North Carolina brothers Chris and Taylor Malpass formed their bluegrass band 15 years ago. Their connection with Asheville label Organic Records came at the 2014 Ralph Stanley Bluegrass Festival. After finishing their set, they bumped into Doyle Lawson (of bluegrass outfit Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver), who enjoyed their performance. He introduced the boys to the label and a deal soon followed.
“We’ve been working at this for a long time,” Chris Malpass observes. “Earlier we’d recorded with Merle Haggard’s label Hag Records. But we’d kind of ventured away and started doing our own thing. We were playing Ralph Stanley’s Bluegrass Festival when we met Doyle [Lawson]. He took a liking to us, said that he knew a label that might be interested and made the introduction.” Lawson went on to produce the brothers’ Organic debut.
After checking out the act’s website and previous releases, Organic Records reached out to the brothers. “We met with them twice and we bonded,” Malpass recalls. “They said we could record what we liked and didn’t intend to change us as artists. That’s the way it used to be 50 years ago. It’s unheard of today to find a label that will let you be the artist that you are.”
“They said we could record what we liked and didn’t intend
to change us as artists.”
The band also signed a deal with booker Class Act Entertainment earlier this year. “Before we got a booker, we scheduled our own shows,” Malpass explains. “We were doing like 125 a year. But it became more than we could handle. We originally worked with [booking agency] goingbarefoot, but when we signed with Organic we felt that we needed to take the next step and go with Class Act.”
The brothers consider themselves very much of the bluegrass old- school. “Taylor and I were born 50 years too late,” Malpass jokes. “We drive old cars, we wear old hairstyles. We’re very retro.”
The Malpass Brothers drops on May 19. The band continues to play festivals and will likely be on the road when the record hits the streets.
– Rob Putnam