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RFD Boys

The RFD Boys -- Charlie Roehrig (lead vocals, guitar), Paul Shapiro (bass, vocals), Dick Dieterle (fiddle, vocals), and Willard Spencer (banjo, dobro, vocals) -- formed in 1969 at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. (The "RFD" stands for "Rural Free Delivery," which is how farmers used to get their mail.) There, they played concerts three or four nights a week at the now-defunct Pretzel Bell; this focus on their music let them write, compose, and produce three albums and play various national bluegrass festivals (as well as be featured on the cover of Bluegrass Unlimited magazine). During this time, Shapiro and Dieterle attended and graduated from medical school, Roehrig received a Ph.D. in economics and Spencer did high-tech production work at his Solid Sound recording studio. By 1983, the band relocated their "home" to Ann Arbor's folk club, the Ark, and pared down performances to two times a month. Over the years, the RFD Boys have performed with Bill Monroe, Ralph Stanley, Jimmy Martin, the Country Gentlemen, Allison Krauss, and the Newgrass Revival, among others, and have opened for Randy Travis and Ricky Nelson. Gina Boldman

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