From the Tri-Cities area of northeast Tennessee comes John Goad, a young multi-instrumentalist and vocalist whose bluegrass roots run deep. Some of his earliest memories are watching his parents perform with their regionally popular band, the Hawkins County Grass, at festivals and concerts throughout east Tennessee and southwest Virginia. Now, he is following in their footsteps with the upcoming release of his debut solo album.
John's father began teaching him to play bass when he was about 12 years old, and his first public performances were with his family's group soon afterward, including shows at the famed Carter Family Fold in Hiltons, Virginia. He quickly picked up the guitar as well, spending time playing each instrument in various local groups throughout his teen years. In 2009, he entered East Tennessee State University as a student in their world-renowned Bluegrass, Old Time, and Country Music Studies program, and eventually earned a spot in the university's top touring bluegrass band, the ETSU Bluegrass Pride Band. John spent two years in the Pride Band (one each playing bass and guitar), enjoying the opportunity to perform throughout the eastern United States, including opening for artists like The Grascals, Kathy Mattea, and Larry Sparks. He is also featured on the ETSU student bluegrass album, Testing Tradition, playing guitar and bass on several songs and contributing one original track, the Civil War-influenced number Smithhaven.
John began recording his first solo album in 2014 with help from several of his ETSU friends and fellow east Tennesseans. Guests on the project include 11-time IBMA Mandolin Player of the Year Adam Steffey, longtime Rhonda Vincent and the Rage fiddler Hunter Berry, National Bluegrass Banjo champion Brandon Green, bassist Tony Mowell of Newtown, and noted vocalist andsongwriter Daniel Salyer. The album’s first single, Regina, tells a classic bluegrass story of taking the blame for a crime the singer didn’t do. It was originally recorded by Lester Flatt & the Nashville Grass in the 1970s, although John has given it a smooth modern traditional update. The album has an expected release date of fall 2015.
John recently received two masters degrees from ETSU, in Appalachian Studies and Regional and Community Studies. Over the past several years, he has spent time playing with several bluegrass groups, including Tri-Cities favorites The Shadow Drifters as well as his recently formed band, The New Hawkins County Grass. He has filled in with groups such as Larry Sparks and the Lonesome Ramblers, Brand New Strings, and the James King Band, while also participating in a number of ETSU bluegrass, country, and old time bands.
For John, involvement in bluegrass music is not limited to his musical talent. He has been a contributing writer to Bluegrass Today, the premier online bluegrass music news source, since its founding in 2011. He was nominated for the 2014 IBMA Bluegrass Print/Media Person of the Year for his work there. He runs Lonesome Pine Publicity, whose current clients include Junior Sisk & Ramblers Choice and Tim Stafford. John also serves in several leadership roles within the bluegrass community as the Print, Media, & Education representative on the IBMA Board of Directors and on the Kentucky School of Bluegrass and Traditional Music’s Professional Advisory Council.