The Kennedy Center

Bob Perilla’s Big Hillbilly Bluegrass


International veterans of stage, screen, and television, Big Hillbilly Bluegrass (BHB) performance highlights include one in Chris Rock's film Head of State, a live television gig with Earl Scruggs, multiple Kennedy Center concerts, and a residence at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival. At the request of the U.S. Department of State, Big Hillbilly Bluegrass has toured Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Tajikistan, Turkey, Uzbekistan, and the Dominican Republic over the past several years, thus crowning BHB as America's defacto bluegrass ambassadors. The most recent tour brought Bluegrass music to Africa for a month, performing in Mauritania, Togo, Republic of Congo, and the Central Africa Republic. Their recordings have achieved widespread critical acclaim and they also appear in Ruth Oxenberg-Rob Schumer bluegrass documentary film Bluegrass Journey.

Big Hillbilly Bluegrass has been entertaining music fans for more than 16 years on four continents. The ensemble boasts more than 150 years of combined musical experience. An exciting blend of hard-driving bluegrass along with country, folk, and original material will please even the most discriminating listeners and make easy converts of those unfamiliar with bluegrass music, one of America's unique art forms. The band can be heard every Wednesday in their home venue at Madam's Organ in Adams Morgan, Washington, D.C.

Elizabeth Day, raised in Morehead, Kentucky, and educated in Abilene, Texas, is the daughter, granddaughter, and great-granddaughter of Kentucky fiddlers. As the Big Hillbilly official good-will ambassador, her searing vocals, solid guitar, and warm demeanor make her a genuine crowd pleaser everywhere she goes.

Bob Perilla was reared in rural Maryland and honed his craft by playing with the Baltimore bands Satyr Hill and Jackstraw, among others. He is a consummate entertainer and an in-demand MC. Perilla is a 'fire & brimstone' rhythm guitarist in the grand tradition of Jimmy Martin and Vernon McIntyre. He has performed with Don Stover, Buzz Busby, Kenny Smith, and Al Jones & Frank Necessary. He wrote the song “May's the Man,” which Big Hillbilly Bluegrass performed on screen in the 2003 movie Head of State. Mr. Perilla composed and recorded the musical score for the hit play and TV movie T-Bone & Weasel.

Mike Munford is a fiery soloist, yet simultaneously a real team player. His powerful technique, quicksilver improvisations, and seemingly inexhaustible reservoir of musical ideas have won him high-visibility gigs with the likes of Tony Rice, Peter Rowan, Frank Solivan and the DePuy Brothers. In a fruitful lifetime devoted to bluegrass, Mr. Munford has won innumerable friends and fans while acquiring an encyclopedic capability with all things banjo (tone, repertoire, set-up, and repair). Mr. Munford was honored to appear on the cover of the last issue of the influential Banjo Newsletter.

Tad Marks won his bluegrass spurs by touring with Del McCoury, Lynn Morris, Kate MacKenzie, and James King. His playing reveals a grand knowledge of bluegrass, old-time, swing, Celtic, and classical music and he can always be counted on for spontaneous, sly musical humor. With five solo discs to his credit, he is a prolific composer and an expert violinmaker.

Ira Gitlin is a multiple award winning instrumentalist whose honors include a National Banjo Championship. A veteran of performances with the Johnson Mountain Boys and equally at home on bass, banjo, or guitar, Mr. Gitlin's depth of repertoire and overall musicality make him a favorite of friends, fans, and fellow musicians alike. Mr. Gitlin was once a daily winner on Jeopardy.

Watch Past Performances

Video 12/26/2011: Bob Perilla's Big Hillbilly Bluegrass

America's defacto Bluegrass Ambassadors have been entertaining music fans for more than 13 years on three continents.

Bob Perilla’s Big Hillbilly Bluegrass