The banjoist has been a force on the bluegrass scene since the '70s, a decade in which fans often arm-wrestled over the traditional style versus the newfangled progressive bluegrass sometimes called newgrass. In the midst of all this more or less typical kvetching came a banjoist who liked to regard himself as part of a third stream made up of Southern baby boomers. Instead of hightailing after the advanced jazz influences that were powering most newgrass engines, Baucom began molding a style in which the rhythm would be almost aggressive in its presence, punched out by an electric bass whenever possible. Vocals were smoothed out, presenting songs from rock and country & western as well as bluegrass. It wasn't really a new approach at all, but that was the point; in a way, it was the perfect thing to satisfy the dissenting parties on either side, and by the '90s, this style has basically taken over the bluegrass mainstream. Baucom formed Boone Creek when he was only 22 years old, the fellow members being some young dudes named Ricky Skaggs, Wes Golding, and Jerry Douglas. After two years, this supergroup disbanded and Baucom went on to Lawson's original Quicksilver lineup, an archetype contemporary bluegrass combo that kept the banjoist busy until the mid-'80s. The spin-off New Quicksilver outfit was next, followed by the banjoist's collaborations with IIIrd Tyme Out in the early '90s. In 1993, Baucom and original Quicksilver bassist Lou Reid, no relation to the Velvet Underground guy, started a new band named Caroline, perhaps to help the bandmembers remember what part of the country they are in as they hit the touring circuit. Baucom, Bibey, Graham & Haley came together in the late '90s.
Baucom began playing music as a child, and although his father exposed him to both country & western and bluegrass, his excitement about the banjo is quite a typical story among players of his generation: it was the Beverly Hillbillies television show that turned him on. Music was in the Baucom family, his father playing guitar, his grandfather a clawhammer banjo player, and his great-grandfather a fiddle player. Prior to going professional, young Baucom worked in a band of his father's for several years. The banjoist met most of the fellows who would be his first serious musical associates, such as Golding, at various fiddle conventions and bluegrass festivals in the early '60s. In 1972, Baucom was playing fiddle rather than banjo in the Charlie Moore group, and was finding he had a lot in common with other novice professionals he was meeting such as Skaggs. The similarities went beyond musical tastes, although this was important -- Baucom, Skaggs, Golding, and others from this crowd were all the youngest members of various groups. The resulting youth-driven propulsion of new groups and collaborations has kept Baucom busy. Since the '70s, there have only been a few short gaps during which this banjoist has not been a regular member of a band. ~ Eugene Chadbourne, Rovi