Don Rogers (Guitar, Vocals) comes from a family with a long musical heritage dating back to the original Kentucky String Ticklers band, which included his grandfather and three great uncles. Stories of how his ancestors made a living playing music in the early part of the 20th Century through the Great Depression fueled his undying desire to become an accomplished musician. Like his grandfather, he chose the guitar as his primary instrument, although he first took up the banjo at the age of 15. Don's Appalachian heritage, along with Blues and Bluegrass influences, can be heard today in his playing and songwriting style that was passed down from previous generations. Also borrowing from Jazz and New Acoustic directions, he weaves old time stories with his own creative fiction. After growing up in Winchester, Kentucky, Don pursued a career in psychology, earning Bachelors and a Masters Degrees from Morehead State University in Morehead, Kentucky. During this period he was influenced by the musical styles of Earl Scruggs, Bob Dylan, Duane Allman, George Benson, Gerry Garcia and many others. Today, his music is deeply affected by his life's experiences with his family, including his wife and two daughters, and his work experience as a mental health professional. He also values music that has an energy source from deep within the soul, being produced for music's sake rather than purely commercial reasons. Don recently moved from his native Clark County, Kentucky to a farm in Bath County. Danny Williams (Mandolin, Vocals) is originally from Winchester, Kentucky, where he began his musical journey in his school choir at the age of thirteen. Under the direction of Dr. Gale Price, he began to appreciate and feel music in a different way. His singing talent turned into a love for playing an instrument when he was given a guitar at the age of eighteen. Bands such as The Grateful Dead and the Allman Brothers, and college music theory courses became his major influences. Eventually, Danny joined the Green Genes, a local Winchester band made up of friends, where he played a variety of musical instruments including drums, guitar, keyboard and bass guitar. After he left the break-up of the Green Genes, Danny enrolled in college in Alabama and later moved to Levelland, Texas to attend music school. While there, he 'got the itch to play the mandolin,' commenting that it was 'the best thing I ever did.' In 1998 2003 he returned to Kentucky and joined Don Rogers to start the New Kentucky String Ticklers. Danny Cecil (Bass) was raised in a home filled with music. His mother Betty, a fine pianist and singer in her own right, interested Danny and his sister Courtney in music at very early ages. In fact, Betty says, 'he was singing and humming before he could even speak.' With his father in the U. S. Navy, Danny's family moved regularly, always living in or near large urban areas including Chicago, Washington D. C., Virginia Beach and Ann Arbor, Michigan. At that time, Danny and Courtney were heavily involved in their school, church and community music and art programs. After learning and playing a variety of instruments, (saxophone, flute, drums, manual percussion, piano and guitar), Danny gave up music to pursue a degree in biology from Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Upon graduation, he moved to Seattle to live and work. As a biomedical technician. Six months after moving west, Danny rented a double bass from a local music shop and the seeds of a new career were planted. Working daily in countless Seattle area music venues with numerous musicians, he soaked up bass techniques by watching, listening and eventually studying with three different teachers. By day he worked in a research lab, and during many nights he would practice his music until falling asleep. Eventually, the draw of a career in music became so strong that he made the decision to leave science and jump into double bass studies full-time. Moving back home to Lexington, Kentucky, Danny enrolled in the University of Kentucky's School of Music and studied there for three years before graduating Cum Laude in the winter of 2002. with a B. A. in music. While at UK, he played in every major ensemble. From jazz to big band, the UK Symphony Orchestra, the UK Wind Ensemble, and several small jazz combos. He also played at night with groups in Cincinnati, Lexington and Louisville, earning an income as a jazz bassist musician. In the fall of 2003, Danny met Don Rogers and Danny Williams, and became the bassist with the NKST. Their friendship and musical relationship is relatively young, but it grows with each practice, gig, and now, recording. Album notes from Don Rogers, Danny Williams and Danny Cecil Don Rogers: Bledsoe Blues: Bledsoe Blues is a musical description of the tragic fate of the character that went through the painful experiences described in Six Feet Underground. The truth is that he disappeared into the woods one day while looking for a quiet place to weep for his lost love. He was never seen again. The people in the area told several versions of his fate. This tune is my version of what happened. Pilot Knob: To many people, there is a spiritual significance to the mountains in east Central Kentucky. Some of the hills and knobs represent the center of the universe for those who have lived there for many generations. Pilot Knob is a legendary place in Powell County, Kentucky, and represents the hill from where early pioneers first viewed the Bluegrass Region of Central Kentucky. I Am A Pilgrim: This old Merle Travis song is a classic example of the influence that Blues had on Country Music during the early part of the 20th century. It allows a lot of room for adding colorful harmony notes and expansive improvisation while maintaining the basic, simple Country form. Danny Williams: Two Thirds: This is a tune that I pieced together using different parts that I had written some time ago. I think it sums up what the band is about: diversity. We all like so many types of music, and this song has several different feelings in it. Don Rogers: Untangle My Mind: The character in this song went through a spell of drinking. That may have caused his tragic fate, but it can only be assumed that there was a connection. There is no clear proof. Strippin' Room Shine: This song came to me in the form of a question one cool, foggy November day while I was alone in an old Kentucky barn. Surrounded by the aroma of cured tobacco, I pondered: 'What was the story behind all of those empty whiskey bottles hidden in the walls and crevasses of the barn's tobacco stripping room?' From that experience, my imagination created the story that unfolded for this song. Danny Williams: Dan's Jig: This is an Irish style Jig that I wrote during a time when I couldn't get the fast feeling of 6/8 out of my head. The 'A' part seemed to just come out as a whole, where the 'B' part is free form and semi-arranged but leaves a lot of room for improvisation. Don Rogers: Townsend Cave: The details of this story come from the non-fiction book Townsend Mountain written by Claude Everett Bush. The Townsend's were one of the first families to settle in the rough country where Powell, Estill, Lee, and Wolfe counties come together in east Central Kentucky. They were very torn during the Civil War with extended family members taking opposing sides, many of them having fought for the Union. This song tells the story pretty much as it is described in Mr. Bush's book. The patriarch of the Townsend family, James Townsend, is an ancestor of mine whose sons all fought for the Union, while my great-great grandmother, Sally Ann Townsend Rogers, was married to a Confederate soldier and lived only a short distance from Townsend Cave. Danny Williams: Down With The Dawg: This is the first tune I ever wrote. It was inspired by David Grisman, one of my favorite musicians. Basically, Down With The Dawg is a two-part contra-fact, based on two phrases that are often heard in David's music and in Jazz Standards. Don Rogers: Six Feet Underground: This composition is part of the mythical story I imagined about the primary character that was the inspiration for Bledsoe Blues. Heartbroken, he roamed the hills of Kentucky, and always ended up with women who took advantage of his mildness and naivety, until his tragic fate. Danny Williams: A Thousand Times: I co-wrote this song with my good friend Dove Gevedon. A few years ago we would get together one day each week to write songs, and this is one of my favorites. Dove wrote the words and I did the music. Danny Cecil: Generations: Title Cut 'This was the first 'real' song I ever wrote. It was composed shortly after my Grandpa Cecil's passing. I was moved by the crowd of people at his funeral, and especially by the fact that four generations of Cecil's were present that day. The opening eight bar theme literally fell from my fingers as written, whereas the 'b' section has seen a few changes. The tune's title just happened to fit with the NKST vibe: past, present and future united.'
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