Mountain View Bluegrass Festival 2023 Fall Line-up
November 9th, 10th, 11th
Tickets go on sale right after Labor Day !
As usual, the Mountain View Fall Bluegrass Festival is packed with first rate acts that are sure to keep you entertained. We will keep you informed if any new information becomes available so check back often!
Remember…Thursday is All Gospel Night!
Lonesome River Band – Thursday and Friday
Since its formation decades ago, Lonesome River Band continues its reputation as one of the most respected names in bluegrass music. Five-time International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) Banjo Player of the Year, and winner of the Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Banjo and Bluegrass, Sammy Shelor leads the group that is constantly breaking new ground in acoustic music. With two stellar lead vocalists, Jesse Smathers (guitar) and Adam Miller (mandolin), with the impressive talents of Mike Hartgrove (fiddle) and Barry Reed (bass), the band seamlessly comes together, performing the trademark sound that fans continue to embrace.
Outside Looking In, their latest album, released in 2019 and debuted at #1 on the Billboard Bluegrass Albums chart. The release continues their established legacy, with songs that reflect who they are and the culture they come from. The themes of Outside Looking In are a time-honored part of the Bluegrass canon. They inform the very backbone of the music, and Lonesome River Band has a way of framing them in modern terms moving the genre forward.
In 2018, the band received an IBMA Album of the Year nomination for their self-produced 2017 album, Mayhayley’s House. They dedicated the album to Mayhayley Lancaster, a self-proclaimed “Oracle of the Ages” who handed out “readings” and personal predictions at her home in southwest Georgia’s Heard County. They also dedicated the album to fans, and to people who understand that traditions, once lost, are rarely recovered.
In 2017, Lonesome River Band performed at Jim McBride’s induction into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame along with Alan Jackson, Luke Bryan, Earl Thomas Conley, James LeBlanc, Lee Ann Womack, Dustin Lynch, the Bundys, Craig Campbell, Hillary Lindsey, Clint Lagerberg, and Steven Lee Olsen.
The band again built on their familiar sound while adding bold progressiveness to their 2016 album, Bridging the Tradition, that made its debut at #2 on Billboard’s Bluegrass Album Chart. The album received a 2016 IBMA Award Nomination for Album of the Year along with nominations for “Thunder & Lightning” for Song of the Year, “Rockin’ of the Cradle” for Gospel Recorded Performance of the Year, and Sammy Shelor for Banjo Performer of the Year.
Also in 2016, band members Sammy Shelor and Mike Hartgrove performed with actor Martin Short when Steve Martin was honored with the 43rd American Film Institute’s Life Achievement Award – the highest honor for a career in film. The award was presented to Steve Martin during the gala tribute in Los Angeles, Calif. and aired on TBS. The star-studded event included: Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph, Conan O’Brien, Dan Aykroyd, Jack Black, Kevin Nealon, Steve Carell, and many more.
Lonesome River Band’s long career is filled with numerous awards and recognitions, including their 2012 International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) Award for Instrumental Recorded Event of the Year for “Angeline the Baker” from their Chronology Volume One album. Sammy Shelor received his fifth win as the IBMA Banjo Performer of the Year in 2012. The group has also received other awards from IBMA including Album of the Year, along with many from SPBGMA including Bluegrass Band of Year, Vocal Group of the Year, and Song of the Year. Shelor is also a 3-time SPBGMA Banjo Player of the Year award winner.
In 2011, Sammy Shelor received the 2nd Annual Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Banjo and Bluegrass. Lonesome River Band performed on the Late Show with David Letterman along with special guest Steve Martin, who presented Sammy with his award during the broadcast.
“Lonesome River Band demonstrates the fact that when you tap tradition, it’s often all that’s needed to maintain momentum and keep the music moving forward.”
Since its formation decades ago, Lonesome River Band continues its reputation as one of the most respected names in bluegrass music. Five-time International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) Banjo Player of the Year, and winner of the Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Banjo and Bluegrass, Sammy Shelor leads the group that is constantly breaking new ground in acoustic music. With two stellar lead vocalists, Jesse Smathers (guitar) and Adam Miller (mandolin), and the impressive talents of Mike Hartgrove (fiddle) and Kameron Keller (bass), the band seamlessly comes together, performing the trademark sound that fans continue to embrace.
