Herman Coffey & Herb Greene.

Photos courtesy of Margaret vonRosen.

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Bluegrass Tradition

Bluegrass band

Newland, NC (Avery County)

Billed as "The Epitome of Traditional Bluegrass," at Orchard at Altapass, Herman Coffey and Herb Greene make up Bluegrass Tradition. They have been performing together in the western North Carolina mountains for more than twenty years. They are comfortable as a duet, but they often collaborate with other area musicians as a full bluegrass string band.

The group, billed for years as Strings of Five, plays at local and regional venues including Young's Mountain Music and Old Fort Mountain Music, and the Orchard at Altapass. They have opened up for many nationally-touring bluegrass bands at the Cross Country Campground near Lake Norman including Third Tyme Out, Jim and Jess McReynolds, the Lewis Family, the Lonesome River Band, Ralph Stanley, and the Osborne Brothers.

Herman Coffey was born and raised in Avery County where he has played bluegrass music since he was a young boy. Herman had two other brothers who were also interested in music, and the three of them took up music on their own when they were young. Herman started on the fiddle and later he switched to mandolin. The brothers would play all around the area, particularly at fiddler's conventions. Herman is the last of the three brothers who is still playing music. Herman sites Bill Monroe and the Osborne Brothers as a couple of his influences. Herman won first place in the mandolin contest at the Union Grove Fiddler's Convention.

Herb Greene was born in Crossnore in Avery County, and he remembers hearing his father play the banjo when he was very young. "Dad would sit in an old chair playing the banjo," says Herb. "I must have been around four or five years old." When he was around ten years old, his father taught him some guitar chords, and at age twelve Herb was playing dances with his father. Herb played with a number of bands in his teens and twenties, including the Sun Valley Boys and Mac Wiseman. Herb plays some fiddle, but mostly he plays guitar and sings lead or tenor.


Bluegrass Tradition is available for performances both locally and regionally as a duet with guitar, mandolin, and vocals, or with a full bluegrass band.


Bluegrass Tradition
Point of contact: Herman Coffey

60 Red Bird Lane
Newland, NC 28657
(828) 773-5516