In 2012, they were billed as Deep River Rising, but their new three-name billing suits them better, as they've each made an impact on roots music. Sutton is a six-time IBMA Guitarist of the Year who has toured with the likes of Ricky Skaggs, Béla Fleck and Chris Thile. Four-time Grammy recipient Holt has spent 35 years chasing traditional music where it lives. Coleman, a bassist, made his name playing bluegrass with Chesapeake and Seldom Scene.
Since that show, their mutual mentor, Doc Watson, has died. Still, they continue to produce what Watson would have called "traditional plus"—Appalachian music and whatever else they feel like playing. Each member of the triumvirate had an intimate artistic relationship with Watson: Sutton won a Grammy award with him for Best Instrumental in 2007. Holt toured with him for the last 14 years of his life. Coleman played with Doc and his late son, Merle, for 17 years.
Those experiences led to their choice to merge their strengths in this super group. On stage, they trade guitar, banjo, mandolin and washboard and make three-part harmonies the thread between old favorites or new originals, as on their recent Ready for the Times. What these three do best is take the old-time and boost it into the new century, worrying less about the strictures of arrangements than the spark of their interplay. —Ashley Melzer