With decades of professional experience, The Allen Tolbert Unit is an acoustic band with influences ranging from the Bluegrass sounds of Alison Krauss, Tony Rice, Ricky Skaggs, Del McCoury and Bill Monroe to the Jazz sounds of John Coltrane, David Grisman and Miles Davis to the newer sounds of The Avett Brothers, Nickel Creek, Old Crow Medicine Show and The Punch Brothers. Having opened for acts such as The John Cowan Band, Dread Clampitt, Mike Marshall and Edgar Meyer, The Allen Tolbert Unit is known for its rich musical heritage. The band features guitar, banjo, mandolin and bass.
Allen Tolbert has toured professionally in the southeast for nearly 20 years. A veteran of Birmingham-based Glenn Tolbert & Company for 17 years, Allen has made hundreds of appearances ranging from festivals, weddings, churches and private parties to radio and television appearances. He appeared as a featured guest on a special youth edition of the nationally-syndicated radio broadcast of the Woodsongs Old-Time Radio Hour, as well as performing numerous times on the Country Boy Eddie Show on WBRC TV in Birmingham with many guests including Hank Williams III. His festival appearances include Horse Pens 40, opening for such acts as Ricky Skaggs, The Del McCoury Band, Peter Rowan, Jerry Douglas, Blue Highway and The Whites. Allen also performed at the Foggy Hollow Bluegrass Gatherin' nearly 20 different times, opening for acts such as Alison Krauss and Union Station, The Tony Rice Unit, J.D. Crowe and the New South, IIIrd Tyme Out, the Osborne Brothers and Claire Lynch. His debut solo CD is scheduled to be released soon. Allen also teaches guitar and mandolin in the greater Birmingham metropolitan area, as well as throughout the world via Skype.
Glenn Tolbert is a Southeastern legend. Long having set the standard for flatpicking guitar throughout the area, Glenn is also a renowned banjo player. He plays banjo, second guitar and sings tenor vocal for The Allen Tolbert Unit. He has an honorable mention in the Alabama Music Hall Of Fame, due in large part to his work as a regular on the Country Boy Eddie Show on WBRC TV in Birmingham for many years. He also played at virtually every Bluegrass festival held at Horse Pens 40 in Steele, AL throughout the 1970's. His influence can be seen in guitar players all over the world as he has taught thousands of aspiring guitarists everywhere for over 40 years. Glenn truly epitomizes musical excellence.
Steve Smith is an accomplished mandolin player with a distinctive, original style. Showcasing a masterful sense of rhythm and tasteful solos, Steve brings a rigid drive to the band that is unmatched. A renowned singer, Steve also provides harmony vocals for The Allen Tolbert Unit. He has over a decade of professional experience in the performing arts.
Jim Hollon is an innovative bass player with an impeccable sense of timing. By contributing songs and blazing creativity to the band, Jim has helped shape the unique sound of The Allen Tolbert Unit. His influences include Edgar Meyer, Phil Keaggy, Eric Clapton and Sam Bush, leading to a diverse pedigree that is an important asset to the band. Jim is a master entertainer.