The Johnson Mountain Boys Biography

A popular bluegrass group which, when founded in 1978, consisted of Dudley Connell (Dudley Dale Connell, 18 February 1956, Scherr, West Virginia, USA; guitar, banjo, lead vocals), Richard Underwood (b. 14 July 1956, Seabrook, Maryland, USA; banjo, bass, vocals), David McLaughlin (b. David Wallace McLaughlin, 13 February 1958, Washington DC, USA; mandolin, lead vocals), Eddie Stubbs (b. 25 November 1961, Gaithersburg, Maryland, USA; fiddle, vocals) and Larry Robbins (b. 25 April 1945, Montgomery County, Maryland, USA; bass fiddle). When McLaughlin left later that year, his place was taken by Ed D’Zmura (mandolin).

They made their first recordings in 1978, which resulted in an album and EP release on Copper Creek and soon gained a following with their appearances in the Washington DC area. In 1981, McLaughlin returned and they established themselves further afield with the help of some fine album releases on Rounder Records and some notable concert performances. The personnel remained constant until 1986, when Robbins left and Marshall Willborn replaced him on bass fiddle, while a little later Underwood was replaced by Tom Adams (b. 17 November 1958, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, USA). They toured extensively in the USA and Canada and the UK. Among special venues were the White House and the Grand Ole Opry.

In February 1988, with some members tired of the travelling and also a little disappointed that they had not been favoured by network television, the band formally announced their retirement from performing as a full-time unit. A farewell concert was recorded and later released by Rounder. In 1989, they made a welcome appearance at two festivals and in the following two years, they were persuaded to make many more. Earl Yager (b. 2 November 1953, Virginia, USA) became the bass player, while past member Underwood played the 1989/90 venues and Adams returned in 1991. In 1993, they released a CD and in 1994, they were still making some appearances.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.