The Carolina Rebels - A History

The Carolina Rebels Bluegrass Band came into existence in 1979 when Don Ashley and David Prosser, along with David’s father Julian “Hank” Prosser decided to form a bluegrass band for fun. The two boys had discovered some old bluegrass records, including Flatt and Scruggs, the Stanley Brothers, the Hired Hands and more.  Soon Gerald "Tom" Sherrod, a neighbor from down the street, and Columbia area businessman Joe Azar joined the band, playing guitar and upright bass, respectively. This band would be a part of the bluegrass scene, regionally and nationally for over 45 years.

The Rebels began to play around the Columbia SC area,  becoming popular, and soon became known at the University of South Carolina as their "go-to" band. Joe Azar left the band in the early '80's in order to focus on his business and Hubert “Bob” Dockery joined the band as the main bass player for the band for the next 25 years. The Rebels would continue their relationship with the University of South Carolina, including getting the chance to perform for Australian Prime Minister Malcom Frazer,  President Regan's Delegation of Caribbean Nations and then-Vice President George Bush at various events hosted by USC.

Around the same time they were becoming quite popular on the Bluegrass Festival circuit in GA. and FLA., and were hailed as redefining the phrase  “South Carolina Style Bluegrass.”   As their popularity grew at festivals they began to travel further and further from home.  Traveling from Texas to Canada, and anyplace in between, began to take its toll. David took a leave of absence in the mid 1990's  to focus on his work, and banjo duties went to Bobby Welch. Bobby would continue to play with the band until he moved out of state, at which time David returned. Bass player Bob Dockery also would have to take multiple breaks from the band. During these times the bass duties handled by Ross Lytle, Mac Burdette (formerly of Skyline Bluegrass Express),  Cliff Brandon, and Ben Boatwright, all doing a great job for the Rebels. Burrell  Rogerson would join the CRB in the early 2000's for the remainder of the original band's run. In 2012 the band would be joined by Larry Klein (from the Blueridge Mountain Grass) on dobro, adding to the bands over all sound.

Hank Prosser was forced to retire from performing with the band due to health reasons in 2017 and would pass away in 2019. Health issues would also curtailed the activities of  both Bob and Tom, and the band took a hiatus, performing only occasional shows, ably accompanied by Patrick Russell,  Tyler Chasteen and Tommy Thomas. The band was completely inactive during the COVID-19 Pandemic, as were many acts. However, in late 2021 SCBGTMA President Leo Pearson began to express an interest in revitalizing the Carolina Rebels.