Made to Last
The Alan Munde Gazette Alan Munde, long regarded as one of the world's foremost 5-string banjo players, has returned as a bluegrass band leader. Joining Alan in The Alan Munde Gazette are some of the finest pickers and singers in the Southwest - Elliott Rogers, Bill Honker, Steve Smith, and Nate Lee. The music they produce is just what you'd expect from this group of talented, creative, and experienced musicians - stellar instrumentation, a mixture of traditional and original material, and outstanding vocals - all driven by air-tight rhythm and Alan's trademark banjo playing. The band brings you true bluegrass and original acoustic music with heart and soul, delivered in a powerful, straight-ahead style which is both compelling and entertaining. Alan Munde - banjo Alan Munde needs no introduction to long-time bluegrass fans. From his early creative work with Sam Bush in Poor Richard's Almanac to his traditional bluegrass pprenticeship with Jimmy Martin and the Sunny Mountain Boys to his 21-year stint anchoring the landmark Country Gazette, Alan has blazed a trail as one of the most innovative and influential banjo players of all time. Along the way, Alan also recorded and contributed to numerous instrumental recordings, including the 2001 IBMA Instrumental Album of the Year - Knee Deep in Bluegrass. Alan has supplemented his recorded work with several instructional publications for the banjo, and for 21 years Alan taught bluegrass and country music at South Plains College in Levelland, Texas, a program which has produced many professional musicians nationwide. Alan's extensive body of recorded work, his instructional materials, and his work at South Plains (including the annual Camp Bluegrass) solidified his status as one of the true "gurus" of the 5-string. Elliott Rogers - guitar, vocals Elliott Rogers was born in Osceola, Arkansas and grew up in Albuquerque NM. He fell in love with bluegrass music at an early age by hearing local bands like the Big River Boys and the Clear Ditch Ramblers. His trio in high school opened for Doc Watson. "That was a mighty big deal for me and pointed me in the direction I took with music." That path led Elliott to Austin, Texas after a hitch in the Army at Fort Hood. There he worked for years with songwriters Townes Van Zandt, George Ensle, and Blaze Foley, and recorded with Lyle Lovett, Nancy Griffith and Robert Earl Keen on Robert's first album, 'No Kinda Dancer'. Elliott brings driving guitar, commanding lead and harmony vocals, and contributes original material to the Gazette. Bill Honker - bass, vocals Bill Honker was born in Pennsylvania, but spent his formative years in Alan's hometown, Norman, Oklahoma. His interest in bluegrass music developed while in high school and college in the Norman/Oklahoma City area, which was rich with acoustic players. After playing with a Norman band in the early 70s, Bill moved to Dallas in 1975 and was a member of a series of north Texas bands, including Roanoke, Lone Star Grass, the memorably named "Grounds for Divorce," and the Stone Mountain Boys. He joined with Billy Joe Foster and Phill Elliott to re-form the Special Edition in 1996. Bill has taught bluegrass bass at Camp Bluegrass many years, as well as at other camps and workshops. Bill is also a songwriter and occasionally performs as a solo act, playing original material. He has received several songwriting awards and was a featured regional artist at the Kerrville Folk Festival in 1996 and 2005. Bill plays bass, sings lead and harmony vocals, and contributes original material to the group. Nate Lee, fiddle, vocals Nate Lee brings a youthful energy to the "old souls" of the band. Like Steve, Nate was born in Virginia, but moved to Texas when he was four years old. Growing up in a musical family in Ovilla, Texas (Nate's father is banjo maker Chuck Lee), Nate started playing fiddle at the age of ten. He took lessons from Valerie O'Brien and gained valuable experience in Texas old-time contest fiddling. He cites his influences as Terry Morris, Jim "Texas Shorty" Chancellor, Sam Bush, Byron Berline, and Casey Driessen. Nate plays fiddle and sings harmony vocals with the Gazette. Steve Smith - mandolin, vocals Steve Smith is a musician, composer, performer, and teacher. His music reflects the many influences in his life, from his beginnings in Virginia as the son of a musician to his current home in the desert southwest (Las Cruces, New Mexico). You can observe these influences in his musical compositions, performances and multi-instrumental prowess as he conquers everything from bluegrass and old-time, to jazz, chamber, Celtic and New Age music. Steve has performed professionally for over 25 years and has toured in 47 states, 8 European countries, Cuba, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. He has appeared in the national touring company cast of the Harry Chapin musical "Cotton Patch Gospel" as an actor and multi-instrumentalist. He is founder and leader of the old-time, retro-bluegrass, modern acoustic band Steve Smith and Hard Road. Steve has shared the stage with Robin and Linda Williams, Jim Hurst and Missy Raines, Stephen Bennett, Bill Evans, Charlie Provenza, Nosostros, Eliza Gilkyson, Anna Egge, Peter Rowan, Tony Rice, Tony Trischka, Eddie and Martha Adcock, Hot Rize, New Grass Revival, Allison Krauss, Ed Gerhardt, Bill Monroe, and Curt Warren. He is a former member of the group Cloud Valley and the Nothin' Doin' band. Steve plays mandolin, sings lead and harmony vocals, and contributes original material to the group.