The spark for Carolina Blue dates back to the childhood of lead singer and guitarist Bobby Powell and mandolinist Tim Jones. The boyhood friends, both precocious gospel and bluegrass musicians, grew up performing together at churches and on the radio with a gospel group known as the Spiritual Lights. As Powell and Jones grew up, they became friends with local bluegrass fiddler Roy Chapman, a multi-instrumentalist who had been a member of the Smokey Mountain Cut-Ups and has toured with Charlie Moore. The three played together as Roy Chapman and True Blue Grass, joined by banjo player Don Austin. It was this band, with the addition of bass-playing Henderson County native Reese Combs, that evolved into the present Carolina Blue.
The five men, all natives of Western North Carolina, play a style of music that draws from their faith and their background in sacred music, as well as their appreciation for the music of the founding generation of bluegrass. They cite Flatt and Scruggs, Bill Monroe, and Jimmy Martin among their favorite artists and strongest influences. They are also committed to the musical heritage of the Brevard area, and their first album, Bobby Powell and Tim Jones’ Nothing So Blue, primarily features songs written by area bluegrass musicians.
Carolina Blue plays often at the Maggie Valley Opry House and other Western North Carolina music venues. Chapman, Powell, and Austin are regulars at the Saturday-night jams at Cathey’s Creek Community Center.
Carolina Blue is available to play for concerts, festivals, and other events.