The Churchmen – Thursday only
Keith Clark, bass player, was born in Martinsville, Virginia and was raised in Fieldale, VA. His father taught him how to play guitar. “I can still picture how I used to sit on his knee and strum while he made the chords.” Keith started playing the bass at age twelve and played the drums during high school, and he still enjoys playing. Keith played with The Mill Creek Trio before being able to get back to his real love, bluegrass music, when they started the Churchmen in 1989. “It’s a real blessing to be able to adapt the kind of music that you love to share the gospel. I love how bluegrass can be so different. I love hard driving songs with a lot of banjo, and I love slow ballads with a lot of fiddle and Dobro.”Keith resides in Collinsville, VA with his wife Sharon. “Having a great bunch of guys to play music and spread the Gospel for 30+ years is an amazing blessing. We love the Lord and try to serve Him by telling everyone the good news of the Gospel in music”.
Greg Jones plays mandolin for The Churchmen. He was born in Mt Airy NC and raised in Cana, Va. He grew up with a family of musicians and singers making it easy to get the “pickin bug.” Influenced by his father Donald and uncles Odell and Perry, he picked up the mandolin and started learning everything from Bill Monroe to David Grisman and Ricky Skaggs. Throughout his career, Greg has played with several bands, recorded projects, won competitions, played various venues and even joined as baritone for the late Johnny Cash one night at a show. Greg was one of the founders of the group Rich In Tradition in 2006. In 2016 Greg joined the Amanda Cook Band and played into the early part of 2018. He lives in Mt. Airy, NC with his wife Shannon. They have three children: Katie, Dan and Emily.
Carroll Arnn, banjo player, was born in Danville, VA and raised in Dry Fork, VA in rural Pittsylvania County. Carroll played previously with lots of great bands and musicians including Southern Freight Station, Virginia Sonrize, The Church Sisters, The Rivercity Band, and on occasion with Johnny and Jeanette Williams. Carroll has penned several songs that The Churchmen have recorded in the past, and he already has plans to record several more with the band. In addition to being a great song writer, Carroll is also very versatile musician and singer. He plays banjo, fiddle, and guitar on Churchmen sets and he can sing all four vocal parts. Carroll says “God has blessed my life far beyond what I’m worthy of, and I believe He has placed me where I can best serve Him. I ask all of the fans to continue to pray for our ministry. I am excited about where God is leading us”.
Jay Adams, guitar player, comes to the group from Eden, NC. Jay’s first exposure to bluegrass was Flatt and Scruggs. Jay has known Keith almost since the beginning of the Churchmen and they have been friends for many years. He says, “The gospel has always been a major part of my music.” Combine that and the fact that they all live within an hour of each other, “it just seems like God put it together.” Jay is married to Teresa Adkins Adams. They have two daughters, Ellie and Katie, and two grandchildren, Tucker and Cali.
Christian Gillikin, fiddle player, was born and raised in the Virginia Beach, Virginia area. Christian began playing fiddle at age 4, studying classical violin into college. Although lessons were primarily formal sheet music, his true love was always bluegrass and acoustic music. Bluegrass jams were highlights of his childhood. He was fortunate enough to win the Virginia State Championship at 8, and at age 16 he got to play a few shows with his fiddle hero Vassar Clements. He has recorded numerous Country and Bluegrass projects, as well as music for several professional business commercials. In the mid 1990’s he became the first full-time fiddle player with the Churchmen, recorded their project The Drifter, and remained with the band for the better part of a decade. Additionally, while with the Churchmen, he met his wife Shannon, who is the niece of long-time Churchmen banjo player Freddy Rakes and has once again excitedly reunited with the Churchmen.
