There were 75 different artists and musicians who graciously donated their time and talents to this project. Without their love and generosity, this recording would not have been possible. 

Listed by appearance on the album: Chris Scruggs (3x), Kenny Vaughan, Charles Treadway, Paul Mabury, Gary Bennett , Chuck Mead, Don Herron, Jay McDowell, Shaw Wilson, Sam Bush, Stephen Mougin, Balder Saunders, Grace Adele, Keenan Wade, David Tanner, Buddy Spicher, Jesse Lee Jones (2x), Katy Lou Clark, Penny Lea Clark, Dorothy Daniel, Ben DeBerry (4x), Ethan Ballinger (4x), David Mayfield, Wes Langlois, Joe Giotta, Shelby Means(2x), Kristin Weber, Rebekah Jean, Todd Grebe, Angela Oudean, David Long, Mike Bub, Josh Brand (2x), David Grier, Christian Sedelmyer, Billy Contreras (2x), Amanda Contreras, Tyler Grant, Adrian Engfer, Sean Foley, Chris Misner, Julie Lee (2x), Mike Farris, Rod McGaha, Jon Radford (3x), Vida Wakeman, Jeff Burke, Ryan Cavanaugh (2x), Shad Cobb, Matt Raum, Jeremey Darrow, Rachael Hester, Jen Duke, Derek Hoke, Paul Niehaus, Kevin Knapp, Daryl Johnson, Tyson Rogers, Jack Pearson, Brian Christianson, Nicki Christianson, David Price, Nathan Shuppert, Michael Jezewski, Gabe Martin, TJ Stamm, Bradford Lee Folk, Rachel Baiman, Kelsey Waldon, Antonia Cove, and Phil Harris

Chris Scruggs
A native Nashvillian, Scruggs is the grandson of banjo legend Earl Scruggs and that rich music heritage has influenced Chris in countless ways. He spent his early childhood on a Silver Eagle tour bus with his hit-making mother, Gail Davies, and graduated to being the teenage frontman for Americana music pioneers BR5-49, writing and singing the title track of their 2004 release, Tangled In The Pines. Chris has appeared on 3 Grammy nominated projects, including Beautiful Dreamer – The Songs of Stephen Foster, which won in 2005. In addition to the typical role of guitar slinging singer/songwriter, Chris Scruggs is also a master steel guitarist, playing his instrument without pedals. An all but lost art form, Chris does what he can to promote this evanescent style, preserving the older techniques and developing new ones that fit his own musical needs. Chris wrote the theme song for the East Nashville Christmas project without even realizing it. When it came time for his session, which was originally going to be “Blue Christmas”, he said he had a new song he had written for the project and wondered if we could try that instead. Of Course!…. was the immediate answer he received. What he gave us couldn’t have been any more perfect or appropriate for this album, a true Christmas Classic for the ages. Will you sleep inside this Christmas? That is the question he asks all of us.

BR5-49
“A Truck Stop Christmas” was written specifically for this project by founding member Gary Bennett. The lyrics tell the story of a truck driver trying to make his way home for Christmas to be with his family and winds up being stranded at a truck stop on Christmas Eve due to a snowstorm closing down the highway. The original lineup reformed in the studio with a little push from Phil Harris and Don Herron to record this song for the project. This track documents their first recording together with the original lineup since 2001. Founded in 1993, the band originally comprised Gary Bennett (vocals, guitar), Don Herron (steel guitar, dobro, fiddle, mandolin, acoustic guitar), “Smilin’” Jay McDowell (upright bass), Chuck Mead (vocals, guitar), and “Hawk” Shaw Wilson (drums, vocals). BR5-49 has released 8 records, including three albums on Arista Nashville and two on Dualtone Records. The band’s self-titled debut album produced three singles on the Billboard Country charts in 1996. The band was nominated for 3 Grammy Awards. They may just be the best band to ever come out of Nashville. Long Live BR5-49.

