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Artist Spotlight – April 2022

Starlett and Big John – April Artist Spotlight

“She is truly the best singer that I’ve ever heard and I knew I wanted a front row seat first time I saw her perform. I’m so blessed she still keeps me around. She underplays how talented she is and continues to say, “that’s your job Cowboy… get to talking to them” when it comes to talking with the crowd.”

“He is Absolutely an amazing guitarist. My favorite song to hear him sing and play is Eric Clapton, “Tears in heaven”. He is one of the kindest, caring and giving person that I know. He is the one that sees that everyone around him is happy and taken care of.”

Those two quotes you just read are just a little glimpse into how much Starlett & Big John look at each other as artist and overall person. After talking with the first Duo of my Artist Spotlight, I am so excited to share what I have learned about each of them with you.

When you see Starlett & Big John perform, you can definitely see the chemistry they have and how their past musical influences play such a big part. Starlett thinks that a duet is more about the sound, song choice and having that same singing partner compared to as an individual performer. Big John will tell you that singing and writing with Starlett has been truly the most natural thing he has done compared to all the other bands they have played in in the past. Since performing together, they have found that mixing up the set allows everyone in the crowd to hear songs being sang by a woman, a man and a duet.

Starlett Boswell was born on November 10th in Cascade, VA. She began her singing at the young age of four yrs. old, started playing the bass at eight yrs. old and then writing her first song at the age of 18. Starlett graduated from being homeschooled at 16 yrs. old and futured her education at Artistic Beauty College for Cosmetology and Barbering. Throughout her years of schooling, Starlett was surrounded by music every day. Starlett’s older siblings had a family bluegrass band which they not only played music, they also clogged. The very first show that Starlett did was in her grandparents living room. She was known to pull out the old Electrolux vacuum (that always resembled a microphone) from behind the door and sing it for hours.

Playing the bass was not a choice that she made but rather the bass chose her since all other instruments were already being played by her siblings. Jason and Darren Moore taught me how to play the bass. Over time, the little girl learning the bass grew up to love the instrument and become amazing at it. Her inspiration still comes from Jason and Darren Moore, Marshall Wilburn, Bessie Maldin and Barry Bales (just to name a few of the best). Once Starlett was old enough, a small band consisting of herself, her siblings and the Moore brothers was formed allowing them to share their love for music.

Starlett remembers the first time she heard The Osborne Brothers sing and from that point, she wanted to sing just like Bobby Osborne. She would sit and listen to old records of her mom’s for hours trying to mimic everything Bobby did. To Starlett, Bobby’s way of delivering a song is incredible and is a huge reason why he is one of her most inspirational people. Along with Bobby Osborne, Grandma Net is another inspirational person in Starlett’s life. Grandma Net was a strong woman that worked in a cotton mill all her life, raised 2 girls, and took care of all of her family. Throughout her life, Grandma Net showed her BIG heart, assuring all were happy and had all they needed even if it meant she went without. She was Angel and was Starlett’s biggest supporter in everything she set out to do. With Grandma Net passing in 2019, Starlett only hopes that she can be half the woman she was.

If Starlett had the chance to meet up with someone that inspired or taught her the most, she would tell you Bobby Osborne and her parents. Starlett would love to have the chance to thank Bobby for all the wonderful music he made over the years and being her hero. Thanking her parents is right up there along with Bobby, if not being the top! Starlett’s parents are the ones who taught her the most, who to be and who not to be. Even today, she is still learning from them – never too old to learn!

Bessie Maldin, bass player and singer for Bill Monroe, is an artist that has passed that Starlett would love to have a chance to meet. Starlett can’t imagine being able to talk to her and asking about being a female bass player and singer in that time/era, especially for the one and only Bill Monroe. I agree, I am sure there are some fun and interesting stories Bessie could tell.

Big John Talley is a New Year baby in a way, he was born on January 1st in Southampton County, Virginia. Big John started playing when he was only nine years old. He was a member of the band/choir for Southampton High School. The journey of starting a career in law enforcement began at Bluefield College where he earned a degree in Criminal Justice. His passion for music continued throughout the years of schooling and probably one of his ways of escape. The love of the tonality and versality of the guitar is what drew Big John to the guitar.

