Category: W

Wagner, Cliff

CLIFF WAGNER

  • From Los Angeles, California. Wagner was born and raised in Mississippi.
  • Attended the Berklee College of Music (Boston).
  • 1999, lived and played bluegrass in New York City.
  • 2000, moved to California.
  • Plays banjo and fiddle, sings lead in his band The Old 97 and writes most of their songs.
  • Band includes Craig Ferguson (guitar), Devitt Feeley (mandolin) and Andrew Paddock (bass.)
  • 2007, released My Native Land album (no label).
  • 2007, appeared on Fox TV’s “The Next Great American Band.”
  • 2008, released Hobo’s Lullaby album (no label).

Wakefield, Frank

FRANK WAKEFIELD

  • From Emory Gap, Tennessee, near Knoxville. Lives in Upstate New York.
  • Full name: Franklin Delano Roosevelt Wakefield.
  • Known for his technical virtuosity on the mandolin. Influenced David Grisman and many other mandolin players. One of the first to play jazz on the instrument.
  • Learned to play music in rural pentecostal “snake-handling” churches around east Tennessee.
  • Grew up on a farm and never went to school. He learned to read and write when he was 28 years old.
  • Hidden talent: he can talk backwards.
  • 1957, at age 19, moved to Dayton, Ohio and met Red Allen. They formed a group called the Blue Ridge Mountain Boys.
  • 1958, worked for a short time with Jimmy Martin.
  • 1958, he and Red Allen formed The Kentuckians.
  • 1959, briefly worked with the Stanley Brothers.
  • 1960, with Red Allen, re-assembled the Kentuckians, this time in Baltimore. Other personnel included banjo players Bill Keith, Don Reno, Bill Emerson, Pete Kuykendall, Eric Weissberg; also fiddlers Chubby Wise, Scott Stoneman, others.
  • 1964-68, joined the Greenbriar Boys. While with the Greenbriar Boys, he was seriously injured in an auto accident, putting him in a coma for more than a month.
  • He has recorded several albums as a duo with Red Allen.
  • 1972, released self titled album (Rounder) and began performing as a solo artist.
  • 1978, released “Frank Wakefield and the Good Old Boys” album (Flying Fish).
  • 1980, released “End of the Rainbow” album (Bay).
  • 1997, released “That Was Now … This is Then” album (Rosewoodl).
  • 2000, released “Midnight on the Mandolin” (Patuxent).
  • 2011, released Tribute to Bill Monroe album (Patuxent).
  • 2013, released Frank Wakefield, Taylor Baker & Friends (Patuxent).

Waldrep, Gary

GARY WALDREP BAND

  • From Kilpatrick, Alabama.
  • Formed in 1998.
  • 1981-1989, Waldrep performed with the Warrior River Boys (plays banjo).
  • 1989, helped form the Sand Mountain Boys.
  • Hosts an annual bluegrass festival on his Alabama farm every year.
  • 2010, released “Road Leading Home” album on Blue Circle Records.

Waldron, Cliff

CLIFF WALDRON

  • From Northern Virginia; originally from Jolo, West Virginia.
  • 1964-66, played with a group called the Page Valley Boys.
  • 1967, began professional musical career with Bill Emerson. Emerson and Waldron recorded several albums for Rebel Records, and was the first to record the Manfred Mann song “Fox on the Run” in a bluegrass style.
  • Worked briefly with The Shenandoah Cutups before forming The New Shades of Grass (1968-74), a group that recorded seven albums for Rebel Records.
  • 1974, went to work for the National Park Service.
  • 1975, became a devout Christian and formed a gospel band.
  • 1985, had severe health problems which resulted in a kidney transplant.
  • 1996, retired from the National Park Service and returned to playing bluegrass music.
  • 2001, recorded a gospel album with Paul Williams called “Higher Ground.”

Walker, Bradley

BRADLEY WALKER

  • From Athens, Alabama.
  • Confined to a wheel chair since childhood, he was born with Muscular Dystrophy.
  • Began singing as a child. At age 3, attended an Oak Ridge Boys concert and backstage, sang “Elvira” with them. They were so impressed they invited him to sing on the Jerry Lewis Labor Day telethon, and he has appeared and performed on that annual broadcast many times.
  • 1996, graduated from high school and fell in love with bluegrass
  • 1998, formed a band called the Trinity Mountain Boys.
  • 2001, joined Lost Horizon, an Atlanta-based group, as their lead singer.
  • 2002, first appeared on the Grand Ole Opry as a guest of Third Tyme Out.
  • 2006, released Highway Of Dreams album (Rounder), produced by Carl Jackson.
  • 2007, won IBMA Award for Male Vocalist of the Year.
  • 2008, his video for the song “A Little Change” reached #1 on CMT.

Walker, Cory and Jarrod

CORY AND JARROD WALKER

  • From Lithia, Florida (near Tampa)
  • They are brothers who began performing together in their teens. Cory plays banjo, guitar and resonator guitar, Jarrod plays mandolin. Their brother Tyler, plays guitar. Ages (June 2006): Cory, age 16; Jarrod, age 14; Tyler, age 10.
  • 2003, Cory appeared on the IBMA Awards Show with the “Young American Bluegrass Idols.”
  • 2004, appeared with Keith Urban on a CBS TV special.
  • 2005, appeared on the IBMA’s “Kids on Bluegrass” video and were part of the band “Juvenescence” that performed on the IBMA’s Fanfest stage.
  • 2005-6, appeared on the National Wild Turkey Federation’s Award ceremony, opening for Alison Krauss & Union Station and Diamond Rio.
  • Perform regularly with the “Bluegrass Parlor Band with Cory and Jarrod Walker” in Florida.
  • 2007, Cory joined Sierra Hull and Highway 111, playing banjo.
  • 2007, released New Branches album (no label).
  • 2012, Jarrod joined Missy Raines and the New Hip, playing mandolin and guitar.
  • 2014, Cory worked with Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder, replacing Justin Moses.
  • 2015, Jarrod joined The Claire Lynch Band, playing mandolin.
  • 2015, Cory and Jarrod joined Bradford Lee Folk and the Bluegrass Playboys.

Wallace, Larry

LARRY WALLACE (THE LARRY WALLACE BAND)

  • From Starkville, Mississippi
  • Wallace played banjo with Jimmy Martin’s Sunny Mountain Boys for 10 years (1990-2000)
  • 2002, formed the Larry Wallace Band and performed at the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville.
  • 2007, released Sunny Mountain Banjo album (Gusto).
  • 2007, released “The Larry Wallace Band with Jim Brock” album on Cedar Creek Records.

Wallace, Matt

MATT WALLACE

  • From Knoxville, Tennessee.
  • Began playing bass at age 10.
  • Has played bass with David Parmley and Continental Divide, Audie Blaylock and Redline, Pine Mountain Railroad, and Paul Williams and The Victory Trio.
  • 2013, joined the Mark Newton and Steve Thomas band.
  • 2014, joined Terry Baucom’s band The Dukes of Drive.
  • 2014, released solo project For a Season (Pinecastle).

Waller, Randy

RANDY WALLER

  • From Washington, D.C. Lives in Richmond, Virginia.
  • Son of Charlie Waller (Country Gentlemen). When Randy was four years old, his father made a promise to give him his famed guitar, a promise which was kept on Christmas Day, 2002.
  • 2003, joined his dad in the Country Gentlemen and has continued leading his own version of the band after Charlie’s death in 2004.
  • 2004, released first solo project Randy Waller (no label).
  • 2006, released Keeper of the Flame album (no label) by Randy Waller and the Country Gentlemen.
  • 2011, released One Mile East of Hazel Green album (no label) by Randy Waller and the Country Gentlemen.

Walsh, Joe K.

JOE K. WALSH

  • From Portland, Maine.
  • A mandolinist who has worked with The Gibson Brothers, Joy Kills Sorrow, Mr. Sun, Jonathan Edwards, Darol Anger, Scott Nygaard and others.
  • He is a mandolin instructor at the Berklee School of Music in Boston.
  • 2016, released first solo project “Borderland” (no label).

Warburton, Marty

MARTY WARBURTON

  • From Las Vegas, Nevada.
  • Plays banjo and guitar. Was a member of Dry & Dusty (with Butch Baldassari) and Sagegrass.
  • Former president of the Southern Nevada Bluegrass Music Society; also hosted a radio program on KNPR, Las Vegas.
  • 1996, the Marty Warburton band won the Pizza Hut International Bluegrass Showdown in Louisville.
  • 1996, recorded first album Headin’ Home (Pinecastle).
  • 2016, formed a band called Home Girls featuring his daughters.
  • He is well-known as one of the top bluegrass festival emcees in the Southwest.