Sam Bush
He’s the founder of the genre-bending New Grass Revival and one of Nashville’s most in-demand musicians who has played with everyone from Emmylou Harris and Bela Fleck to Charlie Haden, Lyle Lovett and Garth Brooks. Bush is best known for his jaw-dropping skills on the mandolin, but he is also a three time national junior fiddle champion, grammy winner, and has been honored by the Americana Music Association and the International Bluegrass Music Association. There is also a growing group of mandolin players that identify Bush as their musical role model in much the same way he idolized Bill Monroe and Jethro Burns. Bush has helped to expand the horizons of bluegrass music, fusing it with jazz, rock, blues, funk and other styles. Sam is a true musical legend.

David Mayfield Parade
Growing up in Kent, Ohio, David was surrounded by Bluegrass music. At the age of twelve he was playing bass for the family band, traveling from festival to festival, along with his younger sister, noted songstress, Jessica Lea Mayfield. By the time he was a teenager, Mayfield had already won several national awards for his guitar and mandolin playing. Shortly after moving to Nashville, David began a stint of all night “gun-for-hire” gigs in the tourist filled honky-tonks that line downtown. Mayfield also went on the road as a sideman with country hit maker Andy Griggs, eventually landing several appearances on the Grand Ole Opry. He did several years more years duty as a sideman with his sister and later with folk rock favorites Cadillac Sky, whose last album “Letters In The Deep” was produced by Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys. His sideman role is just one of the many musical paths this Grammy-nominated artist has journeyed, all while writing and performing his own songs. The Avett Brothers took notice of Mayfield’s musicianship and the three quickly developed a friendship, leading them to invite David to tour with them for a number of high profile sets. After urging him more and more to make a record of his own, when he took to the studio the Avett’s were quick to lend their voices. David Mayfield Parade is the culmination of that encouragement. The music and showmanship reflects the numerous influences that come from a lifetime of being immersed in American music and channeling its unique forms with sincerity and celebration from the howl of early rock-n-roll, to the low lonesome twang of folk and country with a voice that is all at once heartbreaking and inherently hopeful.

Mike Farris
In music there are those special artists that seem to transcend genre and defy categorization. From time to time one hears a voice that can stop you dead in your tracks and shake your very foundation to the core. Mike Farris is that artist and he has that voice. He formed his first group, The Screamin’ Cheetah Willies, in 1990 and they released three major-label albums and had sustained success on the U.S. rock charts in the 1990s. In June of 2007, Farris released the critically acclaimed Salvation in Lights, which married old time roots gospel sounds with his own unique arrangements inspired by New Orleans, Stax Records, and The Blues. The music was both spiritual and personal for Mike as it dealt with individual struggle, but it also had a commonality that music fans from all walks of life could enjoy. In 2008 he won the Americana Music Association’s “New & Emerging Artist of the Year” award and started to make a name for himself as a dynamic performer. Mike continues to amaze audiences, whether it’s a solo performance or with any one of his many configurations. His voice connects and mesmerizes in such a way that it does not matter if the songs are his own compositions or from 200 years ago. As Mike puts it: “this music…. it’s so beyond us, we only perpetuate it…we are just cooks in the kitchen.”

Kenny Vaughan
Long one of Nashville’s secret weapons and top session musicians, guitarist Kenny Vaughan blends retro country, jazz, the blues, and more into a distinctive and stinging style that brightens and deepens seemingly any track he plays on. Vaughan grew up in Colorado, where he fell early under the spell and tutelage of another eclectic Colorado guitar player, Bill Frisell. But Vaughan had a restless spirit as a guitarist, and he eagerly took on any style, from punk, surf, and rock to pure country and bluegrass, and made it his own, playing seven nights a week in country dives and honky tonks before relocating to Nashville in the ’80s. He quickly became the go-to guitar master, working with dozens of top artists, including Lucinda Williams, Tim O’Brien, Rodney Crowell, and Kim Richey. Kenny is easily one of Nashville’s best musicians, and he truly enjoys his longtime day job as Cousin Kenny Vaughan in Marty Stuart’s Fabulous Superlatives.

