J2B2 is an all-star bluegrass supergroup featuring four legendary, Grammy Award-winning musicians – John Jorgenson on acoustic guitar, mandolin and vocals; Herb Pedersen on banjo, acoustic guitar and vocals; Jon Randall on acoustic guitar and vocals, and Mark Fain on bass – delivering bluegrass like no one has ever heard it before. The band’s undeniable live shows have received stellar reviews and have the bluegrass world buzzing. The four combine forces to form a spot-on union of impeccable musicianship, incomparable songwriting, incredible harmony vocals (a fresh twist combining bluegrass with elements of West Coast folk rock) and seasoned showmanship. This is the “high lonesome sound” of American roots music at its finest.
Jorgenson and Pedersen are founders (with Chris Hillman) of the formative country rock group Desert Rose Band. After working as a freelance musician in Southern California, Jorgenson met Hillman and soon formed the Desert Rose Band. In 1990, Jorgenson went on to found the Hellecasters and toured with Elton John’s band for six years. Artists ranging from Barbra Streisand to Bonnie Raitt to Earl Scruggs have sought out Jorgenson’s guitar work. Jorgenson portrayed Django Reinhardt in the Hollywood feature film Head in the Clouds. In 2008, Jorgenson won a Grammy for Best Country Instrumental with Brad Paisley and was nominated for Best Bluegrass Album with Earl Scruggs.
Herb Pedersen was a member of legendary bluegrass band The Dillards as well as bluegrass super-group Old and In the Way. A sought after singer and musician, he has worked with such music legends as Chris Hillman, Earl Scruggs, Gram Parsons, Emmylou Harris, Tony Rice, Dan Fogelberg, Stephen Stills, Linda Ronstadt, Kris Kristofferson, John Prine, Jackson Browne and John Denver.
Jon Randall first gained recognition as guitarist for Emmy Lou Harris’ band, The Grammy-winning Nash Ramblers. He has written hit songs for Brad Paisley, Alison Krauss and Travis Tritt. He has toured with Earl Scruggs and Sam Bush and recorded with Emmylou Harris, Lyle Lovett, Linda Ronstadt and many others.
Mark Fain toured and recorded as bass player for Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder for 13 years. He’s toured and recorded with the Dixie Chicks, Alan Jackson, Travis Tritt, Dwight Yoakam, Allison Krauss and Dolly Parton, as well as producing many artists in jazz, country, bluegrass and gospel genres.
The band recently headed into Sheryl Crow’s studio in Nashville, Tennessee, to record its debut album, which is currently slated for release in 2014, surrounding the 10th Annual Guitar Town Festival, where Jorgenson is “de-facto” creative director and plays a major role in handpicking some of the world’s most talented virtuoso guitarists to perform at the annual event. This is a highly anticipated debut effort from the four all-stars, who have been touring as a group since last July.
In addition to recording their first album as a group, J2B2 is preparing for several major tour dates this year, including a tour of Norway and the UK, performances at the annual RockyGrass Festival in Lyons, Colorado; and headlining the Guitar Town Festival in Copper Mountain, Colorado. J2B2 made its Grand Ole Opry debut last October and will be returning this August.
J2B2 is already creating quite a buzz, and The International Bluegrass Music Association is among the many giving the newly formed band’s live performance high marks. In a review, the IBMA noted, “There was warmth, and storytelling, and lots of laughter as this fresh band of legends made their debut…but with their expertise combined, you would think they had been playing in this configuration for years.”
Yes! Weekly in Greensboro, NC has noted of J2B2: “Expect fireworks and amazing playing from some of the best string players in the world.”