Since forming in 2006, The High 48s have grabbed the attention of festival audiences in the Upper Midwest and beyond, toured steadily, released two critically acclaimed CDs and won first place in the 2008 RockyGrass Band Competition in Lyons, Colorado. The High 48s play bluegrass in the traditional style, with close three-part harmonies sung around a single microphone. But unlike many traditional bluegrass bands working the festival circuit today, the High 48s don’t draw their material exclusively from the hallowed back catalogs of bluegrass’s “first generation,” artists such as Bill Monroe, Flatt and Scruggs, and Jimmy Martin. The High 48s focus instead on writing original material that combines the soul and drive of first-generation bluegrass with the harder-edged sound of alternative country and roots rock. It’s a style of music the band calls Hard Grass.
The High 48s are:
Rich Casey, bass – Rich is a musical man about town who, in addition to providing a solid musical foundation to the High 48s’ hard-driving bluegrass sound, keeps a busy performance schedule lending his doghouse skills to a wide range of musical situations.
Eric Christopher, fiddle and vocals – Before joining the High 48s, Eric Christopher worked as a fiddler-for-hire, performing, recording and/or sitting in with dozens of Americana and alternative country acts, including the Buck-Fifty Boys, Bellwether, Tina Schlieske, Tim Easton and Vic Chesnutt. Eric is currently keeping up a busy touring schedule, dividing his time between the High 48s and Rounder Records artists the James King Band.
Tony Ihrig, banjo – Tony is a former drummer who brought his rock-solid timing to the banjo and helped form the Midwestern newgrass band Free Range Pickin'. His unique rhythmic banjo style and songwriting skills have helped earn him radio play in Nashville and a review in Bluegrass Unlimited.
Chad Johnson, mandolin and vocals – Chad was a rock bassist until he experienced a moment of clarity while watching Ronnie McCoury pick with Del and the boys. Since then he’s been picking bluegrass mandolin and singing with The High 48s.
Marty Marrone, guitar and vocals — Marty spent seven years touring internationally as the singer and guitarist with Grammy-nominees Special Consensus…and it shows. With his road-tested flatpicking chops, soulful singing and propulsive Jimmy Martin-style rhythm guitar, Marty takes the 48s already driving hard ‘grass sound to the next level.