Kurt and Andrea Stephenson – Thursday only
The married couple Kurt and Andrea Stephenson are Arkansas State University graduates who have lengthy musical resumes. They met at a musical event in Mountain View over 20 years ago. Their musical influences include the Louvin Brothers, the Marshall Family, the Stanley Brothers, and the McGruders. Kurt Stephenson is a native of West Tennessee who is a past winner of the National Bluegrass Banjo Championship, which is the premier banjo competition in the world. He also has won multiple Tennessee state banjo championships. In addition to leading his own band with his wife, Kurt is also a member of the Rebel Records recording group High Fidelity which is a three-time nominee for the International Bluegrass Music Association’s New Artist of the Year award. Andrea Stephenson is a native of Fordyce, where she grew up performing bluegrass and gospel music with her family, the Nichols, at churches and Bluegrass events around the region. She plays guitar and sings. Kurt says his dad took him to a competition in Sardis, TN when he was 12 to let him enter the banjo contest. “I believe it was my very first time playuing on stage for complete straners and it was obviously my first competition. I couldn’t believe it when it happened but I won first place and $50! From that moment on, I wanted to play on stage and maybe eventually join a band.” He is also the 2010 winner of the National Bluegrass Banjo Championship held in Winfield, Kansas.
Finley River Boys – Thursday and Friday
Brad Reynolds – vocals/upright bass Brad started his musical life as a young man with the “Lifesavers Choir” from the Assemblies of God Church in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Brad spent many years touring and performing with music groups from SAGU, Waxahachie, TX including the internationally renowned “Harvesters”, “Divine Touch” and “Free Spirit”. In these groups, Brad sang tenor and was the founder of “Free Spirit”. These groups toured nationally with many large concert events including Jesus Rocky Mountain, Christ for the Nations, The Billy Graham Crusades, as well as hundreds of churches all across the country. Brad has opened for such acclaimed Christian Artists as Russ Taff, Dallas Holm & Praise, Andrus Blackwood and Company, The Archers, and many, many more. Brad has also toured and sung background vocals as part of “The New Men of the West,” for Western Music Hall of Fame Member, Rex Allen, Jr. Brad now sings and plays upright Bass for the Finley River Boys and serves as member of the Board of Directors of the Greater Ozarks Bluegrass Society.
Bill Crider – vocals/guitar Bill started playing guitar at age 8 with his family’s band in Southern Illinois. While in high school, he was the guitarist and lead singer for a Southern Illinois gospel quartet “The Gospel Messengers.” Bill then headed west to Arizona where he performed at many local Country & Western Clubs, winning several local talents shows, and soon after joined the internationally award winning “Spirit of Phoenix Chorus”, the premier performing group of the Phoenix Chapter of the Barbershop Harmony Society, competing on the international stage. During this time Bill met Western Music Hall of Fame Member, Rex Allen Jr. and became part of Rex’s backup group, “the New Men of the West”. Bill later relocated back to the Midwest, settling in the Heart of the Ozarks, Springfield, MO and currently sings and plays guitar for the Finley River Boys.
Brett Dudenhoeffer – vocals/fiddle When Brett was 4 years old, a “fiddle and a bow” topped his Christmas list. In the years that followed, Brett’s love for music intensified. He began making public appearances when he was 6 years old and he recorded his first album. At age 9 Brett was featured in the March/April edition of “The Ozark Mountaineer” magazine and at age 10 he won “2010 Most Outstanding Young Fiddler” at the American Heritage Music Festival in Grove, OK. Brett’s fiddling has been featured in numerous Missouri venues to include contests, festivals, county fairs, benefits, music shows, school functions, and church events. He has made guest appearances on the Mickey Gilley Show and the Joey Riley Show in Branson and has performed the National Anthem to open MSU’s Lady Bears and men’s Bears basketball games as well as the Springfield Cardinals baseball games. This year Brett also played the National Anthem for the Missouri Tigers Men’s Basketball game in Columbia MO and has performed at the White House in 2012 and 2014. Brett now plays fiddle, mandolin and provides vocals for the Finley River Boys.
Danny Bradley – banjo Danny was born and raised right here in the Ozarks. He graduated Logan-Rogersville HS (he asked that we leave out the year) and then attended Amtech Institute in Wichita KS, and Ozark Technical College in Springfield, MO. His first “pro” audition took place in the Golden Corral restaurant in South Springfield, all alone to the lunch crowd. There is definitely more to that story, but you’ll have to ask him yourself for the details. Over the course of his musical life, he has played with several Ozarks Groups including Missouri Mtn Gang, The Miller Family, Southwynn’s, Hogeye Revival, Wildfire Mountain, Copperhead and was an original member of the Finley River Cowboy Church Band. Danny has been an inspiration and mentor to many local banjo players, and we are extremely proud that he chose to add the Finley River Boys to his musical resume.