Ward, Evan

EVAN WARD

  • From Fountain City, Indiana.
  • Began playing banjo at age 11.
  • 2000, joined first band at age 12, an Ohio group called Simple Tymes.
  • 2001, age 13, joined Gerald Evans and Paradise.
  • 2003, recorded first album of banjo instrumentals. Also performed on the Grand Ole Opry.
  • 2004, played dates in a band called “Higher Crossing” with Dennis Crouch, Ray Craft, Randy Kohrs and Aubrey Haynie.
  • 1005, worked with Don Rigsby and Midnight Call.
  • 2007, joined Audie Blaylock and Redline.
  • 2009, left Blaylock’s band to focus on his education at Vanderbilt University.

Warner, Chris

CHRIS WARNER

  • From Red Lion, Pennsylvania.
  • 1967-1969, played banjo with Jimmy Martin’s Sunny Mountain Boys. Also played on Jimmy’s 1978 album “Greatest Bluegrass Hits.”
  • 1969, had his own regional band and filled in with Bob Paisley, Seldom Scene, Hot Mudd Family, Bill Harrell, Jim and Jesse, others.
  • 1974, opened “Warner String Works” repairing and building string instruments; played banjo with the Carroll County Ramblers.
  • 1980, played mandolin with Tom Adams and the Double Eagle Band. A year later, played banjo while Tom played guitar.
  • 1985-1989, returned to play with Jimmy Martin and the Sunny Mountain Boys.
  • 1989, released “Chris Warner and Friends” album (Webco).
  • 1989, closed Warner String Works and began filling in with bands like Chief Powhatan, Rhonda Vincent, Johnson Mountain Boys and Red Allen. Also began working for Campbell’s Music Service in York, PA as a luthier and in-house repairman.
  • 2003, after a 4-year hiatus, returned to play with Audie Blaylock and Redline, also briefly with Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver.
  • 2009, joined Wayne Taylor and Appaloosa.
  • 2009, released solo project Goin’ to the Dance (Patuxent)

Warren, Johnny and Charlie Cushman

JOHNNY WARREN AND CHARLIE CUSHMAN

  • From Nashville, Tennessee.
  • Warren (fiddle) is the son of former Foggy Mountain Boy Paul Warren. Cushman (banjo) is a celebrated banjo player who has worked primarily as a studio musician in Nashville. In 2013, both of them became members of the Earls of Leicester.
  • 2010, released A Tribute to Fiddlin’ Paul Warren album (no label).
  • 2011, released A Tribute to Fiddlin’ Paul Warren, Vol. 2 album (no label).
  • 2015, released Purely Instrumental album (no label).
  • 2016, Cushman won the IBMA Award for Banjo Player of the Year.

Warren, Paul

PAUL WARREN

  • From Hickman County, Tennessee.
  • 1938, began playing fiddle professionally with Johnny Wright and His Tennessee Hillbillies.
  • 1942, joined the Army and during WWII, spent two years in a German POW camp.
  • 1946, rejoined Johnny Wright, now with “Johnny and Jack” until 1953. Also worked with country singer Kitty Wells.
  • 1954, replaced Benny Martin as fiddle player with Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs until their breakup in 1968.
  • 1968, worked with Lester Flatt and the Nashville Grass until his (Warren’s) death in 1978. Flatt died in 1979.
  • Has been called “America’s Greatest Breakdown Fiddler.”
  • 2015, was inducted into the International Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame.

Wasson, Ricky

RICKY WASSON

  • From Clay City, Kentucky.
  • Began playing bluegrass when he was four years old. He says that he never knew there was any other kind of music until he was 10.
  • 1984, formed a band called Southern Blend.
  • Owns a music store in Clay City.
  • Filled in as guitar player in Alison Krauss’ band for a short time.
  • 1996, released first CD “Songs from the Old Country Church.”
  • 1998, joined J.D. Crowe and the New South, singing lead.
  • 2008, released solo project From The Heart & Soul (Rural Rhythm).
  • 2012, formed a new band called American Drive with Dwight McCall and other former members of The New South (after J.D. Crowe retired).
  • 2016, released solo project “Croweology” (Truegrass Entertainment) and formed the Ricky Wasson Band.

Watkins, Allen

ALLEN WATKINS

  • From Alabama.
  • 1976, formed the Homemade String Band at age 16. Won the North Alabama Banjo Championship.
  • 1978, joined the Front Porch String Band and performed on their landmark debut album (1980).
  • Has also worked with the Lonesome River Band, Mark Johnson and Clawgrass, Valerie Smith and Liberty Pike.
  • 2002, formed his own group, The Allen Watkins Band with his wife Anne. Has also performed with his wife in a group called The Other Guise.

Watson, Doc

DOC WATSON

  • From Deep Gap, North Carolina.
  • One of America’s best known folk singers and flat-pick guitarists.
  • Real name: Arthel Lane Watson.
  • 1960, he was “discovered” by folklorist Ralph Rinzler.
  • Was born with a defect in the main vessels that carry blood to the eyes, causing him to permanently lose his vision as a small child.
  • Even though he was blind, he was able to perform tasks that seemed almost impossible without vision. For example, he completely wired his house for electricity. All of the wiring was passed by the county building inspector and the feat was written up in an electrical journal.
  • 1953-1962, played with a North Carolina group called “Jack Williams and the Country Gentlemen.”
  • Doc’s first bluegrass recording: a 1965 album of instrumentals with Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs.
  • For more than 25 years, Doc traveled and performed with his son Merle. Merle was killed in a tractor accident on the Watson farm in 1985.
  • After Merle’s death, guitarist Jack Lawrence served as Doc’s right-hand man on stage and on the road.
  • 1965, performed at the first bluegrass festival (Carlton Haney’s Fincastle, VA festival).
  • September, 1997, received the National Medal of Arts from President and Mrs. Clinton at the White House.
  • 2000, was inducted into the IBMA’s Hall of Fame.
  • He recorded more than 50 albums and won seven Grammies. In 2004, he was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by NARAS.
  • 2003, recorded and performed with Earl Scruggs and Ricky Skaggs as one of “The Three Pickers.”
  • 2012, died after a long illness.
  • 2012, was posthumously awarded the IBMA Award for Guitar Player of the Year.

RECOMMENDED ALBUMS:

Watson, Jim

JIM WATSON

  • From North Carolina.
  • A founding member of the Red Clay Ramblers.
  • 1988, joined Robin and Linda Williams and Their Fine Group, playing bass.
  • Also performs with a group called Pinky LaCrosse and Duke Wyoming, and with a bluegrass band called the Green Level Entertainers.

Wayfaring Strangers, The

THE WAYFARING STRANGERS

  • From the New York/New England area.
  • An eclectic group featuring Matt Glaser, Andy Statman, Tony Trischka, John McGann and Jim Whitney.
  • A “genre-bending group” combining elements of jazz, bluegrass, folk, Klezmer, Celtic and chamber music.
  • 2001, released first album with guests Rhonda Vincent, Ralph Stanley, Tim O’Brien, Laurie Lewis, others.

We Banjo 3

WE BANJO 3

  • From Galway, Ireland.
  • Formed in 2011 by two sets of brothers: Enda Scahil (banjo) and Fergal Scahil (banjo, fiddle, viola, dobro, percussion, guitar, mandolin); and brothers Martin Howley (banjo, mandolin) and David Howley (lead vocals, guitar).
  • They call their music “Celtgrass.”
  • Collectively, they have won numerous All-Ireland music awards: Martin holding 7, Enda with 4, while Fergal and David hold All Ireland titles on Banjo, Fiddle, Bodhran and Guitar.
  • 2012, released Roots of the Banjo Tree album (no label).
  • 2014, released Gather the Good album (no label).
  • 2015, released Live in Galway album (no label).
  • 2016, released Happiness album (no label).
  • 2016, released String Theory album (no label).
  • 2016, performed for President Barack Obama in Washington D.C.
  • 2018, released Haven album (no label).
  • 2019, released Roots to Rise Live (no label), recorded live at the Ark in Ann Arbor, Michigan USA.

Weary Hearts

WEARY HEARTS

  • From Scottsdale, Arizona.
  • Formed in 1986 by Ron Block (banjo), Eric Uglum (guitar/mandolin), Butch Baldassari (mandolin) and Mike Bub (bass). In 1988, Chris Jones (guitar) replaced Uglum.
  • 1987, released “Faith Is the Answer” album (Cactus).
  • 1989, released By Heart album (Flying Fish).
  • Moved to Nashville in 1989, but disbanded shortly thereafter.
  • 2003, Block, Bub, Baldassari and Jones reunited for several Weary Hearts performances.
  • Where are they now? As of 2018 … Ron Block has been working with Alison Krauss since 1992, Mike Bub has worked with numerous Nashville bands, including a thirteen-year stint with Del McCoury (winning IBMA’s Bass Player of the Year award five times), Butch Baldassari formed the Nashville Mandolin Ensemble (and passed away from brain cancer in 2009), Chris Jones worked with Special Consensus, Lynn Morris and formed his own band The Night Drivers. He also is a DJ for Sirius/XM satellite radio and writes a humor column for Bluegrass Today. Eric Uglum has a recording studio in Southern California and has been a member of several bands including Copperline, Lost Highway and the Vintage Martins.

