ShadowGrass is a group of young musicians from Western North Carolina and Southwestern Virginia who crossed paths at local fiddller’s conventions in the summer of 2014. They began a musical journey that has led them to play and compete together.
"one of the most thrilling bluegrass bands to emerge from the musically-rich Crooked Road area in recent memory"from the Richmond Folk Festival
Kitty Amaral (age 14) fiddle and vocals
Kitty began playing the fiddle and singing at age six. Kitty also plays in the roots music band, Kitty & the Stray Cats. Her debut recording project: Fiddle Gems, was released in February of 2015 and received top reviews by Bluegrass Unlimited, Fiddler Magazine, CD Baby and County Sales. in addition Fiddle Gems also received airplay on bluegrass and roots radio shows all over the US and Canada, to Australia, New Zealand, and also Europe and Israel. Kitty has performed as MerleFest Youth Ambassador 2014,2015, played The Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tn with The Mike Snider Band; The Blue Ridge Music Center, HoustonFest, Fiddle & Plow and Ashe County WVTF Civic among many others. She also was featured as a top young talent of bluegrass on NPR’s nationally syndicated show; Here and Now. In 2013 Kitty participated in the Close Kin: Our Roots Run Deep, collaborative youth bluegrass/old-time recording project and performed at WAMU Bluegrass Country Show, The Song of the Mountains and The Blue Ridge Backroads Show. Kitty is a student of champion fiddler and multi instrumentalist, Matt Combs, of Nashville, TN. Kitty’s fiddle influences include: Byron Berline, Bobby Hicks, Kenny Baker, and Benny Martin.
Visit Kitty’s website at www.kittyamaral.com
Visit Kitty’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/KittyAmaralmusic
Presley Barker (age 12) - guitar and vocals
At age twelve, Presley Barker has been playing acoustic guitar for five years. Living in the NC mountains and listening to Doc Watson on the radio inspired Presley to begin picking fiddle tunes and bluegrass music. He has been influenced and mentored by Steve Lewis, Wayne Henderson, and Bryan Sutton. He has quickly emerged as an astonishingly gifted flat-picker. In the summer of 2015, Presley won first place in the prestigious Adult Guitar Competition at the 80th Annual Galax Old Fiddler’s Convention and in the summer of 2016, he was named West Virginia State Flatpicking Guitar Champion. Presley released his first solo album entitled “JUST-TEN” in the fall of 2015.
Visit Presley’s Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/presleybarkermusic
Luke Morris (age 16) mandolin and vocals
Growing up in Galax, Virginia, 16 year old Luke Morris has always been surrounded by bluegrass music. When Luke was 12, he got his hands on a mandolin while taking a guitar class and quickly fell in love with the instrument. He enjoys playing and singing anytime he is given the opportunity individually and with the band ShadowGrass. Luke is also passionate about teaching our regions traditional music to other students. He is an instructor with the Galax JAM program at Chestnut Creek School of the Arts in Galax. Musical influences that have shaped Luke’s mandolin style are Sam Bush, Chris Thile, Mike Marshall and his music teacher, Scott Freeman. As an individual and as a part of the band he has gained a collection of prize winning youth and adult titles around the area. When he is not playing bluegrass, Luke enjoys running, biking, swimming and playing and singing with the worship team at his church.
Clay Russell (age 15) banjo
Clay is fifteen years old and has lived in Grayson County, Virginia his entire life. He received his first banjo when he was four years old and learned to pick out song melodies using his thumb. At around age ten he began using the three finger method. A few years later he started entering local competitions and collaborated to help form the band ShadowGrass. Clay will be the first to admit his favorite part of any festival or competition is getting to meet and pick with other musicians, many of which have become great friends. Clay’s musical influences include Earl Scruggs, Jim Mills, J.D Crowe, Sammy Shelor and Ron Stewart as well as his instructor Eric Hardin.
Clay has had the opportunity to play venues including the IBMA Convention, SPBGMA, Richmond Folk Festival, MerleFest, Woodsongs, Song of the Mountains, Blue Ridge Music Center, Star Theatre, Rex Theatre, Heartwood Center, WPAQ’s Merry-Go-Round, WBRF’s Blue Ridge Backroads Show, live TV performances on WSLS, WKYT and WCYB, WAMU’s Katy Daley Show, Blue Ridge Acoustic Uprising, HoustonFest, RockyFest and WVTF’s Back to the Blue Ridge Show.
Clay is a member of IBMA’s Kid’s On Bluegrass and Tomorrow’s Bluegrass Stars. He is also a member of Brookside Baptist Church and enjoys hunting, camping and riding his four-wheeler in his spare time. Howbeit there are no immediate plans for the future, there’s no question that playing bluegrass music will in one aspect or another, always play a part in Clay’s life.
Kyser George (age 12) bass and vocals
Sitting in on his father’s band practices from the week his parents brought him home from the hospital, Kyser George, age 11, of Westfield, North Carolina, grew up steeped in the musical heritage of Stokes County. Kyser received his first instrument, a mandolin, at the age of 6 and it quickly became evident that the rhythm section was Kyser’s niche. After receiving instruction from his father, David George, Kyser discovered his love of bass at age 9 and is already considered one of the most solid bass players in the area. In addition to playing bass, Kyser enjoys playing guitar and mandolin and is the drummer and percussionist for his church. When he isn’t playing music, Kyser enjoys fishing, camping and shooting sports.