McLain Family Band, ambassadors of bluegrass

The McLain Family Band has performed in all 50 states and 62 countries as musical ambassadors for the U.S. Department of State.

Bluegrass music has a long and proud tradition of family bands, all the way from the Monroe Brothers, through the Del McCoury clan and many in between. Perhaps none have featured so many different family members over the years as Kentucky’s McLain Family Band. Since 1968 they’e performed in all 50 states and 62 countries as musical ambassadors for the U.S. Department of State.

They’ll bring their special brand of contemporary bluegrass to White Horse Black Mountain on Friday, Dec. 8 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $12 advance/$15 door. 

The McLain Family band has included many members of the extended McClain clan over the years, but the core of of the touring ensemble for 2017 consists of Raymond McLain, Ruth McLain, Alice White, Al White and Daxson Lewis. The current tour also feature occasional guest appearances from Nancy Ann Hartman and Michael and Jennifer McLain. Most of the band members play multiple instruments in the classic bluegrass lineup and contribute the kind of tight vocals that flourish in family setting. 

The McClains have played in venues that might be expected from a first-rate bluegrass group, like the Carter Fold and the Grand Ole Opry. They have also thrilled audiences at the Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall. Along with appearances at thousands of festivals and concerts, members have also played more than 230 dates with orchestras.

For 11 years the family hosted the McLain Family Band Festival, which was nationally distributed by Kentucky Educational TV. Other TV appearances have included "The Today Show," "CBS Morning News," "Good Morning America," TNN’s "Nashville Now" and the Johnny Cash Christmas special.

        The McLain Family Band is based in the Appalachian culture stronghold of Berea, Kentucky, where Al White mentors young players in the Berea College Bluegrass Ensemble, a group that has appeared several times at the White Horse.