Eddie Sanders – Thursday and Friday
Eddie Sanders is a world-class Singer/Songwriter/Guitarist from McAlester, Oklahoma. Eddie was born into southwest bluegrass royalty, and his father is legendary bluegrass festival and concert promoter, Freddie Sanders. The Sanders Family Bluegrass Festival in McAlester was one of the biggest and best bluegrass festivals west of the Mississippi, and one of the favorite venues for bluegrass acts Bill Monroe, The Osborne Brothers, Lewis Family, Jim & Jesse, Ralph Stanley and nearly every major bluegrass act of the last 40 years. The McAlester festivals were shaped and guided by his major bluegrass influences: Mac Wiseman, Larry Sparks and The Osborne Brothers. He also developed the professionalism that he learned from the best acts in the business, and also learned the power of a song and a love for original material. Eddie was also strongly influenced by Merle Haggard and Gene Watson and soon started writing his own songs.
For many years Eddie Sanders was guitarist and lead vocalist with the widely-acclaimed band, “Signal Mountain”. Eddie’s fellow bandmates included: Shawn Camp (IBMA Male Vocalist of the Year, Earls of Leicester); Dennis Crouch (Elton John, Elvis Costello); Billy Joe Foster (Bill Monroe, Ricky Skaggs); Tim Crouch (The Whites, Mike Snider); and southwest bluegrass luminaries Donny Catron; Don McAfee; and The Bonham Brothers, Virgil and Glen! One of the finest bluegrass bands of that era to be sure!
Eddie’s songwriting skills increasingly brought him to Nashville for songwriting sessions with Shawn Camp, Ronnie Bowman, Dennis & Tim Crouch, Glen Duncan and Adam Engelhardt. Eddie wrote The Del McCoury Band’s hit single, “You Could Be Me”. Kix Brooks & Wayne Toups recorded a duet “Down Where The River Ends”, penned by Eddie and Shawn Camp.
Eddie’s work, both as a singer and a songwriter, combines the best elements of the old and the new. With a family tradition steeped in the history of bluegrass music, and influenced by the best of what has come along since, Eddie Sanders’ new recorded songs are a powerful statement of what the best bluegrass music has always been, and what the best bluegrass music will be in years to come.
Tina Adair – Friday only
The name Tina Adair has become synonymous with excellence as far as female vocalists in bluegrass music are concerned. Her family band, The Adairs, gave Tina her first introduction and exposure to the industry and when Tina was just 17 years old, she signed a recording contract with Sugar Hill Records. Her first album, Just You Wait And See, was released in ’97, produced by Jerry Douglas and featuring such luminaries as Chris Thile, Bryan Sutton, Aubrey Haynie, Viktor Krauss, Charlie Cushman, Keith Little, and Alan O’Bryant. The project was a success and garnered praise from radio and critics. After four years touring, Tina came off the road to attend college, though she did release one self-produced CD, All You Need, in 2000.
After graduating from Nashville’s, Belmont University as an undergrad, Tina went to work in Nashville while also attending graduate school. But the music in her soul just couldn’t be denied. “One of my goals was to always get a college degree and was highly encouraged by my family. My brother and I were first generation college students, and my parents worked very very hard in order to pay for both both of our college educations. I was very blessed! Another dream of mine was to become a resident of Nashville, TN. Therefore, Belmont University was where I studied and obtained a Bachelor of Business Administration degree majoring in Music Business, perfectly suited to my long term goals. “Upon graduating from Belmont, I began work in the Mike Curb College of Entertainment & Music Business at Belmont, where I still reside.” Adair adds…”I am currently the Director of Advising in the Curb College and I have been at Belmont now for 20 years!”
