A Forsyth County resident will release a national bluegrass album Monday.
Russell Moore, who’s lived in the county for about 20 years, is the lead singer for IIIrd Tyme Out, a nationally known and award-winning bluegrass group.
IIIrd Tyme Out has been named vocal group of the year by the International Bluegrass Association seven times since the band formed in 1991. During that same span, Moore has received five male vocalist of the year awards from the association.
On Monday, the group’s 18th album will be released and distributed nationwide at Cracker Barrel Old Country Store restaurants.
Moore said he’s proud of the album, dubbed “Timeless Hits from the Past … Bluegrassed,” which features just that — old songs with a new bluegrass twist.
“The theme is songs that influenced us as we were growing up and helped shape us into who we are as musicians, so there’s a heavy concentration of classic country stuff going back to George Jones and Tammy Wynette and even Glen Campbell and Merle Haggard, people like that,” Moore said.
“Those are songs that we probably would have never recorded in a IIIrd Tyme Out setting because they’re known as country songs, but [Cracker Barrel] wanted us to bring those songs and put a bluegrass twist to them, which was a really neat idea.”
Moore, a native of Texas, said he grew up listening to old-school country music before discovering bluegrass.
“I was probably around 10 years old when we got into bluegrass music from some cousins of ours … and we started attending some local shows and festivals,” he said. “I was hooked at that point.”
He said he was also attracted to bluegrass due to the down-to-earth nature of most of the artists.
“I guess the very first thing that drew me to bluegrass music was how approachable the artists were,” he said. “Whereas in other genres they’re a little more hands off. They’re on the stage and you see them, but then when the show’s over they’re whisked off straight to their tour bus.
“But in bluegrass, it seems like there’s a lot more interaction between the fan base and the artists themselves.”
That interaction keeps Moore going as he’s away from his family traveling almost every week of the year. The band’s performed in more than 40 states and Canada.
“Pretty much every week except for the month of December [we’re traveling or recording],” he said. “We take off [December] so we can have some down time with our families. And we try to schedule at least one week off during the summer.”
He joked that the collaborative project with Cracker Barrel was a good fit since he and his bandmates travel so much.
“We eat a lot of Cracker Barrel while we’re on the road,” he said. “To be a part of their music program, which has been going on for about 10 years now, and being included with the list of artists that have already done albums with them, is an honor.”
Moore also is pleased that Cumming is home to a Cracker Barrel, which opened in 2011 at Hwy. 20 and Ga. 400.
“It’s just down the road. You can be there in five minutes,” he said. “That makes me very happy.
“I love living in Forsyth County and enjoy getting to visit, when I get a chance, with the people who know our music and our group … and hopefully we’ll be crossing paths in the Cracker Barrel here in the next few weeks. Maybe we can have a bite to eat together.”