Copyright 2018 Higher Ground Bluegrass
Duke Weddington, Doug Porter, Mark Smith,
Ron Lujan, Jeff Forbes
Jeff Forbes, Duke Weddington, Diane Lujan, Fred Bolton, Mark Smith, Dave Devlin
Dave Devlin, Fred Bolton, Diane Sena, Mark Smith, Duke Weddington
Mark Smith, Pat Mahoney, Dave Devlin, Diane Parshall, Fred Bolton, Duke Weddington
Duke Weddington, Pat Mahoney, Fred Bolton,
Laura Leach Devlin, Dave Devlin
HGB History
Est. 1998
Higher Ground is an independent bluegrass band founded in 1998 by Duke Weddington (banjo) and Jeff Forbes (fiddle), with Doug Porter (Guitar), Mark Smith (Bass) and Ron Lujan (Mandolin) rounding out the band membership. The music of the founding members included traditional, original and progressive styles of bluegrass. This original composition of the band would remain together for just over one year. Ron passed away unexpectedly in the fall of 1999. Duke wrote the song "Higher Ground" for the bands' future album "Black and White - Faded and Torn" in memory of and as a tribute to Ron. Doug left the group in late 1999, which led to chapter two of the band.
Higher Ground reformed in late 1999, adding Dave Devlin (Mandolin and Dobro), Fred Bolton (Guitar, vocals), and Diane Lujan (Vocals). Their musical focus shifted to predominantly original music with some traditional and contemporary tunes. The band spent the next two years refining their music and set lists and recorded their first album, "Black and White - Faded and Torn" in 2001. The album consisted of 14 original songs written by members of the band, and 2 cover songs. In 2003, their second album, "People, Places, Memories" was released which contained 13 songs, all original, penned by the band. Jeff Forbes (fiddle) left the band in the spring of 2003. Higher Ground continued on without a fiddler for the next seven years.
Higher Ground continued to perform as a quintet in New Mexico and Colorado from 2003 - 2010, predominantly playing tunes from their first two independent albums. The band performed at the Durango Meltdown, at the Black Rose Acoustic Society in Colorado Springs, opened for Tim O'brien in Los Alamos, NM and became a regular at O'Neills pub in Albuquerque in the ensuring years. In 2008, the band independently recorded and self-produced their third album "Miles and Miles" which was nominated for several New Mexico Music Industry Awards. Original band members Doug Porter (Guitar) and Jeff Forbes (Fiddle) contributed their talents to several of the songs on the album, marking the decade point of Higher Ground with 13 original songs by current members.
Higher Ground added Pat Mahoney on fiddle to the group in the spring of 2010. Pat, originally from Carmel, CA, not only brought exceptional fiddle skills to the band, he also brought the harmonies that put the "high" in Higher Ground. Though a short-lived arrangement, the band continued to perform in the local area retooling their musical repitoire to add the fiddle back into the mix. This composition of the band would be the shortest with Diane leaving the band in late 2010, and Mark moving to Utah shortly after that.
Higher Ground reformed again in early 2011, adding Laura Leach (now Laura Leach-Devlin) on the bass, harmony and lead vocals. The band also updated their name to "Higher Ground Bluegrass", also shortened to "HGB" to capture the essence of the changes in personnel and music. After two years of playing in the local area, the band recorded their 4th album "Bluegrass Classics" to re-introduce the band to the local community and to bluegrass festival organizers. As the title indicates, the album is a collection of bluegrass standards, reflective of the roots of HGB members. HGB recorded their 5th album "HGB V" in 2016 which is a mix of covers and original tunes penned by the group. Their 6th album "CLANN" (Duke's solo instrumental project) was released in May 2017. This membership remains intact today and HGB has established itself as the premiere bluegrass band in New Mexico with tight harmonies and tasteful instrumental breaks. Come find out for yourself. :-)