Warren Wilson professor wins International Bluegrass Music award

Ezra Maille
Black Mountain News
Warren Wilson professor Kevin Kehrberg won an international music award for his recording of Ground Speed.

Warren Wilson professor and chair of the music department Kevin Kehrberg won the International Bluegrass Music Association's Instrumental Recording of the Year award for his rendition of "Ground Speed," originally written by Earl Scruggs. 

"It's kind of like the Grammys for bluegrass music," Kehrberg said. 

Identifying as a musician who plays bluegrass rather than a bluegrass musician, Kehrberg discovered the genre 25 years ago when he was in high school. He quickly became interested and has been playing ever since. 

Kehrberg mainly plays upright bass, his instrument featured on "Ground Speed," but also plays fiddle, mandolin and some guitar. 

"Ground Speed" represents an instrumental standard, a bluegrass song first recorded in the 1950s, according to Kehrberg. He said this version takes a different approach to the classic standard. 

A producer from Crossroads Label Group, based in Arden, brought Kehrberg as well as a handful of other local musicians together to record the award-winning song.

"He kind of cherry picked these different players from these different bands and had us come together," Kehrberg said. 

The music professor plays in the Asheville-based band Zoe & Cloyd, which is rapidly gaining a reputation. The musicians featured on "Ground Speed" all came from different bands but record under the same record label.

"This was a new version of an old standard with a bunch of great musicians," Kehrberg said.