Do Savannnah

Bluegrass performer Joel Aderhold hits Tybee with the New South String Band

  • Joel Aderhold will bring his bluegrass banjo to Tybee Island on June 11.
  • Joel Aderhold will bring his bluegrass banjo to Tybee Island on June 11.

Bluegrass performer Joel Aderhold hits Tybee with the New South String Band

08 Jun 2016

Get ready for a bluegrass jamboree of time-honored mountain music.

Joel Aderhold and the New South String Band will play the Tybee Post Theater on June 11. Last summer, they played a sold-out tribute to Bill Monroe in Atlanta with Aderhold on banjo, Brian Stephens on guitar and mandolin, Maggie Aderhold Stephens on upright bass and John Rice on fiddle.

“It’s a habit, music is,” Aderhold says. “It’s in your blood.

“It’s the kind of thing people would still do, even if they didn’t make money doing it. I’ve always done it. It’s never been a full-time career,” he says. “I’ve always had a job or business and done music on weekends and kept it where it was a fun thing.”

Aderhold started playing the banjo during the folk music revival.

“I was drawn to the three-finger banjo style that Earl Scruggs used,” Aderhold says. “He learned from people who had a crude style, but polished it and more or less brought it into popularity.

“He played with Bill Monroe and the Bluegrass Boys, then went on to his own partnership with Lester Flatt,” Aderhold says. “They did the theme for ‘The Beverly Hillbillies.’”

When Aderhold got his own banjo, he took a few lessons.

“I started going where it was played,” he says. “I met other pickers and expanded my knowledge from other people.

“I started playing with a group. There was a fellow named Bill Brown, who was a professor at Young Harris College in North Georgia.

“He’s a musician and became interested in a lot of people who began to play music back in the ’60s and helped popularize the bluegrass style in the North Georgia area,” Aderhold says. “He compiled information on people who were there and has a website with interviews with myself and my wife and some written info about different groups he’s played with.”

Aderhold is not a full-time musician, but he has no regrets.

“Music is a lot of fun, but the music business isn’t,” he says. “It can be a tough way to make a living with all the traveling. There’s a lot of overhead.”

But the draw of music has pulled in Aderhold’s family, as well as himself.

“My wife, Earleen, plays,” he says. “That’s the way we met in 1971 in North Carolina. She played with her family and we met at a place where we were both playing and started our courtship.

“We got married and she moved to Georgia. We live in the Loganville area,” Aderhold says. “She’s coming with me to Savannah, but she’s not going to play.”

Instead, Aderhold will play with his daughter, upright bassist Maggie Aderhold Stephens.

“She couldn’t help but have the talent,” Aderhold says. “She had the interest to play.

“Her husband, Brian, is a multi-instrumentalist. Everything he picks up, he can play.

“We‘d known Brian since he was 7 or 8,” Aderhold says. “He and Maggie grew up together. We also have a fiddler, John Rice.”

In addition to his own group, Aderhold also plays with The Skillet Lickers.

“They are one of the original recorded string bands from back in the ’20s,” he says. “The grandson of the original founder heads up the group.”

There is a musical play, “Country Music Down Yonder,” about early country music in Georgia and how it came to be recorded.

“They went around and recorded local entertainers,” Aderhold says. “That’s how The Skillet Lickers got started. Their instrumental song ‘Down Yonder’ in 1936 is one of the most popular country music instrumentals.”

A DVD of “Country Music Down Yonder” will be available for sale at the concert.

At the Tybee Post Theater, the New South String Band will play the bluegrass of the North Georgia mountains.

“We’ll do a program of mostly bluegrass standards that anyone who has had much exposure to bluegrass will recognize,” Aderhold says. “We may do one or two original tunes, songs we’ve written.

“We try to keep things mixed up and do enough songs even people who are not familiar with bluegrass would recognize, like ‘Foggy Mountain Breakdown’ and ‘Dueling Banjos.’ We do enjoy it a lot.”



What: Joel Aderhold and the New South String Band

When: 8 p.m. June 11

Where: Tybee Post Theater, 10 Van Horne Ave., Tybee Island

Cost: $25 or $22.50 for members

Info:, 912-472-4790