Boxcars Bring Bluegrass to Ball State

By Heather Collins

MUNCIE, INDIANA (ENTERTAINMENT) - Bluegrass grew at Pruis Hall on the Ball State University campus Thursday night. The Boxcars are traditional bluegrass pickers and grinners.

Pruis Hall was country cozy for the arrival of Grammy nominated group, The Boxcars. The group is a traditional bluegrass band comprised of guitar, banjo, mandolin, fiddle and upright bass. Although the group has surprisingly only been together for 2 years, The Boxcars have already exquisitely mastered their sound and dynamics.

Each instrument seemed to weave in and out the melodies, as if the musicians were carrying on a pleasant  little porch conversation through their instruments. The Boxcars come across as true folks, are known as true musicians, and tell the true folk stories like only true folk musicians can.

Leader, Ron Stewart vocals are reminiscent of Randy Travis, straight-forward with a soothing quality.

Guitarist, Keith Garrett is a Chemistry teacher by day, and singer-songwriter by night. Garrett has written roughly half of the songs from The Boxcars three released albums.

Garrett sings about the hardships of life. In one song, he sings, “You don’t know what I’m going through / When I’m going through my day…/This morning I cried my way out the door.” Garrett creates heavily relatable song with beautiful and memorable melodies.   

The Boxcars latest album, It’s Just a Road, was nominated for a Grammy for Best Bluegrass Album. In 2013, The Boxcars won the International Bluegrass Music Association’s Instrumental Group of the Year for the third year in a row. Mandolin player, Adam Steffey also won the IBMA Mandolin Player of the Year in 2013.

“We’re awful excited to be here,” said Steffey to the crowd. “If we were treated like this everyday, we’d be spoiled. But there’s always tomorrow!”

The group is comprised of five notable members of the bluegrass community. Adam Steffey previously played with Alison Krauss in the Union Station band for seven years, earning Grammy awards and IBMA trophies during his stint. Steffey also played with Dusty Miller, the Lonesome River Band and The Isaacs.

Ron Stewart, the groups banjo player, is well-known as one of the most sought after multi-instrumentalists in the bluegrass genre. Stewart is also a sought after recording engineer and producer. Stewart grew up in Southern Indiana, just a hour and a half from Bill Monroe’s Bean Blossom bluegrass festival. Stewart has previously worked with Lynn Morris, Curly Seckler, JD Crowe and the New South, the Dan Tyminski Band and made a guest appearance on a live Lester Flatt album at the age of nine.

Fiddler, John R. Bowman is living a bluegrass fairytale. Bowman also previously played with Alison Krauss, was born in Mayberry and is married to one of The Isaacs.


Guitarist Keith Garrett grew up in East Tennessee where he quickly gravitated to the bluegrass stylings of Tony Rice, Keith Whitley, the Bluegrass Album Band and Rick Skaggs. Garrett was the founding member of Blue Moon Rising. In 2006, the International Bluegrass Music Association nominated Garrett for “Emerging Artist of the Year.”


Bassist, Harold Nixon became a working a musician when he was 15 year olds. Nixon previously played with JD Crowe and the New South and played on the 2008 Grammy Nominated record “Lefty’s Old Guitar.”


The Boxcars already have tour dates booked through April of 2015. The Boxcars will return to Indiana for the Bean Blossom Bluegrass Festival in Bean Blossom, IN on June 17th. For more information and tour dates, please visit


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