The Seldom Scene
The Seldom Scene are a lot like Fairport Convention or even Skynyrd. Although many musicians have passed through the band's ranks, its genre-defining fusion of bluegrass and California country-rock has remained consistent. Not bad for a group that never intended to be a full-time project, much less one of Americana's great institutions. The Seldom Scene came together in Bethesda, Md., in 1971, agreeing that while they would make records, they would play local clubs only one night a week and occasionally do a full-blown concert. Of course, this plan fell apart quickly. The Seldom Scene helped spearhead the progressive bluegrass movement, with a string of acclaimed records (Acts 1, 2 and 3 are downright essential) featuring ghostly harmonies, spacey accompaniment and moody covers of James Taylor, Dillard and Clark, and other hippie singer-songwriters. By the late '70s, however, increased exposure helped fracture the original lineup, which couldn't reconcile the band's fame and the desire to remain low-key. Since then the Seldom Scene seem to experience a rupture in personnel every couple years or so. Only banjoist Ben Eldridge still stands from the band's first incarnation.