Vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Darren Beachley has made a name for himself in the straight-up bluegrass world, but his latest effort reveals a different approach as he takes a stroll down a new bluegrass/Americana road his latest solo album, The Road Not Taken.
He set his musical direction pretty early, learning to play when he was just a lad. His dad was a professional bluegrass musician, so of course there was always a mandolin lying around. “I picked up the mandolin when I was about four years old, just because, honestly, I don’t know if I was that much interested in the music, or I was interested in the attention it brought, then all of a sudden I was like ‘I really like this.’” Later, at about nine or ten years old, his dad recruited him as bass player for his band “…I started playing in bars with my dad at 11 years old,” Darren recalls. “I saw a lot of things most eleven-year-olds shouldn’t see probably…” At 14 Darren moved to the dobro and continued down the bluegrass path for the next 40-odd years.
The Maryland native has strung together an impressive career, getting his big break as the Dobro player in Bill Harrell’s band The Virginians. Another career highlight was joining Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver as its lead vocalist and guitarist, and touring the globe with them for four years. After returning home to Maryland and refocusing on family life, he formed Legends of the Potomac. He continued gaining renown for his original songwriting, skilled musicianship, and soaring vocals.
While he took a slight detour into the realm of part-time day jobs and part-time music, he was constantly generating music. He ended up doing a “covid sessions” kind of recording, by remotely collaborating with many of his musical friends. The resulting album, The Road Not Taken, blends a mix of new, original material and bluegrass classics. Some of the featured guest artists on the album include Sam Bush, Clay Hess, Alan Bibey, Scott Vestal, and many more.
By Dan Walsh