Webb, Darrell

DARRELL WEBB

  • From Knoxville, Tennessee.
  • 1993, began his pro career at age 19 playing mandolin with the Lonesome River Band (replacing Dan Tyminski).
  • 1997, joined J.D. Crowe and the New South.
  • 1999, released first solo project “Webbsite.”
  • 2000, joined a group called New Reflections, then returned to work a second time with J.D. Crowe’s New South.
  • 2001, formed a new band called Wildfire with New South bandmates Phil Leadbetter, Robert Hale and Barry Crabtree.
  • 2003, performed on Dolly Parton’s “Halos and Horns” project.
  • 2005, released solo project Behind the Scenes (Lonesome Day).
  • 2007, joined Rhonda Vincent and the Rage, playing guitar (replaced Josh Williams).
  • 2008, joined Michael Cleveland and Flamekeeper, playing guitar.
  • 2009, formed The Darrell Webb Band.
  • 2010, released Bloodline album (Rural Rhythm).
  • 2012, released Breaking Down the Barriers album (Rural Rhythm).
  • 2013, was an original member of the group Sideline.
  • 2014, joined a part-time band called Mountain Jacks, the pre-show band for the Lumberjack Feud dinner theatre in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee four nights a week.
  • 2014, released Dream Big album (Mountain Fever) with several guest artists celebrating his 20th year as a professional musician.
  • 2014, left Sideline. His Darrell Webb band became regulars at the Ole Smokey Distillery in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.
  • 2017, released Lovers Leap album (Mountain Fever).
  • 2018, disbanded his Darrell Webb band to pursue a solo career.
  • 2018, teamed up with Barry Abernathy (banjo) to form a new band called Appalachian Road Show.

Webb, Tommy

TOMMY WEBB

  • From Langley, Kentucky (Floyd County).
  • Sings lead and tenor vocals, plays guitar and clawhammer banjo.
  • Began performing in high school with The Pine Top Ramblers. Other bands: South Creek, Onlyne, Clyde Bowling and the Southern Bluegrass Boys.
  • 2005, formed his own band and released Now That You Are Gone album (Kindred).
  • 2007, released Eastern Kentucky album (Kindred).
  • 2009, released Heartland album (Rural Rhythm).

Weissberg, Eric

ERIC WEISSBERG

    • From New York City.
    • Began performing as a 10-year-old on radio station WNYC. He plays all the bluegrass instruments including Dobro™ and steel guitar.
    • Best known as the banjo player who (with guitarist Steve Mandel of the Garrett Mountain Boys in New York) recorded the instrumental “Dueling Banjos” for the hit movie Deliverance (1973). The tune was originally called “Feuding Banjos” and was written by Arthur Smith and Don Reno in 1955. It was covered by The Dillards as “Duelin’ Banjos” in 1963 and subsequently recorded by Weissberg and Mandel for the movie soundtrack.
    • Studied string bass at the famous Julliard School of Music. Worked as a studio musician and performed with The Tarriers and the Greenbriar Boys. Has also performed on double bass with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra.
    • 1963, recorded a classic banjo duet album with Marshall Brickman (a banjo player who later collaborated with Woody Allen on many films) in the 1960’s called “New Dimensions in Banjo and Bluegrass” which helped to popularize melodic style (a.k.a. Keith-style or chromatic-style) banjo. In 1973, the album was released again by Warner Brothers as Dueling Banjos: From The Original Soundtrack “Deliverance” although Dueling Banjos was not included on the original album.
    • 1995, formed a band with Jim Rooney and Bill Keith called The New Blue Velvet Band.
    • 1998, began touring as a member of Art Garfunkel’s band, playing guitar.
    • 2009, joined the Aaron Copland School of Music (at Queens College) orchestra and chorus.
    • 2020, died at the age of 80.

Weisberger, Jon

JON WEISBERGER

  • From Nashville. Grew up in Yellow Springs, Ohio.
  • Plays bass (currently with Chris Jones and the Night Drivers) and has released several solo projects but is probably best known as a writer of songs and liner notes for albums by other well-known bluegrass artists.
  • Has played bass with numerous bands: Union Springs, The Wildwood Valley Boys, Larry Cordle and Lonesome Standard Time, Sally Jones, The Lonesome Heirs (with Andy Falco, Jeremy Garrett and Ned Luberecki) and Chris Jones and the Night Drivers to name a few.
  • 2000, won the IBMA Award for Print Media Personality of the Year.
  • 2005, won the Charlie Lamb Award For Excellence In Country Music Journalism.
  • For many years, produced a radio program “Handpicked with Del McCoury” for the Sirius/XM Satellite Radio Network Bluegrass channel.
  • 2008, released solo project “If This Road Could Talk” album featuring his own compositions performed by guest artists.
  • 2012, won the IBMA’s first award for Songwriter of the Year.
  • 2013, was elected Chairman of the Board of the IBMA.
  • 2014, released solo project I’ve Been Mostly Awake (no label) album featuring his original songs performed by guest artists. “I’ve Been Mostly Awake” is a tongue-in-cheek interpretation of the acronym IBMA.
  • 2019, left Chris Jones and the Night Drivers after 17 years to focus on his songwriting and to work with the A&R team at Mountain Home Music. He is also teaching bass at East Tennessee State University.

Welch, Gillian

GILLIAN WELCH (AND DAVID RAWLINGS)

  • From New York City; grew up in West Los Angeles; moved to Nashville in 1992.
  • Her parents were writers for the Carol Burnett TV series.
  • 1988, attended Berklee College of Music in Boston.
  • While in Boston, she met her singing and writing partner, David Rawlings. She also performs in David’s band The David Rawlings Machine.
  • She is known for her songwriting talent. Her songs have been recorded by Emmylou Harris, Trisha Yearwood, Miranda Lambert, Jimmy Buffet, the Nashville Bluegrass Band, Tim and Mollie O’Brien, Valerie Smith, many other artists.
  • 1996, released Revival album (Acony), produced by T. Bone Burnett.
  • 2000, she acted and performed in the movie “O Brother, Where Art Thou,” starring George Clooney.
  • 2001, her duet with Alison Krauss “I’ll Fly Away” (from the O’ Brother soundtrack) won the IBMA award for Gospel Recorded Performance of the Year.
  • 2001, released Time (The Revelator) album (Acony).
  • 2011, released The Harrow & The Harvest album (Acony).

Welty, Gregg

GREGG WELTY

  • From Raleigh, North Carolina. Grew up in Western New York; lives in Pittsburgh, PA.
  • He is a banjo player, son of Eric Welty, 1993 Bluegrass Banjo National Champion.
  • He has won more state banjo championships than any other banjo player.
  • 2013-2014, played banjo with Gold Heart.
  • 2014-2015, worked with The Allegheny Drifters.
  • 2015, released Memoir album (no label).
  • 2017, joined Blue Mafia.
  • 2017, formed his own band South 79.
  • 2018, released “Community” album (no label) featuring over 50 musicians, recorded in over 30 locations. Vocalists on the album include Shawn Lane, Josh Shilling, Summer Brooke McMahan, Buddy Robertson and David Mayfield.

Werner, Missy

MISSY WERNER

  • From Hamilton, Ohio (near Cincinnati)
  • Plays mandolin and leads The Missy Werner Band.
  • 1990’s, had a band called Next in Line.
  • Performs at a restaurant called The Comet (with the Comet Bluegrass All Stars) in Northside Ohio.
  • Her day job: She’s an accountant.
  • 2009, released a solo album “Drifting and Dreaming” produced by Dwight McCall with guests Ron Stewart, Alan Bibey, Tim Stafford, Randy Kohrs, Ricky Wasson & Harold Nixon.
  • 2011, released Three Kinds of Lonesome album (no label).
  • 2014, released Turn This Heart Around album (no label).

Westwend

WESTWEND

  • From Knoxville, Tennessee.
  • A duo featuring Wendy Crowe (vocals) and Jonathan Maness (vocals, guitar and mandolin).
  • Jonathan and Wendy were married in 2013.
  • Their name Westwend combines their names: West was derived from Jonathan’s middle name Wesley and Wend from Wendy.
  • Crowe began singing professionally at Dollywood in 1999. She has recorded a solo project titled “The Way I Am” (2013).
  • Maness has previously worked with the Dixie Beeliners, Valerie Smith and Liberty Pike. He has also recorded a solo project “Time Love and Money” (2013).
  • 2014, released “Linger for a While” album featuring many of their original songs.

