Claire Lynch Band
There were few female role models on the Bluegrass scene in 1973 when Claire Lynch joined a band called Hickory Wind.
A native of Kingston, New York, who has lived in Northern Alabama since the age of 12, Claire simply decided she was going to be a Bluegrass singer. After a name change to the Front Porch String Band, the group soon won fans on the strength of its open-minded music and its incredible lead singer. But despite a handful of well-received albums (including Claire’s first solo, Breakin’ It), the band called it quits in 1981. So in addition to raising a family, Claire launched dual careers as a songwriter and a session vocalist. Her exquisite hillbilly angel harmonies have graced albums by such leading artists as Emmylou Harris, Dolly Parton, Linda Ronstadt, Patty Loveless, Pam Tillis, Kathy Mattea, Jesse Winchester, Sarah Watkins and Ralph Stanley.
A re-energized Front Porch String Band roared back in 1991 with Lines and Traces. Claire’s second critically acclaimed solo album, Friends for a Lifetime, came in 1993, followed by the Grammy-nominated Moonlighter in 1995 and the sublime Silver and Gold in 1997, which also received a Grammy nomination. In 1997, Claire was named IBMA Female Vocalist of the Year.
Meanwhile, the Front Porch String Band evolved into one of the most exciting post-modern Bluegrass bands, with more than half the songs composed by Claire Lynch, it was described as “a masterpiece… an Americana programmer’s true delight”.
Husband and mandolinist Larry Lynch, instrumental mainstay of the Front Porch String Band, decided to follow his passion for Celtic-style picking in 2001. For the next few years, Claire enjoyed another hiatus while searching out new players.
In late 2004, she reunited with Jim Hurst who had earned two awards for Guitar Player of the Year with IBMA. With Ontario’s fiddler-extraordinaire Jason Thomas and bassist Mark Schatz, most recently of Nickel Creek, they now comprise The Claire Lynch Band.
In late 2005, Claire signed another three-album deal with Rounder Records and the first release, New Day (March 2006), was a top favorite pick for several publications. Train Long Gone scored a number one on the National Bluegrass Survey and an IBMA nomination for Song of the Year. Next came the anthology collection, Crowd Favorites (October 2007), which earned another couple of Top Ten positions.
Claire’s latest CD Whatcha Gonna Do? will be released this month.