Alternate Roots may just be the best-kept secret of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Defying musical labels, this band prefers to simply call their music 'acoustic.' More easily defined are their superb harmonies and clean instrumentation. Since forming in 1997, the band has released three CD's. Tales of Love and Sorrow in 1998; Another Dirt Road in 2000; and their latest CD entitled Branching Out released in 2002. This eclectic band is at home in just about any setting, having played on stages such as The Carter Fold in Hiltons, Virginia to the Lowell Folk Festival in Lowell, Massachusetts Setting the Roots apart from the competition is lead vocalist & guitarist Katy Taylor. With a unique vocal style that fuses bluegrass, folk, gospel and country influences, Katy has been compared to such diverse artists as Claire Lynch and Joan Baez. Katy previously sang with Wayne C. Henderson and Friends in such venues as the NPR broadcast of An American Roots Festival and the 1996 Olympics Southern Crossroads Arts Festival. She has also been featured on two of Henderson's releases for the Hay Holler label, W.C. Henderson & Company and his latest release Les Pik. Mandolinist extraordinaire Scott Freeman has three decades of singing and playing bluegrass, old-time and country music to his credit, captivating audiences everywhere with his fluid, melodic solos. Also an award-winning fiddle player, he is a major creative force in arranging songs for the band. As a songwriter, Scott's songs have been recorded by IIIrd Tyme Out, Ric-O-Chet and Barry Barrier. He and father-in-law Willard Gayheart were founding members of the enduringly popular 'progressive old-time' Skeeter and the Skidmarks. Scott released a solo project entitled Southern Souvenirs in 2001. Multi-talented Steve Lewis brings to the band a solid background in bluegrass and gospel music spanning over 25 years, Steve was a founding member of Ric-O-Chet, who recorded two projects for the Rebel Record label. His instrumental work makes him a highly sought-after studio musician. Steve has won numerous awards over the years on banjo and guitar at contests such as the Galax Fiddler's Convention, Wayne C. Henderson Festival's Guitar Competition, the world-renowned Walnut Valley Competition in Winfield, Kansas, RenoFest in Hartsville, SC. and MerleFest in Wilkesboro, N.C. Willard Gayheart has a background steeped in the county and western standards of the 1940s and 1950s. His original songs about life in rural eastern Kentucky are crowd favorites wherever they are heard. Ric-O-Chet's cover of Willard's 'My Last Run' stayed on the bluegrass charts for several weeks in 1994. Willard was also a founding member of Galax, Virginia's legendary Highlanders, and he has been designated a Kentucky Colonel by his home state. Resonator guitarist Randy Pasley is fast developing a loyal and admiring following. He has been awarded first prize in the Dobro competition at the Galax Fiddle's Convention in 1999, 2000 and 2003 and received Galax's Best All Around Performer award in 1999. In addition to his instrumental talents, Randy sings baritone and tenor to round out many of the Roots harmonies. When Randy is not in his music store he spends time as a session musician and is in the process of recording a solo project. Bass player Tony Testerman has performed at the Barns of Wolftrap, the Smithsonian Institute, the 1993 NPR broadcast of An American Roots Festival, and at the 1996 Olympics Southern Crossroads Arts Festival. Tony's bass playing is featured on Wayne C. Henderson's W.C. Henderson & Company & Les Pik; Will Keys' A Banjo Original, as well as Big Country Bluegrass current lead singer Jimmy Trivette's solo release, By Request.
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