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Local Group ClayBank Bluegrass to Perform at IBMA Youth Showcase in Raleigh on Oct. 2

By Jessica Isaacs

One of the High Country’s most promising groups will represent their community and their home state in Raleigh next month at the International Bluegrass Music Association’s third annual World of Bluegrass events — a coming home of the best, the brightest and the most promising in the industry.

After little more than six months together, the guys behind ClayBank are already making waves with their flawless approach to contemporary bluegrass. In this team of powerhouse performers, rising stars Zack Arnold, Jacob Greer and Tyler Thompson join veteran virtuoso Gary Trivette, whose professional career has included time with local groups like Southern Accent and Carolina Crossing.

With Trivette on bass, 23-year-old Thompson on banjo, 16-year-old Greer on guitar and 14-year-old Arnold on mandolin, these extraordinary singer/songwriters impart a modern flare to traditional mountain music to create a sound of their own — and they make it look easy.

“It’s traditional bluegrass with a modern twist,” Trivette said. “Our sound kind of takes you back to that 20-year period from about 1975 to 1995. That’s the sound we like, but not all of the songs we do are from that period.”

They convened as a group for the first time in February and earned the coveted top spot in the Fiddler’s Grove band competition just two months later. They spent the summer touring festivals across western North Carolina, and they’ll soon share the stage in Raleigh with some seriously talented up-and-comers.

“I’ve been playing music a long time, and this success is really because of how talented the young guys are, in my opinion, and how hard they’re willing to work to achieve goals,” Trivette said. “Any time you put experience and youth together you get something great. We had no idea that it was going to gel like it did, but it’s all just come together.”

With some of its members under the age of 25, ClayBank qualified for and applied to be part of the IBMA’s Wide Open Bluegrass Youth Showcase during the World of Bluegrass week. The IBMA Youth Council selected them as one of 10 groups from across the country, two of which hail from North Carolina, to perform in front of the downtown Raleigh Convention Center during the event.

They’ll play a 45-minute set starting at 2 p.m. on the main stage on Friday, Oct. 2.

“This is a pretty big opportunity for us to be heard by people that would never get to hear us up in the mountains,” Trivette said.

If you plan to make the trip to Raleigh to catch them in action, stick around for their follow up performance later that evening.

ClayBank is also working on their debut album, which will likely be self-titled and will feature three exclusive songs written by Nashville recording artist Milan Miller.

For details on the IBMA World of Bluegrass events, visit IBMA online.

To learn more about ClayBank, visit the band’s new website or follow them on Facebook.