North Carroll Trio plays a country western sound

May 11, 1994|By Ellie Baublitz | Ellie Baublitz,Contributing Writer

Back in the 1930s and 1940s, many a young boy's heroes were the likes of Gene Autry and Roy Rogers.

Country music was Roy Acuff, Bill Monroe, and Lester Flat and Earl Scruggs.

About this time, a little boy was growing up in Upperco who idolized Autry and Rogers.

"I wanted to be a singing cowboy," acknowledged Arthur Nash, now of Hampstead and 71 years old. "I did do a lot of singing until I was 28 -- I could yodel and I sang Gene Autry songs.

"Then I had to have my tonsils out and that destroyed my capability to have a decent singing voice."

But if he was disappointed with his voice after the surgery, he didn't stop singing, nor playing the guitar, then later the tenor banjo, mandolin and violin.

"I still remember the first guitar my parents bought me -- it was a Gene Autry guitar and cost $8.50," Mr. Nash said. "I wish I still had it because I hear Mr. Autry's looking for them and buying them back."

Today, Mr. Nash, with his brother Charles Luther Nash, 65, of Timonium, and Bud Smith, 68, of Millers Station, make up the North Carroll Trio and relive those days through music.

"Charles plays the electric bass and violin," Arthur Nash said. "Bud plays the lead guitar and mandolin and is our singer and emcee. I play the rhythm guitar and sing periodically."

The senior trio specializes in old songs familiar to the older population. Their business card notes that they sing "country western and popular string music for all occasions."

The trio first started as a duet of Arthur Nash and Bud Smith in 1992. A year later, Charles Nash joined the pair to create the North Carroll Trio.

"My brother is really into it and plays with other groups," Arthur Nash said. "I play with the Sykesville Bluegrass Association the third Sunday of the month at the VFW hall in Sykesville."

All three played on Maryland radio stations during the 1940s, '50s and '60s when country western music was in its heyday.

Arthur Nash used to play with the Piney Creek Boys and Charles Nash with the Lazy H Ranch Boys, while Bud Smith was with Donna Woods and the Woodsmen.

"We played the parks throughout Pennsylvania and Maryland when the big country stars like Jimmie Dickens, Roy Acuff, the Fruit Jar Drinkers, Ray Price and Kitty Wells came to sing," Arthur Nash said.

"We were the scrub band -- the good band would play an hour, then we'd fill in while they took a break, then they'd come back, so the concert would go on all evening."

At one point, Arthur Nash was working full time and playing nine performances a week with his band while married and raising five children.

He slowed down when he suffered a heart attack at age 38. Then, about 1979 it was discovered that he had an aneurysm, which forced him to retire and left him unable to play his beloved music until he picked it back up two years ago.

The North Carroll Trio caters to the crowds at the local senior centers and events around the county. At 10 a.m. Friday, they'll take the stage for the Community Jubilee celebrating Older Americans Month at the Carroll County Farm Museum.

"We may play 15 minutes, then they'll have something else, then we'll play again," Arthur Nash said, noting that age has slowed them from the early days when they used to play an hour at a time.

The trio enjoys entertaining at church socials and private parties, playing a variety of songs.

"We've all studied music in depth and took lessons," Arthur Nash said. "We've played rock 'n' roll, some Elvis, some popular songs. If we know it, we'll play it -- we take requests."

He has a request of his own. The trio would like to add a steel guitar player to the group, which would become the North Carroll Quartet. The biggest qualifications are to be a senior citizen and a good player.

The trio is also booked to play at the Mount Airy Senior Center at 10 a.m. May 20, North Carroll Senior Center at 12:30 p.m. May 22, Taneytown Senior Center at 6 p.m. June 12 and Westminster Senior Center Aug. 23.

Anyone interested in playing with the group or booking it for an event can call Arthur Nash at 239-4203 at home or at the North Carroll Senior Center at 239-6400.

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