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Bluegrass a Deeper Shade of Blue

For 22 years, Deeper Shade of Blue members have been entertaining audiences across the central United States and along the eastern seaboard.

“We’ve played from Texas and Arkansas and up to New York and Maine,” says Troy Pope, the lead vocalist and guitar player for the band.

Based in North Carolina, Deeper Shade of Blue has been a passion project for its members. “We have been doing this for so long. All of us except Frank Poindexter work full-time. Frank is retired and does what he wants.”

A lot of work and time goes into the band, and it shows. They play anywhere from forty to seventy dates a year, and they’ve put out six albums and counting. “We are fortunate that we have gotten a lot of radio play in the past,” says Troy. “We are actually in the process of going into the studio for our next album.”

Troy and Frank are the two long-time band members who live in Monroe, North Carolina. "Frank is Tony Rice's uncle," says Troy, who says that the band members make up one of the best mixes of musicians found anywhere. “We love what we do, and I think it shows when we are on stage. I would describe our band as a traditional, hard-driving, harmony bluegrass band.” Troy says their strong suit is harmony, and they strive to start each show with a tight harmony on the first song to catch the audience's attention. "We like to think we have Doyle-Lawson-like harmonies, and people seem to like that."

About half of the songs the band performs are originals. “Every project we do, some more than others, has at least half original tunes. We do even more original tunes in our live shows – songs that have not yet been recorded." They also play cover songs, but not those that have been worn out. "We find songs that bring back memories and put our own spin on them. One thing we love to do is pick." The band will play songs by the Eagles, the Gatlin Brothers, Vince Gill, and Clint Black. "We look for songs with good harmony and a good tempo.”

The band plays a lot of festivals. “There are some we play each year and others we’d like to,” says Troy. They always liked to play the Denton, North Carolina, festival because it's close to home. “Doyle has always been supportive of us. He has complimented us on our harmony, and that means a lot coming from him.”

Other festivals they play include the EMS Festivals produced by Ernie Evans and Evans Media Source. “We have a lot of respect for Ernie. We worked with him during Covid and did a lot of online shows. We even did an entire festival online with bands in different states playing." Those online shows were a lifesaver for the band. "The virtual shows were important to keep the music alive and helped us continue doing what we love."

Troy, with a strong background in Gospel, is joined in Deeper Shade of Blue by mandolin player Milom Williams II, who has been playing in a bluegrass band since age 14. Before joining Deeper Shade of Blue, he played with Cuttin' Edge, Skip Cherryholmes Quintet, Nu-Blu, and The King James Boys. Frank Poindexter plays dobro with the band. He has played on the stage at the Grand Ole Opry with artists including Dickie Betts, Vassar Clements, Larry Rice, and Brothers Leon. He's released two solo projects in addition to recording with the Rice Brothers. Rounding out the band is Scott Burgess on bass and Chad Day on banjo. Scott’s parents were bluegrass musicians, and he grew up playing in churches with them. Chad has been playing banjo since he was 14, and his style is explosive and hard-driving.

“We love playing this music,” says Troy. “We are lucky and blessed to get to do what we love to do.”

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