Wernick, Peter

PETER WERNICK

  • From New York City. Lives in Niwot, Colorado.
  • Known as “Dr. Banjo” because of a best-selling banjo instruction book he authored (over 200,000 copies sold).
  • Has an earned doctorate from Columbia University in sociology.
  • While at Columbia University, he performed with a band called the Orange Mountain Boys.
  • 1969, moved west and joined High Country, a San Francisco-based bluegrass band. Also worked briefly with Vern Williams and Ray Park.
  • 1970-1975, moved to Ithica, New York to complete his Ph.D. work at Cornell University. Also performed with Country Cooking with Tony Trischka and future wife Joan (known as Nondi Leonard at the time).
  • 1976, moved to Colorado. There he met up with Charles Sawtelle and formed a band called the Drifting Ramblers, or the Rambling Drifters (they couldn’t make up their mind.)
  • 1977, released “Dr. Banjo Steps Out” album (Flying Fish).
  • 1978, formed Hot Rize, a very popular band which won the very first IBMA award for Entertainer of the Year in 1990. The group also broke up in 1990.
  • With “Red Knuckles and the Trailblazers” (a country-western band that was actually Hot Rize in disguise), Peter played the steel guitar as “Waldo Otto”.
  • 1985, created one of the first bluegrass instructional videos Beginning Bluegrass Banjo. He has since created 10 instructional videos.
  • 1986, became the IBMA’s first president (stepped down in 2001 due to new term limits.)
  • Conducts “banjo camps” for musicians who want to improve their technique on the banjo.
  • 1989, he was a passenger on United Airlines Flight 232—a DC-10 that crashed in Sioux City, Iowa. While his banjo and steel guitar were damaged in the crash, he and his family survived and he was back performing with Hot Rize two days later.
  • An outspoken advocate of atheism, he served as president of the “Family of Humanists” and co-authored a book titled Atheism for Kids.
  • 1992, formed The Live Five, playing what Pete called “Virtual Bluegrass.” The group’s name was later changed to Pete Wernick and Flexigrass.
  • 1993, released On a Roll album (Sugar Hill Records).
  • 2000, created his Dr. Banjo website, offering instructional content.
  • 2004, a song from his album “Dr. Banjo Steps Out” titled “Big Rock in the Road” was played on the planet of Mars to “wake up” NASA’s landing craft Spirit Rover on February 27, making this the first bluegrass tune to be heard on another planet.
  • 2004, hosted a show on XM Satellite Radio.
  • 2005, performed with Earl Scruggs, Steve Martin and other banjo players on the David Letterman show.
  • 2009, began performing with a Colorado-based band called Long Road Home.
  • 2010, received a Distinguished Achievement Award from the IBMA.
  • 2010, launched “The Wernick Method” which trains teachers to lead successful bluegrass jam sessions.
  • 2014, began touring with a rejuvenated Hot Rize in support of their new album When I’m Free.

Whites, The

THE WHITES

  • From Wichita Falls, Texas. Moved to Nashville in 1971.
  • 1976, began performing in Fort Smith, Arkansas as a family band as Buck White and the Down Homers (later changed to Buck White and the Down Home Folks.) Included Buck and Pat White and their young daughters Cheryl and Sharon.
  • Big break: 1979, opened for Emmylou Harris on her “Blue Kentucky Girl” album tour. Led to a recording contract with Capitol Records.
  • 1979, changed their name to The Whites.
  • 1981, Sharon White married Ricky Skaggs.
  • 1984, joined the Grand Ole Opry.
  • 1999, signed with Ricky Skaggs’ Ceili Records label.
  • 2000, appeared in the movie “O Brother, Where Art Thou” starring George Clooney.
  • 2001, released Lifetime in the Making album (Ceili).
  • 2007, released Salt Of The Earth album (Skaggs Family).
  • 2008, were inducted into the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame.

White, Clarence

CLARENCE WHITE (See also THE KENTUCKY COLONELS)

  • From Los Angeles (Burbank), California (although he was born in Lewiston, Maine).
  • He began playing the guitar at age 5. Started out playing the ukelele until his hands were big enough to handle a guitar.
  • He and his brothers Roland and Eric formed a band called The Country Boys, appearing regularly on a popular local Los Angeles country music TV show. That group became The Kentucky Colonels. They recorded one album for World Pacific and appeared on the Andy Griffith TV show (before the Dillards did).
  • 1967, after the Kentucky Colonels disbanded, he formed a country-rock band called Nashville West. He and bandmate Gene Parsons invented a device called the Parsons/White Stringbender (or B-Bender) which allows an electric guitar string to “bend” while playing, imitating the sound of a pedal steel guitar. Marty Stuart owns the original guitar that Clarence played during that period.
  • 1968, he joined the Byrds, replacing Gram Parsons.
  • 1973, joined Muleskinner with Richard Greene, David Grisman, Bill Keith and Peter Rowan.
  • 1973, reunited with Roland and Eric White for two tours of Europe as The New Kentucky Colonels. The banjo spot in the group was Herb Pederson and Alan Munde.
  • 1973, he died at the age of 29 after being struck by a drunk driver.
  • His style of flat-picking the guitar influenced a generation of bluegrass musicians including Tony Rice, Dan Crary, Norman Blake, David Grier and many others. He is also credited with helping to shape the sound of country-rock music.
  • Tony Rice owns his 1935 Martin D-28 guitar.
  • 2000, an album was released by Sierra Records by Clarence White called 33 Acoustic Guitar Instrumentals. The recordings were made on a home tape recorder in 1962.
  • 2016, he was inducted into the Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame.

White, Jeff

JEFF WHITE

  • From Syracuse, NY; grew up in Northern Indiana.
  • A member of Vince Gill’s band since 1992.
  • First band: worked with David and Melody Johnson; won the KFC band contest in 1981.
  • Former member of Alison Krauss and Union Station and Weary Hearts. He has also toured with Tim O’Brien, Lyle Lovett, Patty Loveless and other artists.
  • 1996, released The White Album (Rounder).
  • 1998, performed with Tim O’Brien, Charlie Cushman, Mark Schatz and Jerry Douglas in a Nashville group called The Flattheads.
  • 1999, released The Broken Road album (Rounder).
  • 2001, worked with the Dan Tyminski Band.
  • 2002, recorded and toured with the Chieftains.
  • Has produced several albums for fiddler Michael Cleveland.
  • His songwriting credits include songs recorded by Vince Gill, Alison Krauss, Dan Tyminski, Dale Ann Bradley and other artists.
  • 2015, began performing with the Earls of Leicester, singing tenor and playing mandolin.
  • 2016, released solo project “Right Beside You” (no label).

White, Roland

ROLAND WHITE

  • From Maine. Grew up in California. Lives in Nashville.
  • First band: The Country Boys with his brothers Clarence and Eric (began in Maine, continued in California.)
  • 1956, formed the Kentucky Colonels with brothers Clarence and Eric, and Billy Ray Lathum.
  • 1967, joined Bill Monroe and The Blue Grass Boys, playing guitar.
  • 1969, joined Lester Flatt and the Nashville Grass.
  • 1973, re-joined brothers Eric and Clarence to form the New Kentucky Colonels (with Herb Pederson and Alan Munde.)
  • 1974, joined the Country Gazette.
  • 1977, released solo project I Wasn’t Born to Rock ‘N Roll album (Ridge Runner).
  • 1987, joined the Nashville Bluegrass Band.
  • 1994, released solo project Trying To Get To You (Sugar Hill).
  • 2001, left the Nashville Bluegrass Band to perform with his wife Diane Bouska as The Roland White Band.
  • 2002, released Jelly on My Tofu album (Copper Creek).
  • 2014, released Straight-Ahead Bluegrass album (no label).
  • 2017, was inducted into the Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame. His brother Clarence was inducted the year before (2016).
  • 2019, released Roland White and Friends album (Mountain Home).

Whitewater

WHITEWATER

  • From Nashville.
  • Formed in 1995 by guitarist Brad Davis who was working with Marty Stuart at the time.
  • They appeared with Bill Monroe on the Grand Ole Opry.
  • They had a monthly radio show on WSM called “White Water Wednesday.”
  • 1997, released “No Gold on the Highway” which included special guests Sam Bush and Marty Stuart.

White, Tim

TIM WHITE

  • From Blountville, Tennessee. Originally from Roanoke, Virginia.
  • A graphic artist by trade. Among his accomplishments: the painting of a huge mural in Bristol, Tennessee designating Bristol as “The Birthplace of Country Music. He also designed and painted a new logo for the side of Ralph Stanley’s bus.
  • Has led several regional bands including Troublesome Hollow and The Beagles.
  • He is founder of the VW Boys, a group that combines bluegrass with comedy and magic.
  • 2006, executive coordinator and host of “Song of the Mountains,” a syndicated TV show which airs weekly on many PBS stations.
  • He is host of a 2 hour syndicated bluegrass and old-time country radio show which airs on several stations from Georgia to North Dakota.
  • Serves as president of the ACMA (Appalachian Cultural Music Association) dedicated to the preservation of the music and culture of the Appalachian region.
  • Helped establish the Mountain Music Museum in Bristol, Virginia and hosts a local two hour live program from there called “The Pickin Porch”.

