Bluegrass, contemporary folk, and country music are combined through the harmony-filled songs of Nashville-based singer/songwriters Barry and Holly Tashian. The duo's five albums, produced by Jim Rooney, have included Straw into Gold, which received a NAIRD Award as Best Country Album of 1994, and Harmony, nominated for a Nashville Music Award as Best Bluegrass Album of 1998. In addition, the Tashians' songs have been covered by Ty England, the Nashville Bluegrass Band, Roland White, Daniel O'Donnell, and Jody Stecher & Kate Brislin.
The Tashians took an unusual route in developing their unique country and folk blend. Although Barry Tashian, who played electric guitar in a rock band at the age of 12, met his future wife in high school, they didn't play together until much later. Tashian first attracted attention as the lead singer and guitarist for Barry & the Remains, a rock band that he formed in 1964 with fellow students at Boston University. Within two months, the band was signed by Columbia Records. After releasing several singles that became regional hits in the Boston area, the group relocated to New York. In August 1966, the group toured North America as the opening act for what became the Beatles' final tour. Tashian's chronicle of the tour, Ticket to Ride, was published by Dowling Press in 1996. Although they disbanded following the tour, Barry & the Remains' self-titled debut album was released in September 1966. Tashian continued to be active as a musician, joining Gram Parsons' country band ensemble the International Submarine Band. In addition to later helping Parsons form the Flying Burrito Brothers, Tashian played on Parsons' debut solo album, G.P.
After marrying in 1972, Barry & Holly Tashian formed a straight-ahead country band, the Outskirts. In 1980, Barry accepted an invitation to replace Ricky Skaggs in Emmylou Harris' Hot Band. He remained with the group for nine years, playing guitar and singing harmony on ten albums. Since resuming their musical partnership in 1989, the Tashians have performed as a duo, a trio, and a quartet. Barry Tashian has simultaneously worked as a sideman on albums by Charlie Louvin, Nanci Griffith, Iris Dement, Suzy Bogguss, and Delia Bell. Barry & the Remains also reunited for the first time in more than two decades when they played at the Mod Fest in Spain in August 1998. Inspired by a tape of Spanish rock bands covering tunes by Barry & the Remains that he was given by a promoter of the event, Tashian subsequently considered additional activity by the group -- and in fact, in 2002 the re-formed Remains issued a brand-new long-player, Movin' On. In April 2010 the Remains released a new song, entitled "Monbo Time," to support 1960s Boston Red Sox pitcher Bill Monbouquette in his struggle with leukemia. ~ Craig Harris