Spencer Blankenship

Spencer started playing mandolin at age 8 and also plays several other instruments. He began playing in a family band with his parents, brother, and uncle. He then went on to play with a popular local band from Franklin County, Va called "Smith Mountain Grass." After playing with them for 5 years, he began playing with a band based out of Roanoke, VA called Sandy Ridge for 2 years. Then, Spencer joined the stage with Hard Drivin' Grass for about 2 years. He is a graduate of Virginia Tech and now teaches at Virginia Western Community College. Spencer, his wife Bonnie, and kids live in their hometown of Bedford, VA. 

Zach Brown

Franklin County native Zach Brown is the group's fiddle player. You may have seen him anywhere in Southwest Virginia since 2003 playing mandolin with Blackwater and making appearances with Smith Mountain Grass, Pocket Change, and many other acts. He learned mandolin at age 11 from the late Dewey Prillaman (a well respected Franklin County fiddler with a distinct style). With New Standard, Zach delivers the tenor vocals that top off the group's harmony. A graduate of Virginia Tech and corporate project manager, Zach can be found in the deer woods, on a river, or with is wife and kids when not picking and singing.

Stewart Scales

Stewart, originally from Big Stone Gap, VA is a Geography instructor at Virginia Tech. He plays upright bass with the band as well as banjo and guitar at jams along the Crooked Road.  He originally started playing guitar at the age of 12, taught by his father.  He picked up the banjo, self-taught, at the age of 16 and upright bass at age 18.  Stewart currently teaches a variety of courses in the VT Geography Department on Appalachian & Virginia geography, mapping & cartography, as well as the geography of tea. Outside of the music spectrum, he enjoys many outdoor activities with his wife, cycling, flying, and helping neighbors on the farm.

Robert Overstreet

A well-known name in the Virginia and east coast bluegrass scenes, Robert hails from Big Island, Virginia and joined New Standard in 2018.  He brings many styles of banjo playing to the table and is a very adaptable musician; he also plays fingerpicking style guitar, dobro, and just about any instrument you can put in his hands.  His Don Reno style banjo and lightning fast picking have been entertaining audiences for decades.    

Matthew Amos

Matthew joined New Standard in 2023 as the dobro player.  He makes his home in Bedford, VA and plays part-time with the band in shows around Central Virginia.

Mason Thomas

Mason plays part-time with the band and is from Madison Heights, Va. He has grown up to eat, sleep, and breathe bluegrass. He started playing the guitar at 7 years old. From there he progressed in his playing and singing abilities. In 2006 Mason started the group Hard Drivin’ Grass and performed for over 4 years with that band and has also played with the group "In The Tradition." He is a graduate of Virginia Tech and is a self-employed in the excavating business. Mason loves to play the old, traditional style with his own twist. Besides playing music he also enjoys to hunt, fish, and spend time with family.