Bryan Sutton grew up in Asheville, NC, amidst the rich musical culture of the western Carolina mountains. His grandfather, Grover Sutton, was a well-known fiddler in the Asheville area. Bryan’s dad, Jerry, is active in the Asheville music scene, and a talented multi-instrumentalist who’s played for years in many popular regional bands.
Bryan started guitar at age 8 and soon after could be seen jamming at many local jams and festivals. As a member of a family band, the “Pisgah Pickers”, he played all over the Southern Appalachian area. In his teens, Bryan studied jazz and classical guitar a widening of his musical scope that would serve him well in the coming years.
As a high school senior, Bryan started pursuing a career as a studio musician. Always enjoying the challenge of wearing different musical hats, he soon became known as a “utility musician”, playing various styles on all the bluegrass and old-time instruments: banjo, fiddle, mandolin, and more. He worked in recording studios throughout the southeast before making the decisive move to Nashville in 1993 at age 19.
Bryan came to wide attention in the bluegrass world in 1995 as a member of Ricky Skaggs’ Kentucky Thunder band, playing on two Grammy award-winning records. After his 3-year stint with Skaggs, he concentrated on building a career as a studio guitarist in Nashville, assisting on hundreds of records, by Garth Brooks, Keith Urban, Diana Krall, Dolly Parton, Taylor Swift, Harry Connick Jr. and many more.
Bryan’s renown has spread with the release of five solo albums and world touring with artists including Béla Fleck, Jerry Douglas, Chris Thile, and the Dixie Chicks.
Always wanting to stay close to his bluegrass roots, in 2002 he accepted the invitation of the legendary Hot Rize band to fill its first vacancy since 1978, following the death of guitarist Charles Sawtelle. In Hot Rize, his playing and singing are spotlighted as never before, and it’s also rumored he has something to do with Swayde, the “mystery member” of Hot Rize’s alter-ego country-cutup band Red Knuckles & the Trailblazers.
Sutton has been voted six times IBMA’s Guitarist of the Year, and a duet with his guitar hero Doc Watson received a Grammy in 2007 for “Best Country Instrumental Performance”. In 2005, 2010, and 2014, The Academy of Country Music named him Instrumentalist of the Year.
Bryan’s 2014 solo album “Into My Own” showcases his talents as songwriter and lead singer. “Anyhow, I Love You” reached Bluegrass Unlimited’s Top 30 in national airplay, his first appearance on the chart as a singer.
Despite a busy touring and studio schedule, Bryan carves out time every week to teach bluegrass guitar online as a member the ArtistWorks Academy of Bluegrass corps of web-based instructors. His site features a comprehensive curriculum starting with the fundamentals of the bluegrass guitar style. As an avid student of the “inner” processes of learning and playing, he readily shares useful insights with subscribers. Students receive one-on-one feedback from Bryan through the “video exchange” process.