The Cluster Pluckers the Cluster Pluckers are:

Margaret Bailey - vocals
Kris Ballinger - guitar and vocals
Dale Ballinger - acoustic bass and vocals
Mark Howard - guitar, mandolin, and vocals

Them Other Pluckers are:

Brent Truitt - mandolin
Blaine Sprouse - fiddle
Richard Bailey - banjo

The history of this group dates back to the Spring of 1980 when Margaret, Kris and Dale first sang together at a pickin' party. There was an immediate feeling of "kinship" in the music that they shared. They soon joined forces with world champion fiddler, Frazier Moss, who taught them the spirit in which this music should be played and enjoyed.

In 1982 Margaret, Kris and Dale performed as a trio, and later with Frazier Moss at the Folklife Festival Exhibition during the World's Fair in Knoxville, Tennessee.

In 1984 Kris and Dale performed with fiddler Junior Daughtery at Carnegie Hall as part of a special American Folk Roots Concert Series.

In 1986 Kris and Margaret's vocal harmony came together to "swing" with Vassar Clements' Hillbilly Jazz Band. They sang on two of the group's albums and toured the country. The group performed on The Nashville Network television shows "Nashville Now" and "New Country".

The Cluster Pluckers Margaret's work with The Nashville Network inspired the co-writing (with Chet Atkins) of the song "Would Jesus Wear A Rolex", which was recorded by Ray Stevens and was nominated for a Grammy Award. This thought provoking song was talked about on everything from radio (Paul Harvey), to television (Johnny Carson Show), to magazines (Newsweek).

In 1987 Mark Howard came into the musical paths of Margaret, Kris and Dale. It took the genius of songwriter Billy Edd Wheeler to give them their distinctive name, and in 1988 The Cluster Pluckers were hatched.

Mark Howard is a multi-talented artist-musician who plays the guitar, mandolin and banjo. He has performed and recorded with such greats as Kathy Matea, John Hartford, Johnny Cash, Vassar Clements, the Carter Family, Earl Scruggs, Nanci Griffith, Riders in the Sky, and many, many more. Mark's talents in the recording studio are not limited to playing instruments. He has engineered and produced recordings for several of the above mentioned artists as well as writing string arrangements for the Nashville Symphony and others.

Them Other Pluckers, Brent Truitt, Blaine Sprouse and Richard Bailey, are respected in the "bluegrass world" as some of the finest instrumentalists playing today. They have toured and recorded with some of the living legends in bluegrass music, as well as with some of the top current acts in country music.


Here are some of the highlights of The Cluster Plucker's:

  • Austin City Limits PBS Television show with Chet Atkins
  • Nashville Now Television show on The Nashville Network, two appearances
  • American Music Shop Television show on The Nashville Network
  • The Statler Brothers Easter Special Television show on The Nashville Network
The Cluster Pluckers

  • Reno's Old Time Music Festival Television show on the Americana Television Network
  • A Cluster Plucker Christmas PBS Television show, broadcast nationwide for three years
  • Songs of the Civil War PBS Television show with Hoyt Axton, produced by Ken Burns
  • Rider's Radio Theater National Public Radio show with Riders in the Sky
  • Were invited to Washington DC to represent Tennessee music at the Tennessee/Arkansas Celebration during the Presidential Inaugural Festivities
  • Performed for President Clinton and Vice President Gore at the Opryland Hotel in Nashville, Tennessee for a fundraising event
  • Performed for Tipper Gore's Birthday Bash at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee
  • Did a 10 day, 8 city tour in Japan and sold out every show
  • Played in Alphen aan den Ryn (Holland) and Sandane (Norway) during the summer of 2001
  • The Cluster Pluckers have recorded four albums on their own label, CPR (Cluster Plucker Records...Music Good for the Heart). They are "The Cluster Pluckers", "Just Pluck It!", "Unplucked", and their newest release, "A Cluster Plucker Christmas Album". They also recorded an all gospel album for Chapel Records entitled "Old Time Gospel Favorites", and participated in a collaboration album for Rebel Records entitled "The All Nite Gang - Bluegrass From Nashville".

The Cluster Pluckers Besides television and radio performances, The Cluster Pluckers have pleased audiences across the country at bluegrass and folk festivals, city festivals, concerts in the parks, conventions, clubs and many other special occasions.

There is only one group by the name of The Cluster Pluckers. They bring with them years of pluckin', and singin', and havin', fun. Their music and energy is refreshing and will entertain folks of all ages!




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