Grace Adele
Imagine a perfect blend of Nashville and Vaudeville, incorporating sensibilities from Music City with Radio City, and you’ll find the dynamic front woman Grace Adele. With a distinct vintage style, Grace Adele sets her stage with traditional American roots drawn from classic country, western swing, bluegrass, folk, and contemporary indie rock. A native of Ohio, Grace Adele originally had her heart set on becoming a Rockette after years of classical training in ballet. Traveling between her hometown in Columbus to New York for auditions at Radio City Music Hall exhausted precious resources. The time she was at home, Grace Adele spent much of her time singing, eventually cuing a move to Music City. With the help of Keenan Wade, she assembled The Grand Band, a string band consisting of violin, double bass, guitar, and mandolin. With well over 100 tour dates a year, Grace Adele charms audiences from Columbus to Knoxville, Nashville to Asheville and many points between and beyond.

Ryan Cavanaugh
Discovered by guitar legend John McLaughlin in 2006, banjoist Ryan Cavanaugh has spent the last several years touring the international jazz scene with acclaimed saxophonist and Miles Davis alum, Bill Evans. Before performing and recording with greats like Sam Bush, Victor Wooten, Bela Fleck, and Robben Ford, Cavanaugh was champion of the Merlefest, Rockygrass, and Reno-Fest banjo contests. Ryan has released 2 records of his own, his first aimed at the bluegrass genre and his most recent work aimed at the modern jazz world. John Kelman notes: “Cavanaugh’s bluegrass credibility is undeniable but, while he’ll humbly tell you that he’s still got so much to learn, he’s already a remarkable jazz player.” Ryan is easily one the best banjo players to have ever touched the instrument.

Jack Pearson
Guitarist, singer, songwriter, producer, session-musician…this only begins to describe Jack Pearson. Although he may be best known as an A-list blues/rock lead and slide guitarist, Jack is also a soulful, creative songwriter and artist in his own right. His songs are moving and honest while his grooves make it hard to sit still for very long. During his 30+ year career he has mastered a wide range of instruments including electric, slide, acoustic and resonator guitar, mandolin, old time banjo and Hammond organ, which he incorporates into many musical styles such as blues & roots music; jazz & bebop; pop & rock; and bluegrass & country. His versatility and musicianship keep his live shows and recordings fresh and exciting. He has worked with such a diverse group of artists and musicians including The Allman Brothers Band (member from 1997-1999), Vince Gill, Gregg Allman, Jimmy Buffett, Tommy Emmanuel, Keb Mo’, Earl Scruggs, Amy Grant, Faith Hill, Ronnie Milsap, Gov’t Mule, Shelby Lynne, Bonnie Bramlett, Delbert McClinton, Kirk Whalum, and the list goes on and on.

Derek Hoke
It’s clear that Hoke and his band have been affected by the past years of playing week after week. Nashville has a way of doing that to a singer. A way of molding a voice around the lingering smoke and whiskey hanging in the air night after night. The songs, even the ballads, reach out and yearn for a late night in a dark room. Derek’s first love was the theatrics of KISS, but not until his grandfather planted the country music seed in his brain by playing it constantly while he was young. Not your dad’s country… your granddad’s country. The REAL country. Like most musicians, Derek has moved around quite a bit. While growing up in Florence, South Carolina, he cut his teeth playing guitar in bars around the state and later moved to Greenville, North Carolina where he worked in record shops and movie theaters, immersing himself in art and music. After a few visits to Nashville, Hoke decided to make the move. He slept on floors in crowded houses, played around town in almost every venue that would have him, went on tour working for Ricky Skaggs for three years and saw almost every state in the union. While these all seemed to sideline Derek on his way to becoming the artist he is these days, they were clearly important on his body of work and sound. He is a man that embodies his experience, both with his constant relationship to music and his travels in life. Hoke seems to have a masterful way of taking all those influences, those early Americana sounds of southern delta and Appalachia, and crafting something completely all his own.