Whitley, Keith

KEITH WHITLEY

  • From Sandy Hook, Kentucky.
  • 1970, at age 15, began his professional musical career when he and his friend Ricky Skaggs worked with Ralph Stanley and the Clinch Mountain Boys. That same year, Keith and Ricky recorded a duet album.
  • 1973, worked with Jimmy Gaudreau in a short-lived band called “The Country Store.”
  • 1975, returned to Ralph Stanley’s Clinch Mountain Boys as lead singer and guitarist.
  • 1981, worked with J.D. Crowe and the New South.
  • Embarked on solo career in 1985; hit the charts with his RCA single, “Miami, My Amy” in 1986.
  • Best known for his hit songs “When You Say Nothing At All,” “Don’t Close Your Eyes,” and “I’m No Stranger to the Rain.”
  • Died on May 9, 1989 in Nashville of alcohol poisoning. He was 34 years old.

Whitstein Brothers, The

THE WHITSTEIN BROTHERS

  • From Colfax, Louisiana.
  • A brothers duet featuring Robert (guitar) and Charles (mandolin) Whitstein.
  • Their style is reminiscent of the Louvin Brothers, the Delmore Brothers, and the Blue Sky Boys.
  • 1964-65, worked off and on with Faron Young and Porter Wagoner.
  • 1969, recorded their first album Sing Gospel Songs of the Louvin Brothers (later reissued by Rounder). They spelled their name “Whitstine” at the time.
  • Were absent from the music scene until the mid-1980’s when they began performing and recording again.
  • Called “the second-coming of the Louvin Brothers” by Charlie Louvin.
  • 1985, released Rose of My Heart (Rounder).
  • 1987, released Trouble Ain’t Nothin’ But the Blues (Rounder)
  • 1989, released Old Time Duets (Rounder).
  • Recorded three albums before breaking up in 1991. Reunited briefly in 1993.
  • 1996, released Sweet Harmony (Rounder).
  • Charles performed occasionally with Charlie Louvin, recreating the Louvin Brothers sound.
  • Robert Whitstein died in 2001.
  • 2003, Charles joined Jesse McReynolds and the Virginia Boys.

Wicentowski, Jerry

JERRY WICENTOWSKI

  • From Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Grew up in New York City.
  • A singer, guitarist and orthodox Jew, his group Lucky Break performs bluegrass interpretations of Hebrew liturgical music, along with traditional bluegrass and folk songs.
  • His name is pronouned “Wiz-entowski.”
  • He is a certified financial planner.
  • 1998, released first album “Lucky Break” (Wizgrass) featuring Byron Berline, Tim O’Brien, Andy Statman, Scott Vestal and other musicians.
  • 2018, released “Thanks Mac” album (no label), a tribute to the music of Mac Wiseman.

 

Wilborn, Marshall

MARSHALL WILBORN

  • Originally from Austin, Texas.
  • Best known as one of bluegrass music’s top bass players, although his first instrument is banjo.
  • 1982, joined Whetstone Run. It was then that he met Lynn Morris; they eventually married and formed a partnership.
  • Has also worked with Jimmy Martin and the Johnson Mountain Boys.
  • 1988, co-founded and played bass for The Lynn Morris band. The group had to disband following Lynn Morris’ stroke in 2003.
  • 1998, he was voted Bass Player of the Year by Bluegrass Now Magazine’s Fan’s Choice awards.
  • 1999, released an album of bass instrumentals accompanied by banjo called Root 5 (Pinecastle)..
  • 2006, formed a new band with Dudley Connell, Tom Adams, David McLaughlin and Sally Love called Seneca Rocks.
  • 2007, joined Michael Cleveland and Flamekeeper.
  • 2011, won his third consecutive IBMA award for Bass Player of the Year (also won in 2009 and 2010).
  • 2011, left Michael Cleveland and Flamekeeper. Currently performs with Springfield Exit.

Wild and Blue

WILD AND BLUE

  • From White House, Tennessee.
  • Formed in 1988 by David Harvey and his two sisters, Jan Harvey and Jill Snider.
  • David Harvey (mandolin) formerly worked with Red Allen, The Reasonable Band (from Colorado) and Larry Sparks. In 1980, he won the National Mandolin Championship in Winfield, Kansas.
  • 1994, released Come On In and Make Yourself at Home album (Pinecastle).
  • 1999, released Journey On album (HomeFolks).
  • 2000, group disbanded. Jill Snider went to work for the IBMA. David Harvey joined Larry Cordle and Lonesome Standard Time. He also is an expert mandolin luthier for the Gibson Co.

Wilders, The

THE WILDERS

  • From Kansas City, Missouri.
  • An alt-country band featuring Ike Shelton (guitar), Phil Wade (mandolin/dobro/banjo), Betse Ellis (fiddle), and Nate Gawron (bass).
  • Formed in 1996.
  • 2002, backed Iris DeMent on Garrison Keillor’s “A Prairie Home Companion.”
  • 2006, performed at the Spiegeltent at Edinburgh Fringe Festival where they were honored with the Herald Angel Award.
  • 2008, released Someone’s Got to Pay album (Free Dirt).
  • 2011, released self titled album “The Wilders” (Free Dirt).

Wildfire

WILDFIRE

  • From East Tennessee.
  • Formed in 2000 by the members of J.D. Crowe’s band The New South. They worked in both bands until 2001, when they left Crowe’s band for good.
  • Original members: Phil Leadbetter, Robert Hale, Darrell Webb, Barry Crabtree and Curt Chapman.
  • 2001, released debut album Uncontained (Pinecastle).
  • They have recorded numerous soundtracks for the Home and Gardens television network.
  • The have performed frequently at Dollywood theme park in Pigeon Forge. Hale and Webb also worked with Dolly Parton on her “Halos and Horns” project.
  • 2002, released Where Roads Divide album (Pinecastle).
  • 2006, Leadbetter resigned to join The Whites. Webb left to form his own band.
  • 2010, released Crash Course in the Blues album (Lonesome Day). Lineup: Robert Hale (guitar), Steve Thomas (fiddle, mandolin), Johnny Lewis (banjo), Matt Despain (Dobro™), Curt Chapman (bass).
  • 2016, released Rented Room on Broadway album (Pinecastle). Lineup: Robert Hale (guitar), Greg Luck (fiddle, guitar), Chris Davis (mandolin), Johnny Lewis (banjo), Curt Chapman (bass).

Wildwood Girls, The

THE WILDWOOD GIRLS

  • From Speedwell, Tennessee. Originally from Chicago.
  • An all-female band. Formed in 1977 as The Wildwood Pickers by 16-year-old Kim Koskela (banjo), Robin Koskela (vocals), Muriel Anderson (guitar) and Kathy Jones (fiddle).
  • Their name is derived from the Carter Family song “Wildwood Flower.” Original band wore blue and white checked blouses like the original Carter Sisters.
  • 1982, changed the name to The Wildwood Girls.
  • They made several overseas tours for the USO and the U.S. Department of Defense.
  • They were regular performers at Dolly Parton’s “Dollywood” theme park.
  • They claim to be the first “all girl bluegrass band” to play the Grand Ole Opry.
  • The only original member to remain with the group was banjo player Kim Koskela (Clauson). IBMA Director Nancy Cardwell played bass with this group in the early 1990’s.
  • They released a total of six albums on their own record label.
  • Broke up in 1999.

Wildwood Valley Boys, The

THE WILDWOOD VALLEY BOYS

  • From Milan, Indiana.
  • Originally formed in 1992, then re-formed in 1997.
  • They are the second generation of the The Boys from Indiana. Includes three sons of that legendary group: Tony Holt (son of Aubrey), Jeff Holt (son of Jerry) and Harlan Gabbard (son of Harley). Other members of the group previously worked with the Traditional Grass (Gerald Evans, Jr. and Glen Inman.)
  • 1999, released first album When I Get Back To Georgia (Rebel)..
  • 2000, released I’m a Believer album (Rebel).
  • 2002, released Back Country Road album (Rebel).
  • 2003, released Songs From Wildwood Valley album (Rebel).
  • 2005, began performing and recording as Tony Holt and the Wildwood Valley Boys.
  • 2005, released Daylight’s Burnin’ album (Rebel).
  • 2011, released Lost Highways & Treasured Memories album (Rebel).
  • 2016, released “Hymns from the Wildwood Valley” album (Old Heritage).
  • 2017, merged with Feller and Hill.

