Bluegrass music has taken Rick Pardue all over the world.
“I’ve performed in Germany, Switzerland, Denmark, Holland, Canada and all over the United States,” he said. “People in Europe respond really well to bluegrass music.”
But in September, Pardue’s love for bluegrass will take him to the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville for the International Bluegrass Music Awards.
Last week it was announced that Pardue’s song “A Far Cry from Lester and Earl” was nominated as best song for the International Bluegrass Music Awards, the bluegrass version of the Country Music Awards.
Pardue will be competing against famous bluegrass singers like Allison Krauss for the award.
“I’m really excited. It’s a big deal,” Pardue said. “I’ve never had anything like this. Usually I just get a pat on the back and told ‘good song’ or someone who tells me a song reminds me of their daddy.”
The song is about how the music today is a “far cry” from what it used to be, Pardue said.
“The song has been number one on the bluegrass charts since last October and recently dropped down to number four,” he said.
Songwriters find popular bands who are on the radio and on the road to sing their songs in order to get exposure. “A Far Cry from Lester and Earl” was performed by Pardue’s friends Junior Sisk and Ramblers Choice.
“I have my fingers crossed about the award,” he said. “But I’m just excited to get to go to the Ryman Auditorium.”
Pardue’s love for bluegrass began 40 years ago because of a popular 1960s television show.
“I guess I started liking bluegrass when ‘The Beverly Hillbillies’ first came on television,” he said.
When he was 17, he started learning how to play the banjo.
“We didn’t have video or internet then,” he said. “You just had a bunch of older guys that you would bug until they would help you. There were also Fiddler’s Conventions almost every weekend at the time.”
As he learned to play the banjo, he started writing music.
“I don’t really have a process to writing songs, they just come to me,” Pardue said. “’A Far Cry from Lester and Earl’ came to me as I was walking through the kitchen. If I’m sitting there and I think of a song; I write it down right then or I’ve lost it.”
Pardue grew up in Yadkin County and went to West Yadkin High School. The high school was consolidated along with several other Yadkin County school into Starmount High School in 1967. He graduated in 1970.
“You went from everyone knowing everybody to going to school with your school’s rivals,” he said.
Pardue was also active in the Elkin Jaycees in the 1980s and 1990s, serving as Elkin Jaycee Chapter President and holding several North Carolina State Jaycee positions.
“I did a lot of work with the Jaycees,” Pardue said. “What I learned with the Jaycees was better than having a college education.”
Now Pardue spends his time restoring old Subaru’s and fishing, but his first love is bluegrass.
“Bluegrass controls a musician’s life,” he said. “When you are on the road, you basically are a singing truck driver; riding isn’t fun. But I love performing music.”
Full name: Rick Pardue
Favorite food: Biscuits and gravy and sausage
Favorite pastime: Playing music, fishing, turkey hunting
Favorite Sports Team: The Atlanta Braves
Pet: Golden retriever: Border Collie named Lucy
Church: First Presbyterian Church
Family: Wife of 30 years, Jayne, four children and four grandchildren
Residence: State Road
City born in: Yadkin County
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