Julie Lee
The versatile mezzo-soprano inhabits songs inspired by all forms of Americana music. Her music steps the listener back in time to a period where everything had so much more sentiment. As songwriter, her songs have been recorded by Alison Krauss, Pam Tillis, Ron Block, Mark Erelli and more. Julie is also a well established visual artist and has actually been doing that longer than she’s been a tunesmith. Those two lives have remained mostly separate until a mysterious scrap of paper she used in one of her art pieces inspired the beginnings of a song. Her newest project, Julie Lee & The Baby Daddies was produced and engineered by Phil Harris at PH Balanced Recordings in 2011. Lee has toured extensively as a solo artist in Europe and in the States, had several publishing and record deals, released 6 albums, and made a humble living as an artist extraordinaire.

Rod McGaha
A past winner of the Louis Armstrong Jazz Award for Outstanding Jazz Trumpeter and the Oak Lawn Jazz Festival All Star Award, McGaha has joined the ranks of some of the most promising up and coming jazz players today. McGaha is an artist able to bring many gifts to his music. As a trumpeter, composer, vocalist, lyricist and producer, McGaha is unique in his ability to combine a wide variety of influences into an eclectic, globally conscious blend which rings totally fresh. Raised in Chicago, McGaha’s father was a huge jazz buff who turned him on to Miles and Louis Armstrong at an early age, He began playing both guitar and trumpet around fourth grade, but eventually focused on the horn due to a high school teacher’s great influence. After playing in numerous school bands and clubs around town, McGaha began his professional career right out of high school touring with the Duke of Earl himself, Gene Chandler. Later, while attending Northeastern University in Chicago and then DePaul University on scholarship, his eyes were opened to traditional jazz for the first time. Famed trumpeter Clark Terry (who played with Duke Ellington and Count Basie) discovered McGaha at a local festival and took the young performer under his wing. While McGaha’s extensive resume as a sideman includes gigs and tours with top pop and soul names like Kenny Rogers, Bebe and Cece Winans, The O’Jays, Take 6 and Lou Rawls, he is also a highly decorated jazz performer. His song “Wish I Knew” was recorded by Shelby Lynne and is featured in the movie “Two If By Sea”. McGaha has played his music all over the world, with stops in Egypt, Nigeria, Europe and Japan. Nashville is very lucky to be able claim him as our own now.

Jeff & Vida
Hurricane Katrina brought Jeff and Vida to Nashville in 2005. They seamlessly fit in to our city’s rich musical fabric and haven’t looked back since. Jeff & Vida’s decade of performing and songwriting, have seen them delve into many different genres of music; country, honky-tonk, rockabilly, even a little rock and roll. But throughout their career, which has included four critically acclaimed albums, literally thousands of live shows in the U.S. and Europe, bluegrass has remained a key influence in their style and sound. Jeff & Vida met in NYC in 1997, but soon left for New Orleans where they began writing and performing together on a regular basis. They quickly became a force on the New Orleans music scene, winning multiple awards and building a solid following among fans and critics alike. Since the move to Nashville, they have performed at the Ryman Auditorium and were featured in a New York Times article alongside fellow East Nashvillians Old Crow, Gillian Welch, and Todd Snider. It’s clear their music is welcome wherever they choose to hang their hats.

