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Claire Lynch

With a high-pitched voice that's been compared to Nanci Griffith and Alison Krauss, Claire Lynch has successfully fused a background in popular music and a love of bluegrass. Together with the Front Porch String Band, the group she shares with her husband Larry, Lynch has been garnering attention as one of contemporary bluegrass' most emotive vocalists. A native of Poughkeepsie, New York, Lynch moved with her family to Hazel Green, Alabama at the age of twelve. Inspired by the pop songs of Joni Mitchel and the Beatles, Lynch sang as a youngster in an informal trio with her sisters. Lynch met her future husband in high school. After their graduation, Claire worked at an insurance agency while Larry attended the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa. A turning point came when Claire was invited to hear a bluegrass band that Larry was forming with fellow students, called Hickory Wind. She was so taken by their performance that she accepted their invitation to sing with the group. When the band was hired as the house band of a club in Birmingham, they changed their name to the Front Porch String Band. Over the next seven years, Claire and Larry, who were married in 1976, and the Front Porch String Band became one of the hardest-working groups in Alabama. Their self-produced debut album, Smilin' At You, released in 1977, was followed by Country Rain, later the same year. In 1981, the Front Porch String Band released a self-titled, nationally distributed album on Rebel, while Claire Lynch released her solo debut, Breakin' It, on the smaller Ambush label. When Lynch became pregnant with the first of two children in 1982, she and her husband disbanded the Front Porch String Band and settled in north Alabama. Although Larry returned to college to earn a degree in accounting and Claire took a job in university administration, they soon began performing again in the clubs of Huntsville, Alabama. A turning point came when they met John Starling, the former lead singer of the Seldom Scene, who had left music to becoming a practicing physician. Starling took the Lynches under his wing and helped them sharpen their skills as performers, as well as promoting Claire Lynch's songwriting by sending copies of her songs to a Nashville publisher. As a result, Lynch's songs were soon covered by Stephanie Davis ("Moonlighter"), Patty Loveless ("Some Morning Soon") and Kathy Mattea "(Hills of Alabam'"), and she was signed by Polygram to a staff writing contract. In 1990, Claire and Larry Lynch formed a new version of the Front Porch String Band. The following year, they released their comeback album, Lines & Traces. Claire's second solo album, Friends for a Lifetime, released in 1993 and reissued in 1995, was a celebration of gospel music. Her 1995 album, Moonlighter, was nominated for a Grammy award as Best Bluegrass Album. Silver and Gold was released in 1997. In addition to singing on her solo albums and recordings with the Front Porch String Band, Lynch has sung on albums by Ralph Stanley, Linda Ronstadt, Emmylou Harris, Patty Loveless, Dolly Parton, John Starling and Pam Tillis. The late-'90s lineup of the Front Porch String Band featured Michael McLain, formerly of the McLain Family Band, on banjo, mandolin and vocals; Missy Raines, formerly of Eddie and Martha Adcock's Band, on upright bass; and Jim Hurst, who previously played with the touring bands of Holly Dunn and Trisha Yearwood, on guitar and vocals. Lovelight followed in the spring of 2000. Out in the Country was issued a year later. Craig Harris

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