1969, each pursued separate careers. Flatt formed the Nashville Grass, while Scruggs formed the Earl Scruggs Revue. Flatt passed away in 1979, while Scruggs continued to perform and record until his death in 2012.
The Earls of Leicester was formed as a way to pay tribute to Flatt and Scruggs and their music. The band includes several accomplished musicians, including Douglas on resonator guitar, Shawn Camp on lead vocals and guitar, Charlie Cushman on banjo, Jeff White on vocals and guitar, Johnny Warren on fiddle, and Barry Bales on bass.
The band’s self-titled debut album, released in 2014, won the Grammy Award for Best Bluegrass Album. The album features faithful renditions of classic Flatt and Scruggs songs, as well as some lesser-known tunes. The band’s second album, “Rattle & Roar,” was released in 2016 and also won the Grammy Award for Best Bluegrass Album.
The Earls of Leicester have become one of the most popular and respected bluegrass bands performing today. Their performances pay tribute to the tradition of bluegrass music while also showcasing the individual talents of the band members. They continue to tour and record, keeping the legacy of Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs alive for a new generation of music fans.
For their Artist Give, the band has asked Newport Festivals Foundation to make a grant to ETSU Bluegrass, Old-Time, and Roots Music Studies, one of the oldest University programs for bluegrass, old-time and country music. Funds will be used to support their music education programs that aim to honor the ways that these styles of music have been handed down for generations, while also encouraging innovation and exploration of related and newly emerging musical styles.
The sold-out 2023 Newport Folk Festival will take place July 28 – 30, 2023, at Fort Adams State Park.
This announcement is just one of several recently made by the Newport Folk Festival. The festival’s Artist Gives program, which donates funds to music education programs for every artist on the lineup, has also seen donations made to various other charities.