This Lexington quartet, now named TDH4, formed as a trio in 1993 as Tall Dark and Handsome. The band is a rare blend of jazz and regional music. The original songwriting and country singing of Bev Futrell, of the legendary Reel World String Band, is the centerpiece. Other members include champion fiddler Karen Jones, also a member of Reel World, jazz mandolinist George Neel and bass player Rick Baldwin of Metropolitan Blues All-Stars. In June 2013, TDH4 released Dust Devils On Our Heels, a CD of Bev Futrell's poetic songs about places and characters in Kentucky (L.B. and the Owl) and in her native state of Texas (Chinaberry and Queen of the Gold Star). The song Carcassonne celebrates a little-known square dance hall on top of a mountain in Letcher County, Ky. TDH4 is equally at home with jazz and blues: Blue Light Boogie, Autumn Leaves and Life of Ease; and hot fiddling: Between the Shadows/Morning Dew and Jerusalem Ridge/Minor Swing. The songs reveal the strengths of American culture and are executed by these fine musicians with precision, craft and wisdom.
Members Karen Jones and Bev Futrell have traveled throughout the United States, Canada and Italy with Reel World (1977-present) and have performed at festivals, notably Hudson Clearwater Revival, Winnipeg Folk Festival, Vancouver Folk Festival, Winfield Flat Picking Festival and many more. They have appeared at the Lincoln Center as part of a traditional folk series, on NPR with Noah Adams, and on a variety of television and radio specials. They toured with the Osborne Brothers and performed in Italy as part of a United States cultural extravaganza that included Lionel Hampton and the Harlem Jazz Players.
George Neel has played music professionally for some 25 years and is a furniture maker by trade. He studied folk music as an undergraduate at Western Kentucky University where, as part of his folk studies, he documented many of the old time fiddlers in the western part of the state. He has played Django-style music with area musicians, performed with the band Winter Wheat Bluegrass, and worked with local musicians Bruce Lewis, Patrick McNeese and Nick Stump.
Rick Baldwin toured extensively with Metropolitan Blues All-Stars from 1986 to 1995 and has appeared at the Kitchen in New York City, on the Lonesome Pine Special at the Kentucky Center for the Arts in Louisville, Ky., at several Waterside Festivals in Norfolk, Va., on National Public Radio’s Mountain Stage recorded in Charleston, W.Va., and many more.
TDH4 is available for festivals, pubs, private parties and music venues throughout the region.