In February 2012, Tina released a solo record titled Born Bad which she recorded at Nashville’s historic OceanWay Studios. Less than a year later, in December 2012, Tina joined forces with four friends and prominent women in the bluegrass industry to form the all star female group, Sister Sadie. Sister Sadie has experienced incredible amount of radio and chart success since their start and was nominated for a GRAMMY Award for Best Bluegrass Album in 2019. The band has also made many appearances on the coveted GRAND OLE OPRY stage, making their debut on March 30, 2019. Sister Sadie has also been highly recognized by their peers with the IBMA, as recipients of the Vocal Group Of The Year award three years in a row (2019, 2020, 2021), as well as IBMA Entertainers Of The Year in 2020 making history as the first all female group to win both of these awards.
October of 2020 brought exciting changes to Tina’s musical journey in the form of a new solo recording contract with Engelhardt Music Group of Nashville, TN. She released her debut project for her new label in the Spring of 2021, a full length self-titled album which proved to be a chart topping success entering the new year with the number #1 single, “Still Got a Long Way To Go.” It was also during this time that the Country Music Hall Of Fame had included Sister Sadie in their “Country Currents” series, which was such a huge honor for Adair. Later deciding to focus her attention on her solo career rather than split her time between that and the Sister Sadie band, added another level of transition for her. Adair is currently back in the studio with Engelhardt Music Group and has already released two hot new singles from her forthcoming album expected in 2023.
Volume Five – Friday and Saturday
Volume Five, the Mississippi-based group that started as a casual jam band in 2008, has grown into one of bluegrass music’s most popular and unique acts. The soulful lead vocals by fiddler Glen Harrell and the band’s tight instrumentals and vocal harmony have earned the group two IBMA Awards, numerous nominations, and many accolades. The band is now on tour with the masterful talents of Glen Harrell on fiddle & vocals, Jacob Burleson on guitar & vocals, Aaron Ramsey on mandolin and vocals, Chris Wade on banjo, and Jacob Eller on bass.
“When I put this group together, I knew the style of music I wanted us to play and the goals we wanted to achieve. It was just a matter of finding the right guys who wanted to create their own identity in the industry. I didn’t just want us to be another band that moves onto the scene and is gone in a few years, but one that would have a unique sound that players and listeners would remember for many years to come – one that sounded like no other band in the business,” said Glen.
In 2010, the band signed with Mountain Fever Records. They received nominations for the IBMA Emerging Artist of the Year and another for the IBMA Gospel Recorded Performance of the Year for The Day We Learn To Fly. Volume Five received a Nomination for the 2015 IBMA Emerging Artist of the Year Award. They also garnered a Nomination from the Gospel Music Association (GMA) Dove Awards for Bluegrass Song of the Year for the song, “Daddy Was An Old Time Preacher Man.” In 2016, Volume Five’s album Drifter made its debut on the Billboard™’ Top 10 Bluegrass Album Chart. This project earned the group two IBMA Awards in 2017. They won the Emerging Artist of the Year Award and the prestigious the Song of the Year Award for “I Am A Drifter,” written by Donna Ulisse and Marc Rossi. Volume Five celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2018 with yet another Billboard™ Top 10 Bluegrass Chart album – Milestones. Late in 2021, Mountain Fever Records released “When Karma Comes Calling.” The song quickly debuted at #1 on the Bluegrass Today Top 20 Weekly Song Chart and reached the top spot seven times.
Volume Five’s touring schedule has afforded them the benefit of playing with numerous artists over the years, some of whom have become fans, such as Buddy Melton of Balsam Range, who says, “What defines a great band? Superior musicianship, impeccable singing, moving song selections. Volume Five has all the above and more. They are extremely talented yet humble and genuinely real people. Volume Five has a magical quality about them that will undoubtedly make a lasting impression in the world of acoustic music.”
Glen Harrell has been around music since he was just a child. He started playing guitar at the age of nine and the fiddle at age fourteen. In 2002, he joined country music artist Marty Raybon In addition, the band had numerous television performances and played the hallowed Grand Ole Opry multiple times. Glen created Volume Five in 2008 and said, “I have found the music I have always wanted to play. Also, nothing is better than playing music with friends and having them as bandmates. We all have the same vision for the band.” Glen now lives in a small town in northeastern Mississippi called Booneville. He and his wife Michelle have been happily married for over 25 years and have three children.
