Sharon Gilchrist was born and raised in Southlake, Texas. She began performing mandolin and singing at the age of nine in a bluegrass band Blue Night Express with guitarist and brother Troy Gilchrist. The band was formed at a local music store where teachers put together a group of young students and taught them how to play in a band. The band performed for six years touring nationally and playing along side such bluegrass greats as Bill Monroe, Del McCoury, Ralph Stanley and New Grass Revival. After six years, Sharon began performing with the other two Blue Night band-mates, Martie and Emily Erwin, in a newly formed band called the Dixie Chicks. Soon though, she left for the bright lights of Nashville, Tennessee.
In Nashville, Sharon studied mandolin and music composition at Belmont University receiving a BA in Mandolin Performance. Meanwhile, she played upright bass, mandolin and sang with several Nashville artists such as Rebecca Stout, Jennifer Niceley and Josh Rouse (RykoDisc).
During her studies, her performance experience and musical influences diversified as she focused more on the interactions between music and the visual and performing arts. Sharon acted as musical director and composer for the conceptual art collective DddD. From her experiences with visual and conceptual media, Sharons main focus shifted to composing music for dance and film. In July 2001 Sharon moved from Nashville to Santa Fe, New Mexico for a time of seclusion and focused composition.
Immediately upon arriving in Santa Fe, Sharon however returned to her bluegrass roots. She performed solo for sometime on mandolin and vocals. Soon she teamed up playing bass, mandolin and singing with Ben Wright (guitarist/vocalist) and Josh Martin (bassist/mandolinist/vocalist) to form a progressive bluegrass trio called Mary & Mars. The trio toured throughout the West for over two years and released two albums during that time. Soon after her time with Mary & Mars, Sharon began working with several different artists still based in acoustic American roots music. She began performing with southwest legend, Bill Hearne (guitar and vocals) in the Bill Hearne Trio. Bill and his wife, Bonnie, performed as a musical duo for thirty-three years and together brought acclaim to the songs of writers such as Lyle Lovett and Nanci Griffith. While playing some shows in Colorado, Sharon found her way into the all female, old-time string band called Uncle Earl (Rounder Records). Sharon plays bass, mandolin and sings with this group of eclectic musicians. All the gearls bring original material to the band while paying homage to their old-time roots by including a large portion of traditional material as well as dancing in their show. Sharon also performs with two other artists who have highly influenced the shape, style and sound of bluegrass and acoustic music today, Peter Rowan and Tony Rice. She performs mandolin and sings with the Peter Rowan and Tony Rice Quartet (Rounder Records) as well as the Peter Rowan New Acoustic Trio.
In addition to performing with many great artists, Sharon can also be seen performing solo on mandolin, octave mandolin and vocals. Her repertoire includes traditional bluegrass and folk tunes from around the world, some classical material as well as a blend of original and traditional songs. Sharon also teaches mandolin at the College of Santa Fe and continues making her home in the Land of Enchantment.