|Beartracks began as a trio in 2004. Legendary Dobro player Junior Barber convinced his cousins, Tom and Julie, to make the switch from playing traditional country music in clubs to playing bluegrass oriented material at festivals around the Northeast. The main focus of the group was the sibling vocal harmony of Tom and Julie and Junior’s unique stylist approach to playing resonator guitar. Although not a traditionally structured bluegrass group, the trio gained acceptance and a solid fan base at festivals throughout the Eastern US and in Canada from Calgary to PEI.
In 2012, we added Scott Hopkins, a banjo player, which brought a much more traditional bluegrass sound to Beartracks. When illness forced Junior to retire in June of 2013, we searched far and wide for a musician that would fit with the group both on a personal and professional level. Finally, in late July 2013, the perfect fourth bear was located at a festival in Danby, VT. Harry Ralph, an extraordinary fiddle player, decided to accept the offer to become a permanent member of Beartracks. Harry also adds a great third part harmony to the group. Scott left Beartracks after the 2015 season to pursue other interests. After a summer of filling in to help us out, Dr. Steve Light has accepted our offer to become a permanent member of Beartracks. Steve’s style of playing fits perfectly with ours, his musicianship on the banjo and Dobro are incredible and he is a consummate professional both on and off the stage. We feel very fortunate to have Steve and Harry, two of the very best musicians and people anywhere, traveling and making music with us.
Since our inception in 2004, we have recorded five albums. Our latest studio project consists of six songs available as downloads on CD Baby, I-Tunes, Rhapsody and Spotify. Our repertoire includes traditional bluegrass songs, classic country with a bluegrass twist and originals.
“Smooth vocals from Tom and his sister Julie in the old-time duet tradition. Great playing from Junior… solid soulful lead and backup” - Tom Foote, KAOS-FM, Olympia, WA
“Sometimes we tend to forget the simplicity from which our music springs. That’s why I think “Beartracks” is such a find. It’s traditional country and bluegrass music featuring the beautiful sibling harmony of Tommy and Julie and the masterful dobro artistry of one of the truly great players Junior barber, spare, rootsy and beautiful. It doesn’t get much better.” - Charles Stone, WIRY-AM, Plattsburgh ny
“There seems to be magic when family members gather to make music. This family will not disappoint those seeking tight family harmony. As one would expect, there is no shortage of hot slide licks on “Makin’ Tracks”. The pleasant surprise is the total sound produced by Tom and Julie’s vocal work combined with Barber’s instrumental dexterity. - Jeffrey Anzevino, The Hudson Valley Bluegrass Association (taken from the review of “Makin’ Tracks”)
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Dr. Steve Light