Guitar player and vocalist Jacob Burleson is from Newland, a small town in the mountains of North Carolina, and is the son of Jason and Shelly Burleson. Since his dad is a founding member of the award-winning group Blue Highway, Jacob has grown up around bluegrass music allowing his talents to thrive by attending festivals and jamming with some of the top pickers in bluegrass. After a few years of jamming and honing his craft as a musician, he landed a gig with Kenny and Amanda Smith’s band. Jacob’s early influences include his heroes – Sam Bush, Adam Steffey, Dempsey Young, Shawn Lane, and many more.
Multi-instrumentalist Aaron Ramsey joined Volume Five in 2020 on mandolin and vocals. He is also a recording engineer with Mountain Fever Records and has worked with Volume Five on several of their albums. Aaron is from Morganton, North Carolina, and began playing mandolin when he was 12 years old in a Gospel bluegrass band called Damascus Road. His father, Michael Ramsey, played bass in that band. In 2002 at the age of 17, he joined the Linville Ridge Band, where he played mandolin and guitar. In 2004, Aaron released his solo project Aaron Ramsey, and two years later, he joined Randy Kohrs and the Lites. In 2007, Aaron joined Mountain Heart, where he stayed until joining Volume Five.
Chris Wade plays banjo and is from Fredericktown, Ohio. His dad took him to bluegrass festivals and concerts when he was a kid, and Chris got his first banjo when he was 11. At the age of 25, he battled osteosarcoma, bone cancer in the knee, and briefly lost the ability to play banjo due to neuropathy from chemo. Chris has performed with Alecia Nugent, Darrell Webb Band, Marty Raybon, and Full Circle, Nothin’ Fancy, Ken Mellons, Sideline, David Grier Band, Steve Thomas, Carrie Hassler, Appalachian Road Show, Brothers Osborne, Dierks Bentley, and The Cleverlys. Some of his early influences are Flatt and Scruggs, JD Crowe, Jim Mills, Terry Baucom, Lonesome River Band, and Blue Highway. Currently, Chris lives in the Nashville area and works for HCA Healthcare in Human Resources.
Jacob Eller, bass player, comes from a musical family and his early experiences included playing bass for the Galax area Bluegrass band No Speed Limit, honing the skills that he brought to bear later with The Church Sisters and with mandolin superstar Sierra Hull. Jacob is also the band leader and bass player for Highlands Fellowship Church and plays for a few of his favorite southwest Virginia singer-songwriters.
Patton Wages is currently on leave from the band. He suffered a stroke in early 2021, right after the band recorded their album released that year. Please continue to keep Patton in your prayers so he can continue to recover. Patton was raised in Stockbridge, Georgia, and began playing banjo at age 9. He was first influenced by Earl Scruggs, J.D. Crowe, Terry Baucom, and Scott Vestal, who Patton met at Everett’s Music Barn in Suwanee, Georgia shortly after his stint with Doyle Lawson. Patton then worked with the Georgia-based group Lost Horizon, playing festivals around the southeast and making numerous appearances on national television. Patton then spent four years in Nashville, sharing the stage with Marty Raybon and working at the Gibson Guitar Corp. OAI Division. He now lives in Mountain Rest, SC. Patton’s interests include his son, Brayden, music, and whatever comes up to pass the time.
Unspoken Tradition – Saturday only
Mountain Home Recording Artist Unspoken Tradition is about new, original Bluegrass. Inspired by their own influences and the roots of traditional and newgrass music, this North Carolina based quintet brings a sound that is both impassioned and nostalgic, hard-driving and sincere. Their 2020-21 singles have all charted in the Bluegrass Today top 20 including “California” #1 “Irons in the Fire” #2 and “Carolina and Tennessee” #4.