Williams, Blake

BLAKE WILLIAMS

  • From Sparta, Tennessee (also the birthplace of Lester Flatt).
  • 1981-1991, played banjo for Bill Monroe and The Bluegrass Boys.
  • 1972-1979, worked with Lester Flatt and the Nashville Grass.
  • 1991-2001, played bass with Mike Snider’s band.
  • 2002, formed a band with mandolinist Bobby Clark called the Williams & Clark Expedition. Later called The Expedition Show.
  • His nickname: “The Sparta Flash.”

Williams, Jeannette

JEANNETTE WILLIAMS

  • From Danville, Virginia.
  • Formed a group in 1989 called Clearwater. The band name was changed in 1996 to Jeannette Williams and Clearwater.
  • For most of her career, she has performed with her husband Johnny, an accomplished guitarist and songwriter.
  • 1994, Jeannette was awarded Female Vocalist of the Year by the Virginia Folk Music Association.
  • 1994, released “Dreams Come True” album (Flying Cloud).
  • 1998, released Cherry Blossoms in the Springtime album (Doobie Shea). She also worked for the label in radio promotions.
  • 1999, recorded her first solo album.
  • 2001, formed The Jeannette Williams Band
  • 2002, released Too Blue album (Bell Buckle).
  • 2003, released Get in the Boat album (Bell Buckle).
  • 2007, won the Chris Austin Songwriting Contest (first place) at Merlefest, for her song “Enough of You.
  • 2008, released Thank You for Caring album (Blue Circle).
  • 2011, formed “Freeman and Williams” with Scott Freeman (mandolin) and husband Johnny Williams.

Williams, Johnny

JOHNNY WILLIAMS

  • From Danville, Virginia.
  • A guitarist and songwriter, he is married to singer Jeannette Williams and performs with her band.
  • His songs have been recorded by Rambler’s Choice, New Classic Grass, Larry Stephenson, Special Consensus, Mark Newton and other artists.
  • 1998, 1999, won the Chris Austin songwriting contest at MerleFest.
  • 2006, joined Big Country Bluegrass
  • 2014, released solo project Going My Way (Mountain Roads).

Williams, Josh

JOSH WILLIAMS

  • From Benton, Kentucky. Lives in Dickson, Tennessee.
  • Was one of bluegrass music’s child prodigies. Gained national recognition when he appeared on the 1993 IBMA Awards show in the “Bluegrass Youth All-Stars” band with Chris Thile, Cody Kilby and Michael Cleveland.
  • Plays all the bluegrass instruments, but began as a banjo player at age 8. Alison Brown gave him lessons.
  • 1990, formed his first band (at age 10).
  • 1991, recorded first album.
  • 1994-1998, performed with The Young Acoustic All-Stars.
  • 1996, formed his own band, High Gear.
  • 1997, released Come to that River album (Copper Creek).
  • 1998, played with a group called Hyperdrive (with Jonathan Jones, Chris and Scott Thile).
  • 2000, played mandolin and fiddle with The Special Consensus.
  • 2001, released Now That You’re Gone album (Pinecastle).
  • 2003-7, played guitar with Rhonda Vincent and the Rage.
  • 2004, released Lonesome Highway album (Pinecastle).
  • 2008, formed The Josh Williams Band. Also worked dates with Alecia Nugent, the Larry Stephenson Band and the Tony Rice Unit (playing mandolin). He also played fill-in dates with the Mashville Brigade (Tuesday nights at the Station Inn).
  • 2008, 2009, 2010, won the IBMA award for Guitar Player of the Year.
  • 2010, released Down Home album (Pinecastle).
  • 2010, won the IBMA Award for Emerging Artist of the Year (The Josh Williams Band).
  • 2010, checked himself into a drug and alcohol rehabilitation facility to recover from his two-year addiction to methamphetamines.
  • 2012, re-joined Rhonda Vincent and the Rage.
  • 2016, released Modern Day Man album (Rounder).

Williams, Paul

PAUL WILLIAMS

  • From Wythe County, Virginia. Lives in Morristown, Tennessee.
  • Real name: Paul Humphrey.
  • 1951, joined the Lonesome Pine Fiddlers as a teenager. When he and his brother Jimmy auditioned for that job, they called themselves The Williams Brothers. He has been known as Paul Willians ever since.
  • 1957, after a stint in the Air Force, joined Jimmy Martin to form The Sunny Mountain Boys. He is best known for his work with this group, including many songs which he wrote for Martin. Jimmy Martin is also his brother-in-law.
  • 1963, left Martin’s band to work for the U.S. Postal Service. Continued to write gospel songs and lead the choir at his church in Morristown, Tennessee.
  • 1995, formed The Victory Trio, a gospel group.
  • 1996, retired from the Postal Service to perform full-time.
  • 1997, released Ain’t God Good album (Rounder).
  • 1999, released Old Ways & Old Paths album (Rebel), which was nominated for a Grammy Award the following year.
  • 2001, released Hard Working Pilgrim album (Rebel).
  • 2001, released Higher Ground album (Rebel) with Cliff Waldron.
  • 2002, released I’ll Meet You in the Gloryland album (Rebel).
  • 2003, released Living on the Hallelujah Side album (Rebel).
  • 2004, was featured on the Grammy nominated album “A Tribute to Jimmy Martin: The King of Bluegrass.”
  • 2004, released I’ll Be No Stranger There album (Rebel).
  • 2005, released When the Morning Comes album (Rebel).
  • 2007, released Where No One Stands Alone album (Rebel).
  • 2008, released What a Journey album (Rebel).
  • 2010, released Just a Little Closer Home album (Rebel).
  • 2010, recorded an album with Doyle Lawson and J.D. Crowe called Old Friends Get Together (Mountain Home). They also performed several concerts together.
  • 2011, released Satisfied album (Rebel).
  • 2012, released Going to Stay in the Old-Time Way album (Rebel).
  • 2014, retired as a touring musician.
  • 2018, was inducted into the Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame.

Williams, Robin and Linda

ROBIN AND LINDA WILLIAMS

  • From Millbrook, Virginia (Shenandoah Valley).
  • Gained national recognition while performing as regulars on Garrison Keillor’s “A Prairie Home Companion” on public radio.
  • Robin plays guitar, Linda plays guitar and clawhammer banjo.
  • They were married in 1971 and recorded their first album together in 1975.
  • They also tour as members of Keillor’s “Hopeful Gospel Quartet.”
  • 1989, signed with Sugar Hill Records and recorded 9 albums for the label.
  • 1993, toured with Mary Chapin Carpenter.
  • 2002, Robin became a “Justice of the Peace” for one day and performed Mary Chapin Carpenter’s wedding.
  • Their band is called “Their Fine Group” and has included Jim Watson (bass), Kevin Maul (Dobro™), Jimmy Gaudreau (mandolin), and Chris Brashers (mandolin/fiddle).
  • 2003-2011, co-hosted (with former Statler Brother Jimmy Fortune) the Fortune – Williams Music Festival in Staunton, Virginia.
  • 2004, signed with Red House Records.
  • 2006, appeared in the Robert Altman movie “A Prairie Home Companion.”

RECOMMENDED ALBUMS

Williams, Roger

ROGER WILLIAMS

  • Grew up in Danville, NH; lives in Glastonbury, CT. He was born in Presque Isle, Maine.
  • He is a well-known northeastern Dobro™ player.
  • 1975-1976, worked with Don Stover and the White Oak Mountain Boys.
  • 1977, joined The Lilly Brothers Band (Everett, Alan & Tennis Lilly).
  • 1979-1980, worked with The Berkshire Mountain Boys.
  • 1980-1993, had a group called White Mountain Bluegrass..
  • 1984, released “Fireball” album on his own label.
  • 1992, released “Route #2 to Amherst” album on his own label.
  • 1994-1996, joined Southern Rail.
  • 1994, released “A Decade Later” album with Ray Legere (Acoustic Horizon Records).
  • 1997, had a band called Blue Diamond Bluegrass (with Stan Tyminski, Dan’s older brother)
  • 1997, released River of No Return album (Strictly Country) with Ray Legere.
  • 1998-2005, joined The New England Bluegrass Band.
  • 2005 joined Amy Gallatin & Stillwaters.
  • 2008, released A Resophonic Retrospective album (Happy Appy).
  • 2012, released Williams Squared album (no label) with son JD Williams playing mandolin (Happy Appy Records).
  • 2019, released solo project I Know This Road (Happy Appy).

Williams, Tyler

TYLER WILLIAMS (THE TYLER WILLIAMS BAND)

  • From Central Ohio.
  • He was born with Cerebral Palsy and became blind in infancy.
  • Began playing piano and singing at age 2. He also plays guitar.
  • Graduated with honors from East Tennessee State University with a major in broadcasting and a minor in bluegrass music.
  • The Tyler Williams Band includes Ashley Davis (fiddle), Ben Bateson (banjo), Ryan Wilson (bass), Ryan Blevins (mandolin).
  • 2015, released first album Heart Over Mind (no label).
Posted in W

Williams, Vern

VERN WILLIAMS

  • Originally from Newton County, Arkansas; moved to California in the 1950’s.
  • Began playing bluegrass in northern California with fiddler/guitarist Ray Park. “Vern and Ray” became one of California’s most popular bluegrass acts. Broke up in 1974.
  • 1981, formed The Vern Williams Band with his son Delbert. Released Bluegrass from the Gold Country (Rounder).
  • Backed Rose Maddox on two albums: This Is Rose Maddox (Arhoolie) and Beautiful Bouquet (Arhoolie).
  • Retired from performing in the late 1990’s due to failing health.
  • 2004, released Traditional Bluegrass album (Arhoolie).
  • Died in 2006.

