Morganton, N.C. based bluegrass band Bearwallow performs a unique blend of progressive bluegrass, old-timey folk, and classic country. Started by Todd Pons (guitar/lead vocals) and Gary McCurry (banjo) after performing with different bands for over 30 years, they grew to include Malvin Philyaw (bass/vocals), David Wiseman (mandolin/vocals), and George Giddens (fiddle) over the past 10 years.
Since becoming a full-fledged bluegrass ensemble, Bearwallow Bluegrass Band has earned notoriety through their remarkable regional performances. Showcased with great honors at the Isis Theatre in Asheville, N.C. and being repeated featured acts at the annual Western North Carolina Mountain Music and Dance Festival, they have also been featured live on the radio broadcast "Song of the Mountain" with great audience reception. Most well known for their 1st Place 2015 Merlefest Band Contest win, Bearwallow is constantly looking to reach new heights and audiences as they continue on their musical adventures.
A Morganton, N.C. native, Todd began playing music around the age of 6. Starting at WAGY FM, the local radio station, he played bass and vocals with his four brothers, his father, and his uncle. Personally inspired by his Uncle Lee, a nationally performing bluegrass musician, he learned to play piano and bass to expand his skillset. He has played professionally with Peter Rowan and Vassar Clements as well as being one of the founding members of Bearwallow.
Born and raised in Spruce Pine, N.C., David Began playing music at the age of ten. Coming from a talented musical family, he excells at the mandolin, which he plays as a part of Bearwallow. Also skilled with the banjo, fiddle, guitar, and bass, David has played with many incredible acts, including Doc Watson, the High Country Ramblers, and The Johnson Brothers. He is currently focused primarily on supporting the Bearwallow band with his mandolin, which he has been a part of for over 7 years.
A fiddle player since the age of 6, George is a native of Fort Worth Texas. Drawing on the styles of Mark O'Connor, Randy Howard, and Stuart Duncan, his unique fiddle has 5 strings instead of the usual 4, leading to greater stylistic and tonal freedom when playing. Also fluent on the mandolin and guitar, George has had chart-topping hits as part of The Dillards Bluegrass Band, known for their appearances on The Andy Griffith Show. Spending time touring the country with The Dillards and Bearwallow, George remains a high-energy act even as he juggles his busy schedule.
Gifted a banjo made out of a fruit cake tin by his uncle, Gary began playing music at the age of 10. Inspired by his uncles, members of the Ramblin Tarheels bluegrass band, he grew up playing banjo, guitar, and harmonica at family gatherings. After playing with Rum River and Silver Creek Country Band, he is one of the founding members of Bearwallow Bluegrass Band and current manager.
With a 30 year history performing 4 different instruments, Lenoir, N.C. native Malvin Philyaw started playing music on a pawned guitar while in the military. Picking up the mandolin as well before finding his niche with the bass, he has played and recorded with Long Gone and Kudzo before joining Bearwallow Bluegrass band. Drawing inspiration from John Shuffler of Valdese, N.C., Malvin has become an integral part of Bearwallow as they continue to tour together.
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Morganton, North Carolina, United States