Their 2019 release from Mountain Home Music Company, Myths We Tell Our Young, debuted at #5 on the Billboard Bluegrass charts and has seen 5 top-charting radio singles, including a #1 spot on the Bluegrass Today chart for “Dark Side of the Mountain.” Their material is mostly original and reflects the ever-changing culture of Western and Central North Carolina where they call home. The band has earned a fervent following in the Southeast, selling out shows in Asheville, NC as well as the legendary Station Inn in Nashville, TN. They have also performed twice on the coveted Watson (main stage) at MerleFest. With heavy airplay on Sirius XM’s Bluegrass Junction and ever-growing streaming numbers, Unspoken Tradition is a fast-rising voice of a new generation of roots music artists. Their debut recording, Simple Little Town (2013) saw quick success in radio. Their follow-up release, Miles Between, was featured on the nationally syndicated NPR show The World Cafe. Represented by Advance Artist Support, Unspoken Tradition plays nationwide. Band members include Audie McGinnis,
guitar & vocals; Sav Sankaran, bass & vocals; Tim Gardner, fiddle & vocals; Zane McGinnis, banjo; and Ty Gilpin; mandolin & vocals.
Fast Track – Saturday only
Duane Sparks is from Richmond, Indiana and grew up in a family rich in musical talent coming from both sides. His Daddy was a preacher so he began singing in church at a very young age. He has honed his skills as a guitar player and one of current bluegrass music’s most recognizable voices playing with some highly respected bands. Duane was privileged to be a part of Gerald Evans and Paradise, The All American Bluegrass Band, and more recently with Joe Mullins and The Radio Ramblers. During his tenure with Joe Mullins, he was able to really spread his wings while traveling professionally and even earning five International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) Awards and two SPBGMA Awards for band and band recording projects that he was a part of. Duane was privileged to play on the coveted Grand Ole Opry stage numerous times with the Ramblers as well as tour multiple times in Europe. Duane Sparks has developed a very smooth, distinctive vocal sound in the industry that people love to hear and we are all happy to have him back ON TRACK with FAST TRACK so we can start hearing him again!
Originally from Georgetown, Kentucky, mandolinist Shayne Bartley has had an incredible 30+ year professional career so far and has shared the stage with some of bluegrass music’s most elite pickers and singers. Starting out as a teen performing on guitar with his older brother Rick’s band Newground, the younger Bartley went on to become a polished multi-instrumentalist and vocalist making him a sought-after commodity in the industry. His highly esteemed resume displays his skills on banjo, mandolin, and guitar including stints with The Lost and Found, Don Rigsby and Midnight Call, American Drive, Southern Blend, The Charlie Sizemore Band, Dave Evans, Unlimited Tradition, Rarely Herd, David Peterson and 1946, The Karl Shiflett and Big Country Show, and the list goes on.
The Fiddle Man! Steve Day is highly regarded as one of the top fiddle players in Bluegrass music, having worked with acts such as David Parmley and Cardinal Tradition, Continental Divide, Ronnie Reno, Gary Brewer, and filled in with a who’s who of other artists on the circuit. Steve also played the Grand Ole Opry with Bill Monroe and the Bluegrass Boys. In recent years, Steve has received three SPBGMA “Fiddle Player of the Year” nominations. When he is not fiddlin’ around, Steve teaches music where he lives in Bowling Green with his wife, Diane, and son, Austin, and also tends to his nearby cattle farm.
Dale Perry is a highly respected and extremely talented bluegrass veteran with a resume listing some of the greatest bands ever known to the genre. He came to national notoriety when he joined the Bluegrass Cardinals playing bass and singing bass vocals in the mid-80s. His first appearance on the Grand Ole Opry was as a member of the Bluegrass Cardinals in 1985 and he has had the privilege of performing on the hallowed stage at least a half-dozen times. He went on to play banjo with The Lonesome River Band and also banjo and bass player and bass singer for the legendary Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver from the mid-90s to the late 2000s. For the last several years he has showcased his talents alongside David Parmley in both Continental Divide and Cardinal Tradition. During Dale’s 40-year career, he has been nominated for four Grammy Awards, won seven IBMA awards as both an artist and as a producer, and countless SPBMGA awards. Dale is known for his steady, Scruggs-style banjo playing, and is a premier bass vocalist in the business. When not on the road, Dale enjoys engineering and producing Bluegrass projects at his studio, Lakeside Recording Studio, fishing, and building his new home with his beautiful wife, Kelle.
