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'Bluegrassed' as a tot in Stafford County
Mentors and solid musical foundation in Stafford schools led local musician to popular bluegrass

 Stafford native Justen Haynes, now a Caroline resident, is the fiddle player for nationally known bluegrass group.
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Date published: 1/29/2013

By Rob Hedelt

JUSTEN Haynes didn't need teachers in Stafford County schools to introduce him to musical instruments.

At the age of 4, he was already plunking away on a mandolin.

By age 7, Haynes had sweet sounds coming out of a fiddle, with guitar and banjo following not long after that.

With a house full of family members steeped in gospel and bluegrass, it was no surprise he eventually found himself thumping on an electric bass with father Eddie Haynes, mom Lora Brown and others in the gospel group "Sonrise."

But the former Hartwood resident, now 30 and living in the Caroline County community of Sparta, said perhaps the biggest influence in his musical and professional life was his mentor, Ron Barricklow, who now teaches at Brooke Point High School.

The teacher Haynes knew in middle school became his private tutor and influenced him to switch from violin to viola while at Stafford High School. Barricklow then encouraged Haynes to attend Shenandoah Musical Conservatory to pursue classical music as a career.

Haynes is now a professional bluegrass musician with the nationally known group Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out--which just released the new CD, "Timeless Hits from the Past: Bluegrassed."

He often thinks of his mentor and the solid musical start he got from him and other teachers in Stafford.

"I'm grateful every day I know how to write and read music" and understand music theory, said Haynes, who is on the road some 200 days a year. He noted that many professional musicians learned to play by ear, and others learned to read and write it.

Learning both ways, as Haynes did growing up, gives him a big advantage in tackling new music and occasionally doing charts for new songs the group is preparing.

"I love all kinds of music, from classical to rock to bluegrass," said Haynes, who, in addition to touring, also teaches classical violin, fiddle and guitar locally, as well as dog-obedience classes. (You can reach him at
Email: justenhaynes@yahoo.com.)

The Stafford High School grad said that for much of his time at Shenandoah, he expected that he'd make classical music and the viola his profession.


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