Stephen Mougin
Stephen has been touring as vocalist, acoustic and electric guitar player in the Sam Bush Band since 2006. During the down time, he tours and records in a duo with Ned Luberecki called “Nedski and Mojo”. As Dark Shadow Recording’s owner/producer/engineer, Mougin records full length albums, demos and educational products including the critically acclaimed Dark Shadow Recording – Bluegrass Harmony series. Stephen is a private instructor of voice, guitar and mandolin as well as directing workshops and band coachings. He is a certified educator in Massachusetts and Tennessee, holding a degree in Vocal Music Education from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

Tyson Rogers
Pitchfork Magazine called Tyson Rogers “a wayfaring keyboard wrangler” for his wide range of musical styles, ranging from americana to classical and for performances spanning the North Sea Jazz Festival to the Grand Ole Opry. Recent projects include work with Tony Joe White, Chris Stamey, and Yo La Tengo, as well as numerous tours with country legend Don Williams. Tyson’s own compositions have earned him critical acclaim including spots on Downbeat Magazine’s Best Of CD’s for 2005 and 2007.

The Blow Jays
The Blow Jays are an up and coming band based in Nashville, TN. Their original mix of New Orleans style funk, heavy psychedelic blues rock, and rebel country, is informed by members with eclectic musical backgrounds and experience. Consisting of Ethan Ballinger on guitar, Ben DeBerry on bass, and Jon Radford on drums, they have each honed their crafts on the road as highly in-demand session and touring musicians. Together as The Blow Jays they make glorious noise while stretching out on both originals and choice cover tunes ranging from Funkadelic to Freddie King to John Prine. Formed after they met playing in bluegrass bands, The Blow Jays are a pure outlet for exploration, as they play with an infectious and often reckless energy where anything is bound to happen. With a sound somewhere between The Meters, early Sabbath and the Band of Gypsies, The Blow Jays are an exciting live force not to be missed.

Off The Wagon
For nearly a decade, Off The Wagon has enjoyed playing bluegrass music for audiences in Nashville and beyond. Featuring a steady rotation of songs by both classic and lesser-known names in bluegrass, the band cut its teeth on the stage of the world-famous Station Inn and other local venues. The bands current lineup (all East Nashvillians) includes Nate Shuppert (Bass/Vocals), TJ Stamm (Rhythm Guitar/Vocals), Michael Jezewski (Lead Guitar/Vocals), Josh Brand (Banjo), David Price (Mandolin) Gabe Martin (Fiddle). Off The Wagon continues to grow and delight audiences with favorite bluegrass standards, deeper cuts, and original tunes that put the band’s unique stamp on the traditional bluegrass sound.

Grant Farm
Tyler Grant is the driving force behind the new band project Grant Farm. The versatile guitarist and multi-instrumentalist has a wide range of musical expertise. He is an internationally recognized guitar virtuoso with two solo albums and an impressive resume as a session musician, sideman, and bandleader. Tyler toured for 5 years with the Drew Emmitt Band and the Emmitt-Nershi Band, featuring the frontmen from two of the world’s most popular jambands: Leftover Salmon and the String Cheese Incident. Tyler took first place honors at the Rockygrass guitar contest in 2003, the Wayne Henderson festival contest in 2005, New England Flatpicking Championship in 2008, Doc Watson Guitar Championship at Merlefest in 2009, and became the National Flatpicking Champion for placing first at Winfield in 2008. He has been featured in Acoustic Guitar Magazine, Flatpicking Guitar Magazine and Fingerstyle Guitar Magazine. Originally from San Diego, Tyler spent many years making East Nashville his home before recently moving to Lyons, Colorado to create his new band project, Grant Farm. Tyler has shared the stage with such luminaries as Tony Rice, Trey Anastasio, Sam Bush, Tim O’Brien, Jerry Douglas, Chris Thile, John Oates, Steve Kaufman, Leftover Salmon, Yonder Mountain String Band and The String Cheese Incident.