Sadly, founding member Ron Spears passed away in March. According to Dale Perry, “He fought a long, hard fight and we know that he is keeping the Angel band on its toes.” The band has been fortunate to have Zach Collier to remain with Fast Track full time, following his stint filling in for Ron and they are excited for everyone to get to know him and what a talented addition he is.
Authentic Unlimited – Saturday only
If you enjoy the music of Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver, you are going to love Authentic Unlimited! Three of the band’s founding members were members of the last version of Quicksilver. Doyle only hired the best, and these guys are proof of that. Prepare to be wowed by the musicianship and vocals of these Bluegrass veterans.
John Meador is from East Tennessee. He plays guitar and is one of the lead and harmony vocalists. John says he began singing before he was walking. His father began teaching him to play the guitar when he was 12 years old. John joined his first band (Kentucky Just Us) at the age of 14, along with his younger brother. When he was 16, he was offered a scholarship in music that he completed while he was still in high school. John is married to wife Grace and they have a daughter, Bethany.
Bass player and vocalist Jerry Cole was born in 1974 and raised in Sharps Chapel, Tennessee. He has been around music his entire life. At the age of 6, his father taught him to play guitar. Jerry Lee sang with The Betterway Quartet for nearly 30 years. During Jerry Lee’s practice sessions at home, young Jerry learned to sing lead and harmony. He began touring with Cody Shuler and Pine Mountain Railroad, recording two albums with the band. He later joined Russell Moore and IIIrd Tyme Out where he stayed for three years. In December 2018, Jerry joined Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver where he stayed until Lawson’s retirement in December, 2021. Jerry is also a prolific song writer.
Eli Johnston was born near Branson, Missouri. He was raised in southeastern Kansas. He has two younger brothers, one a musician and the other a police officer. Eli’s grandfather, Joe Riker, bought his first guitar when he was 11. Seeing that his son had a love of music, his dad would drive Eli all over the country, attending festivals. Eli joined his first band, ‘Nothin’ Fancy’ while he was in high school. Later, he became a member of Pine Mountain Railroad. In 2013, Eli joined Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver. During his time there, two of Eli’s songs were recorded by the band including the crowd favorite, “Captain.” Eli is married to wife Keasley and they have two children, Huxley and Boone.
Jesse Brock hails from Kentucky. He grew up in a musically inclined family and began singing at the age of 7. At 8, he learned to play the fiddle but soon decided that he was better suited for the mandolin. His first experience as a band member was with his family. Since then, he has performed with some of the top acts in the industry. His efforts were recognized in 2009 and again in 2015 as he was awarded IBMA Mandolin Player of The Year. Jesse is married to wife Kristine.
Fiddle player Stephen Burwell is originally from Lake Jackson, Texas. He learned to play fiddle when he was 8. In 2014, he moved to North Carolina where he auditioned for Doyle Lawson only a few days after the move. He was made part of Quicksilver on October 1, 2014. He describes Lawson as “the best boss ever” and contributes much of his dedication to the craft to the years spent in Quicksilver. Stephen is also a recording engineer and has a studio located at his home. Stephen is married to wife Haley.
Roving Gambler Band – Saturday only
Roving Gambler is a hard driving, traditional and progressive, Bluegrass group.
Straight from the Arkansas Ozark Hills, The Roving Gambler Band have been entertaining audiences and ourselves for over 30 years. Our driving statement : “If we can make one person forget their troubles for five minutes – our show is a success.”
Walter Shook, lead singer and guitar, started the Roving Gambler Band over 30 years ago with a group of friends devoted to the idea that Bluegrass Music should be fun! The infectious laughter and great music, often spills over into audience participation and we love it! Steve Flory plays mandolin and is the director for the band, tending to bookings and band appointments. Tony Talley plays Dobro for the group and sings baritone. He has a history of picking with great musicians and it shows. Christine Talley plays bass and brings a light to the band with her singing abilities. Mike Gabbard returned to RGB in 2021 and is one of the original members. Mikes ‘banjo style adds a unique traditional sound to the band. Tim Case is a guitar picker extraordinaire and rounds out some of the best musicians to ever put on a Roving Gambler Band show.
Don’t miss our Spring Bluegrass Festival
March 7 – 9, 2024
The Baker Family
Keisler Brothers Band