Big John has always seen his dad as a big inspiration in his life. Throughout his music career, Big John was and still is inspired by Bill Monroe. If Big John could talk again with Bill Monroe and Tony Rice, he would make sure to clear his schedule. The conversations with Bill Monroe about life and the music business have a special place in his heart and continue to give that extra nudge once in a while when needed. Big John would definitely love to say “Thank You” one more time.

In January of 2019 in Roxboro, NC, Starlett and Big John were both performing with separate bands at the same time. Shortly after that, in April of 2019, they performed their first gig together as a duo/duet at The Virginia Derby at Colonial Downs, New Kent, VA. The vision of being a part of a duo finally came true for both of them.

The typical routine prior to a show for Starlett & Big John is meeting with the promoters/owners of the venue, getting a feel for crowd, picking a few songs and getting loosened up. After a show, you will more than likely catch Starlett with an ice cold Sundrop (type of cola) while they mingle with friends and fans to express their appreciation for coming out to support and see them perform.

Believe it or not, both of their embarrassing moments on stage were forgetting words to a song(s) and especially when it was one of their own songs. It happens to us all, right!?!

If they could give any new/up and coming artist a bit of advice, Starlett would tell you to “Never give up, dreams do come true and always have hope” and Big John would say “Be yourself, but utmost don’t suppress how you are unique”. As for learning from a bad experience, Starlett lives by a saying “not everything that happens is a blessing, sometimes it’s meant to be a lesson” and Big John provides the advice of getting everything in writing, not everyone grew up when people stood by their word.

Starlett & Big John have not performed out of the USA but they sure hope to someday. Although they haven’t performed outside of USA, they have had a write up in the Japanese publication, Moon Shiner (Japanese version of Bluegrass Unlimited).

Fast Firing Fun Facts:

What is your favorite Holiday and why?

Starlett – Christmas, absolutely love the season and holiday cheer. Loves making her house look like a Hallmark Movie with all the decorations passed down from her mom and Grandma Net. Main reason is because it is the Birthday of our Lord and King.

Big John – Christmas, love the snow and spending time with family

If you were not part of the music scene, what would you be doing?

Starlett – This was hard to answer but would probably go with being a professional bluegrass fan because she just really loves the music.

Big John – has a passion for training and loves teaching new law enforcement officers

Do you have a hobby outside of music? What is it?

Starlett – does civil war reenacting and sews.

Big John – as a Federal Firearms Instructor he loves training people

What is your favorite super hero and why?

Starlett – Superman because his logo means hope and hope is all we have

Big John – Bill Monroe, Tony Rice and Ron Stewart

What is your favorite kind of Ice Cream?

Starlett – chocolate with milk and bananas

Big John – Mint Chocolate Chip

What is your favorite snack food for the road?

Starlett – pistachios

Big John – Fried Chicken

Do you have any pet(s) and what are their names?

Starlett – two labs (Elsa and Cinderella), two cats (Miss Kitty and Sassy), horse (Pudding), four goats (little man, little bit, Bambi, and Holt) and lots of chickens

Big John – a teacup chihuahua (Diesel)

What is your favorite sport and team?

Starlett – Dallas Cowboys

Big John – Dallas Cowboys

What is your favorite movie line?

Starlett – “Nobody puts baby in the corner” from Dirty Dancing

Big John – “what we have here is a failure to communicate” from Cool Hand Luke

Upcoming news from artist:

Stay Tuned for an upcoming new album with Starlett & Big John’s new Record Company Rebel. From what they told me, this album was written by themselves (Starlett Boswell and Big John Talley) and each song tells a story. The Album is co-produced by Ron Stewart and Starlett & Big John. As they are finishing up the album and creating a name for it, the excitement is building of when the release date will be.

Starlett’s favorite song is about a girl who leaves East Virginia and heads back to the mountains. Big John’s favorite song is about a song they wrote about their way of living in the South. Not sure about you, but I can’t wait to hear what they have created.

Website for artist, tour dates and/or merchandise:

Check out the artist/band website for all their new songs, tour dates and merchandise. The best way to support our local broadcasters and artists are through their sales – CDs, albums, shirts and etc. Let’s show our support – go check their website.