Williamson, Kevin (Williamson Branch)

KEVIN WILLIAMSON

  • From Kenova, West Virginia. Lives in Nashville.
  • Worked with Dave Evans, Redwing, Glen Duncan and Phoenix, other bands before striking out on his own in 1992.
  • A second-generation bluegrass performer, the son of Jerry Williamson (now deceased, who fronted The Outdoor Plumbing Company and Redwing.)
  • 1992, released Write Between the Lines album (Pinecastle).
  • 1995, formed his own band Shadow Ridge. Released Out of the Shadows album (Pinecastle) with that band.
  • His wife Debbie sings both lead and harmony vocals in the band. She has also released a solo album “Weepin’ Willow Blues” (Mid-Knight, 1997).
  • 2000, created a musical act for children under the name “Kevin Kidd.”
  • 2011, toured with Randy Waller and the Country Gentlemen, playing bass.
  • 2012-2013, worked with The Farm Hands Bluegrass Quartet.
  • 2014, formed Williamson Branch, a family band with his wife Debbie and three daughters Melody (fiddle), Kadence (bass) and Caroline (vocals). Released “Tis So Sweet” album (Enrichertainment).
  • 2015, Williamson Branch released second album “Branchin’ Out” (Enrichertainment).
  • 2018, Williamson Branch released Free album (Pinecastle).

Williamson, Tony and Gary

TONY AND GARY WILLIAMSON (THE WILLIAMSON BROTHERS)

  • From Siler City, North Carolina.
  • Tony is a well-known mandolin virtuoso, with several solo projects to his credit.
  • Their grandfather was in Company B, 52nd Regiment of the North Carolina Troops who marched with General Lee up Seminary Ridge, July 3, 1863 in the Battle of Gettysburg. He survived.
  • First band: The Bluegrass Gentlemen (1970) which made the cover of Bluegrass Unlimited magazine.
  • Gary earned his Ph.D in educational research from Stanford University. He works full-time for the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction.
  • Tony owns a musical instrument company called Mandolin Central.
  • 1977, Gary was a member of the Bluegrass Alliance.
  • 1978, Tony worked with the Richard Greene band.
  • 1989-1991, Tony was a member of the group ASH&W (He was the “W”).
  • 1994, Tony performed with a one-man show called “The Sound of the American Mandolin.” He has a degree in music from the University of North Carolina.
  • 1995, Tony and Gary formed a duo called The Williamson Brothers.
  • 1995, Tony released solo project “Across the Grain” (Plucked String).
  • 1996 , Tony released solo project “All for Naught” (Mandolin Central).
  • 1998, The Williamson Brothers released “My Rocky River Home” (Mandolin Central).
  • 1999, the Tony Williamson Trio released “Christmas at Doobie Shea” album (Doobie Shea).
  • 2000, released Let Us Cross Over the River album (Doobie Shea).
  • 2003, Tony released Sessions at McBain Mill album (Bonfire).
  • 2003, the Williamson Brothers released “Still Light of the Evening” album (WildChild).
  • 2011, Tony released “Lloyd Loar Mandolins” album (Mandolin Central).
  • 2013, The Williamson Brothers released”Bluegrass!” album (Flatt Mountain).
  • 2018, received the North Carolina Heritage Award.

Wilson Banjo Company

WILSON BANJO COMPANY

  • From Westminster, South Carolina.
  • They are a band rather than a banjo making business, although founder and banjo-player Steve Wilson has experience as a luthier. He worked for Gibson when he was living in Nashville and continues building instruments.
  • Band members: Steve Wilson (banjo), Joey Newton (guitar), Sarah Logan (fiddle), Dylan Armour (Dobro™), Brandon Crouch (mandolin) and Rob Walker (bass).
  • 2017, released first album Spirits in the Hills (Bonfire).
  • 2018, Steve Wilson joined Dale Ann Bradley, playing banjo. Wilson Banjo Company will continue on a limited basis.

Wise, Chubby

CHUBBY WISE

  • From Lake City, Florida.
  • Real name: Robert Russell Dees. He was adopted by his father’s sister, whose husband’s name was Wise.
  • Has been called “The Dean of Bluegrass Fiddlers” and “The Original Bluegrass Fiddler.”
  • Co-author of the fiddle tune “Orange Blossom Special.” At age 18, Wise moved to Jacksonville, Florida where he drove a taxicab by day and played fiddle in bars by night. It was there that he met fiddler Ervin Rouse in 1939 and together they composed “The Orange Blossom Special” in about 45 minutes. When Rouse suggested that they go get it copyrighted, Wise said, “Ervin, I haven’t got time to fool with a fiddle tune. If you can do anything with it, buddy, it’s yours.”
  • 1942, joined Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys, replacing Howdy Forrester. Was a member of Monroe’s “original bluegrass band” of 1945-1948 (Monroe, Flatt, Scruggs, Watts and Wise).
  • 1949, left Monroe to work with the York Brothers in Detroit, and later, Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs (1951).
  • Has also worked with Jimmy Martin, Sam and Kirk McGee, Uncle Dave Macon, Hylo Brown, Mac Wiseman, Hank Snow and Merle Haggard.
  • 1994, released In Nashville album (Pinecastle) at age 78. Produced by Butch Baldassari.
  • 1995, released An American Original album (Pinecastle).
  • Died January 6, 1996.
  • 1998, was inducted into the IBMA’s Hall of Honor.

Wiseman, Mac

MAC WISEMAN

  • From Crimora, Virginia. Lives on Percy Priest Lake, near Nashville.
  • Was born in 1925, the same year the Grand Ole Opry started.
  • Real name: Malcolm Bell Wiseman.
  • 1944, began his career as a DJ in in Harrisonburg, Virginia.
  • 1946, worked with Molly O’Day.
  • 1948, was an original member of Flatt and Scruggs’ Foggy Mountain Boys.
  • 1949, worked with Bill Monroe.
  • Came to be known as “The Voice with a Heart.”
  • 1952-1956, with his band “The Country Boys” recorded several hits for Dot Records including “Jimmy Brown the Newsboy,” “Love Letters in the Sand,” “The Ballad of Davy Crockett.”
  • 1957-1963, worked as an A & R man (Artists and Repertoire) for Dot Records and ran the company’s country-music department.
  • 1958, was one of the founders of the Country Music Association (CMA) and was the organization’s first secretary.
  • 1965, performed at the first bluegrass festival in Fincastle, Virginia.
  • 1966, managed WWVA Jamboree in Wheeling, West Virginia.
  • 1969, had a country hit with “Johnny’s Cash and Charley’s Pride” (RCA Victor).
  • 1990, elected president of R.O.P.E. (Reunion of Professional Entertainers) in Nashville. One of the goals of the organization is to build a retirement home for country music entertainers.
  • 1991, worked at the revived Old Dominion Barn Dance, Richmond, Virginia.
  • 1992, worked at the Willie Nelson Theatre in Branson, Missouri.
  • 1993, was inducted into the IBMA’s Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame.
  • 1997, recorded with The Groove Grass Boyz.
  • 2001, recorded a duet with his old friend Johnny Cash: “When It’s Reveille Time in Heaven.”
  • 2008, received the National Heritage Award, America’s highest honor in the folk and traditional arts.
  • 2014, was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.
  • 2014, released album Songs From My Mother’s Hand on Wrinkled Records at the age of 89.
  • 2015, his autobiography Mac Wiseman: All My Memories Fit For Print was published (Nova Books).
  • 2016, released “I Sang the Song: Going Back to Bristol” album (Mountain Fever) with guest artists Sierra Hull, Shawn Camp, the Isaacs, Jim Lauderdale and others.
  • 2019, died at the age of 93.

Witcher Brothers, The

THE WITCHER BROTHERS

  • From Granada Hills, California.
  • Formed in 1985 by Dennis Witcher (mandolin) and his son Gabe (fiddle), who was only six years old at the time. Gabe’s younger brother Michael joined later, playing Dobro™.
  • Dennis worked in the aerospace industry.
  • Gabe became an accomplished session musician in Hollywood. He performed on several movie soundtracks including Brokeback Mountain and Toy Story. He later became a member of The Laurel Canyon Ramblers, The Jerry Douglas Band, Eve 6 (a rock band), the Dave Rawlings Machine and the Punch Brothers.
  • Michael went on to play Dobro™ with Peter Rowan, Laurie Lewis, Missy Raines, Chris Jones and others. He also teaches and does session work.

