Dry Branch Fire Squad

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The Dry Branch Fire Squad is a traditional-style bluegrass band fronted by Ron Thomason.[1][2] The band is known for its showy performances and for Thomason's humorous interludes.[3] The Dry Branch Fire Squad is the host band of Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival, formerly called the Winterhawk Bluegrass Festival. The band also hosts the High Mountain Hay Fever festival in Colorado as a fundraiser for a local medical clinic.


Dry Branch Fire Squad was founded by Thomason, a former member of the Clinch Mountain Boys, in October 1976.[4][5] The band has gone through many lineup changes; Thomason has been the one constant, serving as the band's MC, lead singer, and mandolin player.[6] He also plays banjo and guitar on occasion, and during performances often demonstrates hambone technique which he learned as a child.

Dry Branch Fire Squad performing at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass
Dry Branch Fire Squad at Golden Gate Park Hardly Strictly Bluegrass

In 1978 the band released a self-titled debut album, and in 1979 they performed at Bill Monroe's Bean Blossom Festival.[7]

In 1981 the Dry Branch Fire Squad signed with Rounder Records, and released the first of many recordings with that label.[8]

In 1984 the band began hosting the newly organized Winterhawk Bluegrass Festival.[4]

At one time banjoist Bill Evans[9] and singer Suzanne Thomas[10][11] performed and recorded with the band.

The band has performed at the annual Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco every year since 2003.

Long-time members Brian Aldridge and Dan Russell retired at the end of 2015. Former member, Adam McIntosh, rejoined the band playing guitar and mandolin and assuming tenor singing duties. Jeff Byrd also joined replacing Dan Russell on bass.

In 2016 band is composed of Adam McIntosh (guitar, mandolin), Tom Boyd (banjo, resophonic guitar), Jeff Byrd (bass), and Ron Thomason (mandolin, banjo, guitar).

In 2017 a performance by the band was filmed for inclusion in the film Bluegrass Court Jester.[12]

Selected recordings[edit]


  1. ^ Ivan M. Tribe (2006). Country: A Regional Exploration. Greenwood Publishing Group. pp. 162–. ISBN 978-0-313-33026-1.
  2. ^ Neal Walters; Brian Mansfield (1998). MusicHound Folk: The Essential Album Guide. Visible Ink. ISBN 978-1-57859-037-7.
  3. ^ a b c Loyal Jones (8 October 2008). Country Music Humorists and Comedians. University of Illinois Press. pp. 364–. ISBN 978-0-252-03369-8.
  4. ^ a b "Ron Thomason – Told You That To Tell You This" Bluegrass Unlimited, August 1st, 2011 By Chris Stuart
  5. ^ Craig Harris (1991). The New Folk Music. White Cliffs Media. p. 63. ISBN 978-0-941677-27-1.
  6. ^ Murphy Hicks Henry (1 May 2013). Pretty Good for a Girl: Women in Bluegrass. University of Illinois Press. pp. 198–. ISBN 978-0-252-09588-7.
  7. ^ Thomas A. Adler (15 May 2011). Bean Blossom: The Brown County Jamboree and Bill Monroe's Bluegrass Festivals. University of Illinois Press. pp. 138–. ISBN 978-0-252-09544-3.
  8. ^ Paul Kingsbury (4 November 2004). The Encyclopedia of Country Music: The Ultimate Guide to the Music. Oxford University Press. pp. 1866–. ISBN 978-0-19-984044-1.
  9. ^ Tony Trischka (1 April 2005). Banjo for Beginners: An Easy Beginning Method. Alfred Music Publishing. pp. 45–. ISBN 978-0-7390-3733-1.
  10. ^ From every stage. Univ. Press of Mississippi. pp. 144–. ISBN 978-1-61703-398-8.
  11. ^ a b Paul Verna, Chris Morris, Edward Morris,editors (15 January 1994). "Album Reviews:Country". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc.: 44–. ISSN 0006-2510.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link) CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)
  12. ^ "Bluegrass Court Jester gets his due in upcoming film". Bluegrss Today, on April 5, 2017 by John Lawless

External links[edit]