Bluegrass Etc. is a popular trio that plays, as its name suggests, bluegrass music. Since its formation, however, the outfit has progressed to embrace a more eclectic acoustic mix. The Chicago Tribune included the group’s 1999 album, Home Is Where the Heart Is, on its list of the year’s ten finest bluegrass albums. The trio features Steve Spurgin on vocals and bass; Dennis Caplinger on vocals, fiddle, and banjo; and John Moore on vocals, mandolin, and guitar. In addition to their work with Bluegrass Etc., each member of the trio has carved a separate successful career for himself.
In 1983 Steve Spurgin joined Bryon Berline, Dan Crary and John Hickman, in a band that became CALIFORNIA, after adding John Moore on mandolin. CALIFORNIA went on to earn three consecutive IBMA Instrumental Group of the Year awards and travel over much of the world performing its brand of power bluegrass. Steve’s true passion is songwriting. Those of you familiar with his material will recognize songs like “She Always Smelled Like Lilacs”, “Muley Was A Railroad Man”, “Band of Angels”, and “A Walk in the Irish Rain”. In 1994, after winning the prestigious “New Folk” award at the Kerrville Folk Festival, Steve began concentrating on a solo approach to his career and has become one of the most distinctive and enjoyable singer/songwriters that Texas can boast. Steve Spurgin is the genuine article.
Caplinger is a popular studio musician in Nashville and California when he isn’t touring and recording with Bluegrass Etc. During the annual show put on by the Academy of Country Music, he plays in the production’s band. He, too, has contributed to commercials and movies. He has played on the soundtracks of animated children’s programs Histeria and Pinky and the Brain, as well as on a number of film soundtracks, among them Back to the Future III, Rio Diablo, El Diablo, and Apt Pupil. He has played on recordings by John Reishmann and Rita Coolidge.
Moore is a premier mandolinist, and his talent on the instrument helped thrust the group California into the spotlight and earn the band the title of Instrumental Band of the Year for three consecutive years beginning in 1992. He has performed on stages across the U.S., and tours have taken him to Japan, Europe, and Canada. He appeared and played in Christmas in Connecticut, and The Legend of the Beverly Hillbillies on CBS, where he played in a quartet that was rounded out by Earl Scruggs, Roy Clark, and Byron Berline, Moore’s former bandmate in California. His credits include commercials, session work, and the soundtracks for The Spitfire Grill, El Diablo, and Blaze. One of Moore’s mandolin protégés is Nickel Creek’s Chris Thile.
John Moore – mandolin, guitar, vocals; Dennis Caplinger – banjo, fiddle, vocals; Steve Spurgin – bass, vocals