Missy Raines is one of several International Bluegrass Music Association award winners appearing at this year’s Red Wing Roots Festival. She has taken the Bass Player of the Year Award a remarkable ten times, and she was the first woman to win the award.
A West Virginia native, Raines grew up listening to bluegrass via her parents, fans of the progressive bluegrass band the Seldom Scene. She started playing piano, then guitar but after her father brought home an upright bass she shifted to that. Once her parents saw her enthusiasm for the instrument, they supported her by making opportunities for her to play with more experienced musicians.
Self-taught, she credits her first experience playing in a band in Charlottesville as helping her focus and become more serious about the instrument.
It is difficult for the bassist to be front and center in a bluegrass band, but Missy Raines accomplished it. She had won the Bass Player of the Year award several times while in Claire Lynch’s’ band, but it was in her duo with Jim Hurst that she first tried being the band leader. She credits that experience for making it possible to be where she is today, saying “If it hadn’t been for that experience, I don’t know that I could have gone straight from being in the back of the band for so many years and then going to the front of the band.” In the duo, there was nowhere to hide.
Her 2013 album New Frontier introduced Raines to a whole new audience by bringing on what she described as an ‘Americana-ish’ sound. That venture was stalled somewhat by a broken arm that forced her to take six months off from music.Raines has since returned to her more traditional acoustic style.