Cross Country was a popular folk trio formed in 1986. Based in the Baltimore/Washington D.C. area, the trio was well known for their vocal harmonies and spirited instruments. The members, Ned Quist (tenor, guitar, and penny whistle), Carol Thomas Downing (soprano, fiddle, and 12-string guitar), and John Yankee (baritone, harmonica, and keyboard), all came from Peabody Institute.
Ned Quist, originally from Vermont, settled in Baltimore in 1973. He earned degrees from Colgate University, Peabody Conservatory, and Catholic University. Quist was also Librarian of the Arthur Friedheim Library at the Peabody Conservatory of Music. In 1981, Quist began to perform with Carol Thomas Downing. A graduate of Towson University, Downing taught violin musicianship at the Peabody Preparatory. She was also the founder and director of the Peabody Children’s Chorus.
Originally from Michigan, John Yankee moved to Baltimore in 1986 and was invited to join Downing and Quist in their performances. Yankee taught at Peabody, Garrison Forest, and Walden Schools, and was an active conductor, composer, arranger, and trumpeter.
The trio gained popularity as they performed at various venues in the area. They performed at the Baltimore Folk Festival several years running, headlining the opening concert in 1990. They recorded their first album, Cross Country, in 1990. They released their second album, Never Grow Old, in 1992. The trio parted ways in the early 1990s but regrouped occasionally for reunion performances.