This Lexington trio, formed in 1993 as Tall, Dark and Handsome (TDH), 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 and jazz mandolinist George Neel. In June 2013, the band, then as the quartet TDH4 with the late Ricky Baldwin on bass, released “Dust Devils On Our Heels”. Bev Futrell's poetic songs are 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. TDH is equally at home with jazz and blues standards and hot fiddling. A subsequent recording, “Rock Me Away”, 2016, adds to the vibrant Americana songwriting legacy of Bev Futrell, and vividly reflects the artistic strength of this trio. The recording is executed with precision, craft and wisdom.
Members Karen Jones and Bev Futrell have traveled throughout the United States, Canada and Italy with Reel World (1977-2015) 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. With George Neel rounding out this trio, the musical styles have incorporated jazz, though George studied folk music as an undergraduate at Western Kentucky University; where he documented many of the old time fiddlers in the western part of the state and played in Winter Wheat Bluegrass band. More recently he embraced Django-style music performing with Bruce Lewis, Patrick McNeese and Nick Stump prior to joining TDH.
TDH is available for festivals, pubs, private parties and music venues throughout the region.