By Shelby Campbell
Kevin Beddingfield, the nine-year-old music phenomenon who has played bluegrass since he was a toddler, shows no signs of stopping anytime soon. But what is it about little Kevin that attracts so many bluegrass fans?
Known by many as the new Stringbean, Kevin is a one-man-band with a love for bluegrass. The passion for his music sprung from listening to Stringbean and Grandpa Jones with his great-grandfather.
“Kevin has always liked the way Stringbean plays and sings,” said Paula Beddingfield, Kevin’s mother. “He is an old soul, and if String and Grandpa were still alive, Kevin would get along with them perfectly.”
This fourth grader from Flag Pond, Tenn. picked up his first banjo at three-years-old - teaching himself to play by watching Youtube videos of Stringbean and Grandpa Jones. He repeated the videos until he could do it perfectly.
“Kevin would watch Grandpa Jones videos and tell his dad that he was going to play just like that someday,” Paula said.
In 2016, Kevin began working with multiple teachers - learning to play clawhammer style on the banjo, as well as learning to play the mandolin, guitar and dobro.
Tomorrow’s Bluegrass Stars is a large part of Kevin’s life, as well. He was discovered in The Music Outlet in Sevierville, Tenn. by fellow Tomorrow’s Bluegrass Stars member Zack Wright. Soon after, Kevin was inducted into Tomorrow’s Bluegrass Stars as the 192nd member.
“Mr. John Colburn at TBS goes above and beyond for these kids,” said Paula. “He does whatever he can to help them meet their goals for themselves, and he is supportive of each and every one of them.”
Kevin has also received much recognition for his incredible talent. He has won first, second and third places in youth banjo at various fiddle competitions, as well as placing first and second in flat foot dance. Kevin is the reigning third place National Champion in youth banjo and mandolin from the Smithville, Tenn. Fiddlers Jamboree. He placed second in the Youth Talent Contest in Knoxville, Tenn. at the Tennessee Valley Fair.
Winning these awards allowed Kevin to be recognized as a young bluegrass artist on the rise, and he has been endorsed by Deering Banjos and LC King Manufacturing.
With a goal to perform on the Grand Ole Opry by the time he turns ten, Kevin strives to preserve bluegrass and old-time mountain music with everything he has.