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Since its formation in 2013, South Carolina Bluegrass Band PALMETTO BLUE has quickly become the ambassador for bluegrass music in South Carolina. Their shows have taken them all over the Palmetto State and surrounding areas, where their performances have entertained audiences from all walks of life not only with their authentic brand of bluegrass music, but also with their stories of the history of the music as it was passed down to them from their mentors and tradition bearers before them. The band includes two members, vocalist Chris Boutwell and fiddler Ashley Carder, who have received South Carolina's Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Award, which is presented annually by the South Carolina General Assembly to practitioners and advocates of traditional arts in the state. The band also includes banjoist Steve Willis, 18 year old bass player and singer Shellie Davis, and guitarist Ed Dalton, who have been playing music since their childhood and are all bluegrass music veterans in their own right. Palmetto Blue's busy schedule has taken them to many varied venues that include Myrtle Beach's Heart Walk, the 50th Annual National Convention of the US Special Forces and Green Berets, Hilton Head Island's Mayfest, Spring Island's "Arts on Spring" series, the SC State Fair, USC's FolkFabulous Festival, Columbia's St. Pat's in 5 Points Festival, Historic Brattonsville, SC State Museum, USC's McKissick Museum, EdVenture Childrens Museum, the Tasty Tomato Festival, the Forest Acres Festival, as well as many private parties, weddings, churches, schools, and most of the usual bluegrass venues throghout the state. Palmetto Blue loves to share their music tradition with everyone they meet. Whether it's a hard driving fiddle or banjo tune, an old mountain ballad, or the tight harmonies of Chris and Shellie, you're sure to find something you will enjoy in a Palmetto Blue show.

Our band members are no strangers to the traditional music scene. In the 1970s, Chris Boutwell was the lead singer and guitarist for the band High Country, which was the premier west coast bluegrass band and recorded several LPs in the early 1970s on the Warner Brothers label. You will be challenged to find someone who knows the lyrics to more bluegrass songs than Chris. Chris plays mandolin true to the tradition and style of the father of bluegrass, Bill Monroe. He also knows the history behind the songs he sings, and will give you a bluegrass history lesson if you're interested. Chris is the 2014 recipient of South Carolina's Folk Heritage Award for his dedication to preserving bluegrass music traditions.

Below, band member Chris Boutwell is presented the 2014 South Carolina Folk Heritage Award at the SC State House

Shellie Davis has been playing the bass and singing in bluegrass bands since she was 8 years old, and will delight you with her sweet vocals. Steve Willis plays banjo in the solid Scruggs style tradition. He learned banjo licks as a teenager from Little Roy Lewis, and won numerous banjo contests during his teens. Our guitarist, Ed Dalton has been playing bluegrass since his youth growing up in the Winston-Salem, NC area. He has won his share of guitar contests over the years, and since moving to South, Carolina, he has been a fixture on the bluegrass music scene.

Fiddler Ashley Carder learned from local SC fiddlers including Pappy Sherrill and Vernon Riddle, and has been playing a driving style of old time and bluegrass fiddle for over 35 years. Ashley was the 2012 recipient of South Carolina's Folk Heritage Award and has been a member of numerous bands over the years, including South Carolina bluegrass ambassador Bill Wells' band.

Below, band members Shellie Davis and Ashley Carder with SC Governor Nikki Haley during the presentation of the 2012 South Carolina Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Award to Ashley Carder for traditional fiddling

Take a listen to us playing "My Sweet Blue Eyed Darling" in April 2015

If you want a square dance complete with a veteran caller, we team up with our friend Pete LaBerge, who has been calling traditional square dances for 40 years, and has called dances for the Smithsonian Folklife Festival and many other events.

Come to a Palmetto Blue Band show. You will not be disappointed!

We will play for your party, event, city festival, BBQ, wedding reception, square dance, afternoon social club, folklore class, political rally, historical exhibit, corporate function, barn raising, hunt club, fundraiser, state, national, or international conference, family reunion, oyster roast, and just about any other kind of event you can think of!

If you're looking at South Carolina bluegrass bands, you're sure to be pleased if you call on us
the next time you need a bluegrass band to provide entertainment!

We're a member of the South Carolina Bluegrass and Traditional Music Association and we're insured with Performers of the US.


