The International Bluegrass Music Association’s 5-Time Male Vocalist of the Year, Russell Moore, is proud to announce the addition of two new members to his illustrious band, IIIrd Tyme Out; Keith McKinnon on banjo and Blake Johnson on bass.
McKinnon, a native of Marion, Virginia, first received critical acclaim as a member of Carrie Hassler and Hard Rain. After several years of performing with Hassler, Keith and his twin brother, Kevin, hit the road in 2010 with their own band Still-House. It was at that point that Keith discovered a true love for audio engineering and soon secured a job behind the controls for lauded bluegrass band, Lonesome River Band, where he’s spent the last 2 years. Although, he was thrilled to be working with such a revered band, McKinnon longed for his first true love of playing music. When he heard of the potential opening for Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out, he was thrilled to be invited to audition and ultimately be offered the role as the band’s new banjo player and harmony vocalist.
Originally from Roxboro, NC, Blake Johnson has been singing and playing gospel and bluegrass music since he was a young child with his family. Eventually, his bass playing and distinctive vocal style landed him his first professional job with Jay Kaczor and The Bluegrass Connection. Soon after, he helped launch The Hagar’s Mountain Boys who performed for seven years together and recorded four albums. Perhaps his most notable performances, though, have been over the last year as guitarist and lead singer for Grasstowne. Johnson will return to his preferred role of playing bass and singing harmony as a new member of IIIrd Tyme Out.
“I am very excited about playing with a band who have been some of my favorites for a long time,” states Keith McKinnon. “The guys are all world class musicians and Russell is one of the greatest vocalists to ever grace a stage.” “I consider it a real honor to be joining Russell Moore and IIIrd Tyme Out,” adds Blake Johnson. “I’ve always looked up to them as singers and musicians and I’m really looking forward to playing with these guys for a long time to come.”
“When you work and travel with people in a touring band for years, not only is it a creative effort on a professional level, but you become friends with these people as well,” explains Russell Moore. “Even though we are sad to see old friends depart, we are excited about the fresh, new talent, creative energy and new relationships we’ll develop, both professionally and personally, with the new members. As a band, it’s sometimes important to reinvent yourselves, your music and your show, to keep things exciting and fans engaged. Quite often a band member change can be the spark that lights that creative fire. I know the feel and excitement of being a new member of an established band, dating back to my days when I joined Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver. Although they are not ‘new’ to the bluegrass music scene, it is great to see and feel that same excitement from Keith and Blake. IIIrd Tyme Out’s past has been nothing but wonderful, but have no doubt, we’re even more excited about what the future holds.”
Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out will be unveiling their new band lineup when they perform in Galax, VA on January 4, 2014, for the Fairview Ruritan Club. Other dates in January include Grayson, KY, Clay City, KY and Fort Payne, AL. For more information on Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out, including a complete list of 2014 tour dates, please visit www.iiirdtymeout.com.