Guitar, Lead Vocals and Tenor
I started out learning guitar as a kid on an old Harmony guitar with strings that felt like barbed wire while standing around jam sessions my dad would have at our house in Nancy, Kentucky. Those days were rooted in country music. My mother worked in the country music industry and exposed me to many great musicians like fiddling great Jimmy Mattingly, Randy Franks, Randy Scruggs and many others. At age 10, during Fan Fair in Nashville, I auditioned for Sun Records with my guitar and performed House of The Rising Sun and even hung out with the great George Jones!
Around age 12 the bluegrass bug got me and has never let loose! I started playing mandolin with my brother and sister.Thru the years I have had the opportunity to play with many greats like Mac Weisman, Lum Patton, Andrea Roberts, and Vince Hermon. While playing with Mac Weisman at Bean Blossom, a documentary video, High Lonesome The Story Of Bluegrass Music was recorded. Some of the groups I have been a part of are The Christian Messengers, The Half Mountain Boys, The Bluegrass Messengers, Stacey Bowman and The Shenendoah Valley Boys. I have also had the honor to do some jamming with many like Doyle Lawson, Russell Moore, The Dalton's and the Father himself, Mr. Bill Monroe.
Guitar is where I am comfortable, but I occasionally switch to mandolin and sometimes thump on the upright bass. I also enjoy writing and composing. On our debut CD, Simple Days, 3 of the tracks are originals of mine along with the title track and I'm currently working on more for the next project. Enjoy every show and jam session we do, but want more! The fire is burning!
In 2017, Larry was nominated for SPBGMA Male Vocalist of the Year and Songwriter of the Year.
Growing up in southeastern Kentucky, I spent many summer weekends playing bluegrass music at jam sessions at Lake Cumberland. I got my first Martin guitar when I was 14 and joined in those jams with the Daltons's, Ray Hoskins and many other great local musicians.Those musicians inspired me and this is where my love of bluegrass began. Weekend jams wasn't enough, so I took up banjo and taught my best friend to play rhythm guitar and we started playing in church.
In 1985 I moved back to Kokomo, IN., where I was born, and started playing banjo with my family and then on to some great regional bands like, Bluegrass Messengers, The Stinson Family, Ray Scalf and The Clay County Travelers, Lum Patton and The Half Mountain Boys, The Shenedoah Valley boys and James Monroe and The Midnight Ramblers. I have also had the opportunity to play with Mac Weisman during the making of the video, High Lonesome the story of bluegrass music. I also have jammed with Doyle Lawson, Russell Moore, Paul Williams and Bill Monroe.
After many years of playing banjo full time in Branded Bluegrass, we felt like we needed to add a dobro to make our sound more full. Currently, I play banjo and dobro but also occasionally play some twin fiddle with Albert. You definitely have to love music in order to train yourself to play the many different instruments. The thing so fun about this group is the versatility! Everybody plays numerous instruments and sing different parts.
In 2017, Jessie was nominated for SPBGMA Banjo Player of the Year.
As a teenager in the 70's, I played the guitar with a local rock n roll band. My love for music changed when I decided I wanted a better understanding for harmonies. I joined a Barbershop group and found my way into a quartet. I sang baritone with that quartet for 12 years. While attending Missouri Western State College studying music theory and directing, I heard my first Bluegrass band. It was then that I knew where my heart truly belonged.
My family and I traveled many times to Brown County and I would always find myself in the music store in Nashville, IN. I developed a love for the sound of the dulcimer. Starting out with an inexpensive dulcimer, I graduated to a dulcimer custom made for me by a luthier located here in Indiana. I also have a 'baby' dulcimer that was custom made. It was during this time that I teamed up with the Hoosier String Players.
Fast forward, I followed Larry & Jesse to some of their gigs. Lucky me, they needed a bass player.I enjoy being a part of the Branded Bluegrass family playing the dog house bass, which is my passion, and on occasion, my dulcimers.I have enjoyed picking with some great musicians and met a lot of good people along the way. I want to thank GOD for blessing me with this wonderful talent and my family & friends for allowing me to follow my dreams.
In 2017, Mike was nominated for SPBGMA Bass Player of the Year.
Growing up in central Indiana, I have been close to the mecca of bluegrass, Bill Monroe's Bean Blossom Festival. My family attends every year and this is where my love for bluegrass started. I have been playing on some type of instrument since I was a kid. My dad would occasionally let me play his Alvarez mandolin and Martin guitar. For my 16th birthday, instead of a car, I asked for a new Blueridge guitar and that is what I got.
I am just cutting my teeth in the business but have had the opportunity to play mandolin alongside Paul Williams and Dwight Dillman. One of my life's coolest highlights was meeting the guitar guru, Tony Rice! I love traditional bluegrass and gospel the most, but I also enjoy some contemporary bluegrass and classic country like Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, and Hank Williams. I'm not much of a fan of today's "country" though. Not only do I play mandolin, I also play guitar, banjo, dobro and bass..My influences are Bill Monroe, Adam Steffey, Danny Roberts and Chris Thile on mandolin. Tony Rice, Clay Hess, Waylon Jennings and Jerry Reed on guitar. Jerry Douglas on dobro and Banjo is JD Crowe, Earl Scruggs, Dwight Dillman and Ron Gilman.
I hope to follow in my dad and uncle's footsteps. Even though they won't admit it, I teach the old dogs some new tricks! I do love playing and singing next to my dad.
In 2017, Tristen was nominated for SPBGMA Mandolin Player of the Year. He has also just relocated to Nashville, TN. in hopes of being closer to more musicians to broaden his scope of music and continue adding to his vault of talent and skill.