Woolsey, Jim and Lynna

JIM AND LYNNA WOOLSEY

  • A husband and wife duo from Petersburg, Indiana.
  • At age 15, Jim began playing with the Patoka Valley Boys. Soon thereafter, he and Lynna met and married, she also started playing and singing in the same band. They were the subject of a documentary film that was made in 1979.
  • 1989, they won the Kentucky Fried Chicken bluegrass talent contest in Louisville, Kentucky.
  • 2002 and 2003, their band Fields of Home won first place in the Indiana Picking and Fiddling Contest.
  • 2014, released first album The Road that Brings You Home (Broken Record).
  • 2016, released Heart & Soul, Blood and Bone album (Broken Record) with guest musicians Jim Lauderdale, The Chapmans, Randy Kohrs and others.
  • 2019, released Long Ago album (Pinecastle/Bonfire).

Wood, A.L. (and the Smokey Ridge Boys)

A.L. WOOD AND THE SMOKEY RIDGE BOYS (THE WOOD FAMILY TRADITION)

  • From North Carolina.
  • Banjo player and singer A.L. (or Al) Wood began performing in 1962.
  • He recorded several albums under his own name with his band The Smokey Ridge Boys which included (at various times) his older brother Odell Wood (bass), Dewey Farmer (mandolin). Lester Deaton (guitar) and A.L.’s sons Mike and Bobby (guitar and bass).
  • 1973, released “Sing a Bluegrass Song” album (Rebel Records) which was re-issued in 2011.
  • 1973, released “Bluegrass Today” album (Rebel Records).
  • 1982, released “Kentucky Country Home” album (Rich-R-Tone).
  • 2001, released two albums: “Cold Granite Heart” and “A Bluegrass Classic” (no label).
  • His songs have been recorded by many other artists: Sweet Carrie (Dailey and Vincent), Rhythm Of The Wheels (Rhonda Vincent), Sing A Bluegrass Song (Lorraine Jordan and Carolina Road).
  • While A.L. doesn’t travel or perform any longer, his family has formed The Wood Family Tradition featuring A.L.’s sons Mike (guitar) and Bobby (bass), Mike’s wife Joanie (vocals), their son Jason (mandolin) and his wife Mackenzie (vocals).

Wood and Wire

WOOD AND WIRE

  • From Austin, Texas.
  • Formed in 2010 by Tony Kamel (guitar), Matt Slusher (mandolin), Dom Fisher (bass) and Trevor Smith (banjo).
  • They call their music “Dirty Texas Grass.”
  • 2013, toured with the Yonder Mountain String Band.
  • 2013, released self-titled Wood & Wire album (no label).
  • 2015, released The Coast album (no label).
  • 2016, Billy Bright (mandolin) joined the band, replacing Matt Slusher.
  • 2018, released North of Despair album (Blue Corn Music).

Wooks, The

THE WOOKS

  • From Lexington, Kentucky.
  • The Urban Dictionary defines a wook as: “a hippie without any ambition, motivation, or drive other than drugs and image. They’re generally in their twenties, college students (or dropouts) at small-town liberal colleges (such as Appalachian State University) and dependent on an income other than their own.”
  • Formed in 2014 by C.J. Cain (guitar), Galen Green (mandolin), Arthur Hancock (banjo), Roddy Puckett (bass) and Jesse Wells (fiddle).
  • Hancock’s father (also Arthur Hancock) is a bluegrass songwriter and recording artist, as well as the owner of a Kentucky Derby winning race horse, Sunday Silence.
  • 2016, won the band competition at RockyGrass and released their first self-titled album (no label).
  • 2017, Wells and Green left the band; multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Aaron Bibelhauser joined.
  • 2018, released “Me and the Stars Tonight” album (Gnar Vector).
  • 2018 lineup: Cain (guitar), Harry Clark (mandolin), Hancock (guitar), Roddy Puckett (bass).
  • 2018, released “Glory Bound” album (Gnar Vector).

Wooten, Gene

GENE WOOTEN

  • From Franklinton, North Carolina. Moved to Nashville in 1977.
  • Played Dobro™ with several bands including Wilma Lee Cooper and The Clinch Mountain Clan, Country Gazette and the Sidemen. He also did a lot of session work in Nashville.
  • 1992, joined the Osborne Brothers’ band.
  • 1994, won a Grammy Award for his participation on “The Great Dobro™ Sessions” album (produced by Jerry Douglas.)
  • Died in 2001 of cancer.

Workman, Jake

JAKE WORKMAN

  • From Draper, Utah.
  • 2001, began playing guitar at age 13, when his parent gave him a guitar for Christmas. Formed a rock band called Wayward Son.
  • 2003, his parents gave him a banjo for Christmas, which kindled his love for bluegrass.
  • He has played in several Salt Lake City based groups including Cold Creek, The Aaron Ashton Band, and the Jake and Rebekah Workman Band.
  • He has a degree in jazz guitar performance from the University of Utah.
  • 2007, formed a band called Driven with the McLemore Brothers of Kansas and his wife Rebekah (fiddle).
  • 2015, replaced Cody Kilby as guitarist for Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder.
  • 2016, was given an IBMA Momentum Award for Instrumentalist of the Year.
  • 2019, released solo project Landmark (no label).

Wright, Curtis

CURTIS WRIGHT

  • From Huntingdon, Pennsylvania.
  • A singer, songwriter and guitarist, he began his career in a band called Country Generation. He also worked with Vern Gosdin, singing background vocals before launching a solo career in 1989.
  • As a songwriter, he has written several hit songs including “A Woman in Love” for Ronnie Milsap, “Next to You, Next to Me” and “Rock My Baby” for Shenandoah, “Too Much Fun” for Daryl Singletary, “What’s It To You” for Clay Walker and “She’s Got a Man on Her Mind” for Conway Twitty.
  • 1992, released solo country album Curtis Wright (Liberty).
  • 1994, formed a band with Robert Ellis Orral called “Orral and Wright.” They released one album (Giant Records).
  • 2002-2007, became Shenandoah’s third lead singer (after Marty Raybon and Brent Lamb).
  • 2007, joined Pure Prairie League.
  • 2016, recorded a self-titled bluegrass album Curtis Wright (Voxhall).

Wright, Norman and Kevin Church

NORMAN WRIGHT AND KEVIN CHURCH

  • From Virginia.
  • 1991, both left The Country Gentlemen to form their own band.
  • Wright has also worked with The Bluegrass Cardinals and Bill Harrell and the Virginians.
  • Church plays banjo, and is the son of banjo player, Porter Church, who once was a member of Bill Monroe’s band, The Blue Grass Boys.
  • 1998, changed name of their band to The Travelers. Disbanded after a few years together.
  • 2008, Church became of member of the Country Gentlemen Tribute Band.
  • 2010, Wright was a member of Darren Beachley and the Legends of the Potomac.
  • 2011, Wright and Church re-formed The Travelers.

Wyland, Dede

DEDE WYLAND

  • From Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Lives in Baltimore, Maryland.
  • 1975, was lead singer for Milwaukee band Grass, Food and Lodging.
  • 1980, joined Tony Trischka and Skyline.
  • 1995, formed Acoustic Outlet with Mike Munford, Chris Stifel, Akira Otsuka and Fred Smith.
  • 2000, formed the Dede Wyland Band.
  • Is a professional vocal coach and widely known as a “singer’s singer.”
  • 2009, released Keep The Light On album backed by Mike Munford (banjo), Ronnie and Rickie Simpkins (bass and mandolin/fiddle), Wyatt Rice (guitar).
  • 2018, released Urge for Going album (Patuxent).

Wyrick, Stuart

STUART WYRICK

  • From Luttrell, Tennessee (“Tater Valley”)
  • Began performing at age 8.
  • 1995-2009, played banjo with the gospel group New Road.
  • He also has a 60-acre farm in East Tennessee where he raises Black Angus and Hereford cattle.
  • 2008, formed Brand New Strings.
  • 2013, joined the Dale Ann Bradley band.
  • 2016, released solo project East Tennessee Sunrise (Rural Rhythm) produced by Steve Gulley.
  • 2016, joined Flashback.

Wywrot, Thomas

THOMAS WYWROT

  • From Dryden, Ontario, Canada; Lives in Nashville.
  • As a teenager, played guitar with a family band called the Muddy River Boys.
  • A graduate of East Tennessee State University’s bluegrass music program.
  • 2005, played banjo with the Mark Newton Band.
  • 2005-6, played guitar with the Boohers.
  • 2006-8, played banjo and guitar with Alecia Nugent..
  • 2008, joined the Isaacs, playing banjo and guitar.
  • 2010, released solo project “Every Time I Walk this Road.”