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Mountain Heart

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Stepping from bluegrass into country music should take about as much effort as crossing the Tennessee state line into Kentucky. But like the neighboring states, bluegrass and country remain stubbornly independent of each other, maintaining distinctive personalities despite morphing in plenty of other directions. Country music has ventured into straight-ahead pop. The country rock movement of the late 1960s and early '70s still lingers. Southern rock has returned to its country roots. There's alt.-country and progressive country and the big sound of arena country.  ...
Playing on stage since he was five, Steve Gulley hopes that he never has to get a "real job." With a new album receiving rave reviews and a growing legion of fans, the 41-year-old lead singer and rhythm guitar player for bluegrass group Mountain Heart could be on track to achieve this goal. Gulley, banjo player Barry Abernathy and fiddler Jim Van Cleve formed the 6-piece band in 1998. Before Mountain Heart, the three spent time together in Quicksilver - the longtime band led by celebrated bluegrass showman Doyle Lawson. "Force of Nature" - the bands' fourth album and best yet - hit stores in early May, two years after "No Other Way."  ...
Though speaking over the phone from Nashville, where he and his bandmates are preparing to debut their new Skaggs Family release "No Other Way" on Eddie Stubbs' widely popular classic country and bluegrass radio show on WSM, Mountain Heart's Steve Gulley is speaking, almost subconsciously as the single voice of five individual, distinguished musicians who together just happen to comprise one of the most exciting and innovative bands to appear on the bluegrass scene in the last decade.  ...
Mountain Heart is on the fast track even though the bluegrass band has been together for only about a year. This Georgia-based group already has a self-titled debut CD on Doobie Shea doing well on the national bluegrass charts and a touring schedule that would be the envy of many more established bluegrass outfits. To top it off, the band received the International Bluegrass Music Association's emerging band of the year award in October. Steve Gulley, lead singer/guitarist and co-founder, says, "To get nominated for awards, to have a CD do so well, to have a bus is fun and amazing. All of us (have) been real fortunate."  ...

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