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The Salty Dogs, a group of pre-teen bluegrass all-stars, brought down the house and delighted millions of television viewers on last night’s edition of Little Big Shots with Steve Harvey. The hit show follows the tried-and-true formula of pairing cute and talented young people with the wit and presence of Steve Harvey, one of America’s most beloved celebrities.
This wasn’t the first time that Harvey has featured young grassers on his show, having helped make Fiddlin’ Carson Peters a star in a previous episode of the program. But this time, the kids were highlighted pickin’ and singin’ for the audience, who were clapping and stomping along to the bluegrass beat.
The band includes future phenoms Presley Barker on guitar, Mason Ruble on banjo, Giri Peters on mandolin, Braden Chunn on fiddle, and Kyser George on bass. They don’t perform together as a rule, given the distances between their homes in North Carolina, Tennessee, and Kansas – and the fact that none of them can drive – but were assembled in this form through the work of the International Bluegrass Music Association in Nashville.
Paul Schimiger, Executive Director of the IBMA, says that it all started with a call from an NBC casting director almost two years ago, before Little Big Shots had even been accepted for air. She was looking for young kids who played bluegrass, likely as a result of the sensation that Mountain Faith had created on America’s Got Talent that summer. They had all flown out to Los Angeles to film the show, but were sworn to secrecy until just last week. (-Bluegrass Today)