Chris Sharp is best known for his Grammy Award winning work on the “O’Brother Where Art Thou?” Soundtrack, and his appearance in the film “Down From The Mountain”. In addition to recording and touring with such artists as Willie Nelson, Alison Krauss and Earl Scruggs, Chris toured with the late John Hartford for the last four years of John’s life. With five of his own recordings out on Red Clay Records and one independent release with mandolin player David Long, Chris is now operating a recording studio, teaching music from his home, touring with various artists, and is a member of Asheville’s infamous “Tipton Hill Boys”.
Born in Asheville, NC, in 1973, at the age of 5 Chris showed a musical interest and started taking piano lessons. This was short lived and he didn’t start playing music again until age 11 when he started learning to play the fiddle and the banjo.
Chris has music in his family. His grandfather, Bernard “Shorty” Baston was a professional musician in the 1940′s and 50′s. He played all over the south and lived in Nashville for some time. He played with groups such as The Sauceman Brothers and with his friend Benny Martin in Big Jeff’s band.
In their early teens Chris met Asheville native George Buckner. George and some other guys had a band called The Tarheel Bluegrass Boys and Chris joined the band. This is where Chris’ musical education really began. George had a great love for the music of Flatt and Scruggs and it began to rub off at first in the form of Benny Martin’s fiddle style, and later as Lester Flatt’s style guitar. The Tarheel Bluegrass Boys continued for a few years and Chris played in various other bands until moving to California in 1993 for a short stint with the Navy.
In 1995 Chris left the Navy and moved to Nashville with friends George Buckner and Kevin Sluder. While in Nashville Chris and company were very fortunate to meet various working Nashville musicians and be included in their inner circle. However, after about 2 years they returned home to North Carolina where they started a band called the Tipton Hill Boys. In the mid 1990’s Chris and Kevin got a job playing with Josh Graves and Kenny Baker.
Chris didn’t stay home in North Carolina long before he was back in Nashville and in 1997 he landed a job with “John Hartford”. Along with John Hartford and Mike Compton he played on the “O’ Brother Where Art Thou?” and “Down From The Mountain” projects, which earned him 2 IBMA awards and 1 Grammy for his participation in the Soggy Bottom Boys hit “Man of Constant Sorrow”. After John Hartford passed away Chris moved back to North Carolina.
Since then he has recorded 5 more CD’s. One with George Buckner and Kevin Sluder called “The Tipton Hill Boys – Lucky” a CD with David Long “Chris Sharp and David Long – One Hand On The Radio” and his latest personal release “Chris Sharp – Working It Out”, and “The Tipton Hill Boys – Songs We Like”. In addition to playing guitar and adding vocals, Chris has been the lead producer on all of these projects and recorded “Working It Out” and “Songs We Like” at his personal recording studio – Studio 607 .
The new John Hartford Stringband CD “Memories Of John”, was produced by Chris and he received a tremendous amount of support from former Stringband members as well as many other people who wanted to honor John Hartford. The core band was: Bob Carlin, banjo and vocals; Matt Combs, fiddle and vocals; Mike Compton, mandolin and vocals; Mark Schatz, bass and vocals; and Chris on guitar and vocals. Special guests include Alison Brown, George Buckner, Bela Fleck, Tim O’Brien, Alan O’Bryant, and Eileen Carson Schatz.
Another release he is honored to appear on is American icon Willie Nelson’s new CD “Country Music”. Chris plays guitar and lends vocals to this CD. It was beyond thrilling to be called by producer T-Bone Burnett to be a part of this project, and it has been a wonderful experience to get to record and perform with Willie and the rest of the amazing group that T-Bone assembled for that project.
In February of 2002 Chris took a trip to Japan where he met his wife Sachie, a fiddle player from the Tokyo area. They were married on March 26,2003, in Asheville, NC.