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"I've been to most of the bluegrass concerts that they've had at the Morris, and this is the best bluegrass show they've ever had!"
- Audience member - Music at the Morris, Morris Museum of Art, Augusta, GA, September 2015

"The audience was very receptive and appreciative of the music, but I can understand why! Every time we hear you, it’s like the first time. I especially enjoyed Chris and Ashley’s explanations of the song backgrounds. This transformed a conventional event into a cultural experience."
- Marilyn Thomas, audience member at Spring Island's "Arts on Spring" concert, May 2016
"I was very much impressed with your interactions with the kids during Heritage Days at the Depot. You gave them some historical background, then got them involved! I'd love to have your band come do a program at Historic Brattonsville."
- Karen Cox, School Programs Manager, Historic Brattonsville Culture and Heritage Museums, October 2015

"Thanks so much to Palmetto Blue for coming to Myrtle Beach and being part of my campaign. Everyone is still talking about how much they enjoyed your band. I owe part of my election to you and the wonderful music. I couldn't have done it without you!"
- Myrtle Beach City Councilwoman Mary Jeffcoat, November 2015

"We just love having your band come here. Your stories about the music and the harmony singing of the Davis sisters and Chris just gives your band something that other bands don't have. We look forward to having you come back!"
- Waynesboro Opry Hostess Pamela Medley, February 2015

"Palmetto Blue played for my father's 70th birthday party and did an outstanding job. They got rave reviews from everyone present. They adjusted their playing style throughout the evening to accommodate the situations and were very engaging with the audience. The music was very well done and their singing was pleasant and well harmonized. I would recommend them for any event based on their accommodating nature and warm stage presence."
- Steven J, Lexington, SC, February 2014

"Palmetto Blue is the most authentic of the South Carolina bluegrass bands on the scene in the midlands today."
- Pat Ahrens, Bluegrass writer and 1996 Recipient of South Carolina's Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Award, January 2015

"We love listening to Chris sing. His voice is as smooth as the velvet on a deer antler."
- Micahlan Boney, traditional musician and multi-instrumentalist from Claxton, Georgia, April 2015

"Hearing your music, especially the fiddle on Listen to the Mockingbird, takes me back to the days of Pappy and Snuffy and the Hired Hands when they played on WIS. I just love you guys and gals and your music!"
- Joe Pinner, award winning news anchor and 50+ year member of Columbia, SC's WIS-TV, October 2014

"Thank you so much for making our Through the Fire event such a success. We had so many people! I heard nothing but great things about your band! I look forward to having you guys back at the Museum."
- JoAnn, Curator of History, SC State Museum, February 2015

"We really have enjoyed your music tonight and would like to have your band come and play at the 50th Annual National Convention of the US Special Forces and Green Berets. So many folks here tonight have told me how much they have enjoyed your music and how you played their requests for them."
- John, Special Forces Ambassador, Private Armed Forces Party, September 2013

"Chris Boutwell is the best Scruggs-style guitar picker I've ever heard besides Earl Scruggs himself."
- patron at Bill's Music Shop, November 2013

"I just really like the mix that your band has. It has the right mix of all the good stuff - old fashioned bluegrass standards as well as rarely heard numbers, music veterans mixed with fresh young voices, old time fiddle and banjo tunes, old fashioned gospel songs, and even a bluegrass take on a Beatles song. I really like your sound!"
- Pete LaBerge, Nationally Acclaimed Square Dance Caller and Mountain Dance Instructor, February 2015

"Pat, we've been coming here to Lone Star for years, and this is the best bluegrass band you've ever had in here!"
- customer at Lone Star BBQ, November 2013

"Shellie, you and your band are totally awesome! I can't believe you're in high school and playing in a band like this.
When I grow up, I want to be you!"
    - student in a USC college folklore class, November 2013

"Chris plays some of the best Monroe style mandolin you'll ever hear around these parts."
- bluegrass fan at Bill's Picking Parlor, November 2013

"Steve and Ashley play the banjo and fiddle with down to earth feeling and drive that makes you want
to pat your foot, clap your hands, or get up and dance, like the music's supposed to be played."
- fan at Bill's Picking Parlor, January 2015

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