Roaring out of Oklahoma with a ferocious energy and musicianship that belies their years, the members of Rockin’ Acoustic Circus have become the most exciting new act on the acoustic-music scene. Already a favorite on the regional festival circuit – with enthusiastically received appearances at Branson, MO’s Silver Dollar City and on stage during Acoustic Kids at the Walnut Valley Festival in Winfield, KS, among many others – the Circus is now poised to go national, taking their fresh acoustic blend of bluegrass, country, swing and other genres of music to a whole new set of venues and audiences.
“These kids are open to all styles of music,” says veteran instrumentalist Rick Morton, guitarist and ringmaster with Rockin’ Acoustic Circus. “They’re hard working -- eager to learn and eager to play. What they do has a whole different feel to it -- a different sound.”
Morton is not a man who’s easily impressed. After all, he was a part of Ronnie Dunn’s award-winning band, just prior to Dunn’s joining with Kix Brooks to form the most successful country-music duo of all time. Morton was also a member of the multimillion-selling recording act, The Tractors, whose Grammy-nominated multiplatinum album made the fastest-selling country music debut in history.
However, he’s hardly the only Circus member with entertainment credentials. They may not have the years of experience Morton has, but all of them have spent a good portion of their young lives entertaining people with their musical talent.
Mandolinist Sterling Abernathy, for instance, has not only received awards for his playing, but for his compositions as well.
Banjo player Carson Clemishire impressed Morton so much during a fiddler’s convention in Branson that Morton asked him to join the group.
Fiddler-vocalist Eric Dysart is a multiple Oklahoma Junior State Fiddle Champion and a Top 10 finalist in the Nashville-based National Grand Masters Fiddle Championship.
Siblings Zac (upright bass) and Emma Hardin (cello) are classically trained members of the Tulsa Youth Symphony who also attend the prestigious Barthlemes Conservatory of Music.
Now, all five of these young powerhouse teens – along with the man who’s been teaching them for years not only about the music but the music business as well – have merged into one impressive band, one that can take a harmony-laden classic-country song like Sweet Memories,” a contemporary country hit like “Life Is A Highway,” a bluegrass standard like “High Lonesome Sound” and even a swinging riff number like “Foggy Mountain Special” (they call it Banjo Boogie), and put it’s unique acoustic stamp on each one. Plus, the group members are busy crafting several original tunes and instrumentals to add to their already impressive repertoire.
“I’m really focused, and they’re really focused, on the notes they’re playing and how they’re playing them,” observes Morton. “Right now it’s about the music, about taking our opportunities to go play, play well, and have fun at it.”
These days, every one of those opportunities creates more buzz. As Rockin’ Acoustic Circus continues playing well, having fun, and winning the affection of many new fans, this talented group and their mentor head toward a real shot at national stardom.