Named for the highway that arcs through Buncombe County, bluegrass band 23 North is based in Barnardsville and Leicester. The band has been together since 2004, and its members have many years of experience playing bluegrass and gospel music in Western North Carolina.
Lead singer and guitarist Diana Boone learned her instrument from a neighbor when she was a child, and was soon composing her own songs. Later she began traveling throughout Western North Carolina and East Tennessee with the mother of a friend, an itinerant singing minister. Playing guitar for her friend and witnessing her music ministry led Boone to turn to gospel songwriting. 23 North performs many of Boone’s original gospel songs today.
Banjo player Jonathan Barber and his cousin mandolinist Scott Anders have also been playing music since they were very young. Anders grew up in a family of musicians and learned music at home, while Barber took up the banjo in his early teens, teaching himself with the guidance of local bluegrass players. The cousins have played as a duo throughout the region, in local jams and contests. The most recent band member is bass player Steve Fox, whose wife Sheila joins in with harmony vocals.
The band has produced two albums, Garden in My Heart, and Liquid Mule. A typical 23 North set features classic bluegrass songs from the era of Flatt & Scruggs and the early Blue Grass Boys, as well as traditional and original gospel music.
23 North is available to play in concert, at festivals, at churches, and for benefits and other events.