Buddy Spicher
A true Nashville legend. He joined the WWVA Jamboree, in Wheeling, West Virginia in the 1950’s and shortly thereafter came to Nashville to work with Hank Williams Jr. Buddy has played with all of the greats of Country’s golden age including Hank Snow, Webb Pierce, Willie Nelson, Faron Young, Ray Price, Kitty Wells, Loretta Lynn and Crystal Gayle. In the 1960’s he became a part of the infamous “Nashville Sound” and has recorded for Elvis Presley, Lucille Ball, Tennessee Ernie Ford, Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Henry Mancini, Dolly Parton and countless others. He has remained an in-demand studio musician for over 50 years. His band, Area Code 615, which consisted of Nashville’s top studio musicians won a Grammy for their efforts. Buddy has numerous album releases of his own, including American Sampler, Me and My Heros, Buddies, Supercord and the Neophonic String Band and The Great American Fiddle Collection. All in all, Buddy has participated in over 3,000 recordings. Much sought after as a teacher, Buddy has been a master teacher at fiddle camps, seminars, colleges and at his recent partnership with East Nashville’s own, The Fiddle House.

Brian & Nicki Christianson
In early 2011, this husband and wife duo started the Fiddle House, a Luthier shop and performance space in East Nashville. Brian received his degree in String Instrument Repair in 2000 from the Minnesota State Technical College in Red Wing, MN and subsequently moved to Nashville to work as a luthier with Fred Carpenter at the Violin Shop. Over the years, Brian has honed his skills and become one of the most in-demand  luthiers in the world. He wears many hats, but he is a fiddler at heart and you can find him shredding bow hair most weekends on the Grand Ole Opry playing with Mike Snider or at many of the jams he and Nicki host at the Fiddle House during the week.

Jen Duke
Southern girls have it so good, since they’re usually beautiful, fun and have that irresistible drawl where they can tell you to f–k off and make it sound like you’re getting an extra piece of pie, with ice cream on top. Throw in a little talent, maybe some long legs or soft curves, and you can kiss your composure goodbye. Then there’s Jen Duke. With the voice of an Angel and the wiles of a Siren, she’ll lure you in with buttery purrs and the distant memories of smoky shadows, dirt roads and honky tonks. Born into music in New Orleans, Jen was joining in with her piano-playing Grandmother as soon as she could speak. Always singing, playing and listening. The sounds of the brass bands and bayous slowly seeped into her vernacular. In a town where music is always in the air, she soaked up a diversity of influences from street musicians on washboards and whistles to Django-jazz and Delta blues. She was sought out for her sweet tone and quick pickup, and did studio work with the Red Stick Ramblers and Derek Hoke. She found her voice in the Deep South, but made it heard in Nashville. In a town filled with blind faith and hard luck, she shone, and wove her spell as soon as she started singing. Here’s her magic: You hear her dusky drawl and expect something low and lonesome, then out comes a bell-clear note of joy and laughter and happiness, a note that soars with the angels, sweet and sustained, then just as fast drops, deep and dark, and you’re against the shoals staring at the Siren. Her vocal range is remarkable, strong and sultry, light and lovely, and as changeable as the Southern girl she is.

The Danberrys
Whether one calls it kismet or destiny, some things are just meant to be, like The Danberrys. Dorothy Daniel and Ben DeBerry both began to learn music around the age of ten and later joined talents when they met in high school in 1997. They dated through their first two years of college and then after four years, Dorothy and Ben went their separate ways. Five years later they realized they never should have never parted. They were married in October 2006. Ben had several years experience of leading bands with his sizzling guitar and laid-back lyricism when Dorothy joined his projects as a guest vocalist in 2007. It soon became evident that the duo deserved a life of its own and The Danberrys were born. Drawing deep from the blues, folk, bluegrass and soul/funk traditions, the Danberrys deliver inspired original tunes featuring strong harmonies and dynamic musicianship. Their engaging live shows are always energetic and soul-filled affairs with a healthy dose of improvisation and an emphasis on having a Danberry good time!

Todd Grebe & Cold Country
Inspired by the Grateful Dead, Todd began playing guitar as a teenager…. which in turn led to his discovery of bluegrass music. Channeling the spirit of heroes such as Jimmy Martin, Jerry Garcia, and Johnny Cash, it wasn’t long before Todd began crafting his own original compositions. As he felt confined by the limitations of the traditional bluegrass format, he sought a more versatile acoustic sound to compliment his vocal abilities and lyrical themes. While incorporating noticeable elements of bluegrass such as drive and harmonization, this new configuration allowed the dynamic room to experiment with honky-tonk and country stylings as well. In homage to his Alaskan roots, he billed the group as Todd Grebe & Cold Country, releasing a self-titled debut album in 2008 that featured all original material and garnered critical acclaim in Alaska and beyond. In 2010, Todd moved to Nashville to join with longtime friends as a full time member in the newgrass group Bearfoot. Influenced by the musical landscape of his adoptive home town and inspired by the many talented musicians of the area, he soon had enough material to complete another album, this time with legendary Nashville engineer David “Ferg” Ferguson. The current version of Cold Country features Angela Oudean (fiddle), David Long (mandolin), Josh Brand (banjo), and Mike Bub. They are poised to make their mark on an unsuspecting Americana roots music scene.

Billy & Amanda Contreras
Originally from Canada, Amanda Contreras is a vocalist, musician, and lyricist with tremendous style and range. Her lyrical, breezy voice wraps around jazz, pop and Americana songs with equal ease and skill. Patrons of Music at the Frist or Mad Donnas are likely familiar with Amanda from her residency appearances there and with talented husband, multi-instrumentalist Billy Contreras. Amanda and Billy also perform regularly together in clubs and at festivals all over the US. Billy Contreras is easily one of the most talented virtuosos and composers that Nashville has ever produced. He has a seemingly endless supply of creativity and natural talent for any instrument or type of music he is working on. He is comfortable in any genre, but his jazz violin skills are awe-inspiring and has earned a loyal following of students yearning to pick up some of that technique. Billy has most recently recorded with Hank Williams III, Charlie Louvin, and Candy Staten. Billy performed at Bonnaroo and the Ryman Auditorium with The Black Lillies and is featured on both of their albums with his brother Cruz Contreras. Billy has toured with The Deadly Gentlemen performing on stage with David Grisman and Mark O’Connor, as well as Ray Price. Billy is currently on tour with the legendary George Jones and when back home in Nashville, he is busy working with Phil Harris on his next solo album.

Brazilbilly / Jesse Lee Jones
Jesse Lee Jones is the proprietor of Robert’s Western World and the leader of its house band, Brazilbilly. Jesse Lee was born and raised in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Growing up in one of the world’s largest cities, he was influenced by an incredible and eclectic repertoire of musical styles. After he discovered traditional black gospel, hillbilly country and rockabilly music, Jesse Lee longed to pursue a music career in America. Jesse immigrated to the U.S. in 1984 and, after a long and rocky journey, he found himself in Peoria, Illinois. Robbed of his belongings on a Greyhound bus and unable to speak English, Jesse Lee was taken in by a family associated with his church. He worked hard babysitting, cooking, cleaning and doing other household work in exchange for room and board. He learned English watching Sesame Street with the family’s children. Playing gigs on his off time, he quickly became a local nightclub favorite, but his most memorable performance was when he lead a courtroom of new Americans singing “America the Beautiful” the day he became a U.S. citizen. Jesse Lee moved to Nashville and worked on the difficult task of making a name for himself in Music City. It was Robert Moore, founder of Robert’s Western World, who first recognized his potential and booked him to play there in the spring of 1995. At the time, Robert’s house band, BR5-49, was gaining national attention. It was the members of BR-549 who first called Jesse Lee the “Brazilian Hillbilly.” He instantaneously became known as Brazilbilly. In the years since Brazilbilly was born, the band has gained much popularity and recognition playing as the house band at Robert’s Western World. You can find them every Friday and Saturday night at Robert’s doing the 10pm-2am anchor slot. Jesse Lee’s mission as a singer is to keep traditional country music alive. He describes his style as “traditional country music with a Latin flair” and his days of listening to Marty Robbins, Hank Williams, Elvis, Frank Sinatra, and the Beatles, definitely reflect in this style.