JOSH WILLIAMS Guitar & Vocals
IBMA 2008 Guitar Player of the Year is happier than ever working with his own band, and playing his own style of bluegrass music. Joshua Seth Williams was born on November 20, 1980 in Murray, Kentucky, the second son of Tony & Terri Williams. He and his older brother, Justin, were raised in a modest home in Benton, Kentucky, a small town in western Kentucky. His grandmother, the late Mary Neale Williams, was the first to notice Josh’s interest in music. Mary Neale was a gifted poet and vocalist who often entertained, in the western Kentucky area, at civic clubs and charitable functions. She would sing and accompany herself on the ukulele, but was also a competent guitar and mandolin player. She actually began Josh’s musical career by showing him how to play the ukulele when he was only five years old. A short time later, his dad began showing Josh some chords on the guitar. Josh’s family often had friends and relatives over to play music and sing in their home, and Josh always enjoyed these occasions. Josh actually started taking banjo lessons from western Kentucky legend, Scottie Henson, at the age of eight. Josh studied with Henson for approximately two years, all the while teaching himself to play mandolin, dobro, and guitar. Josh is now a competent player of all the bluegrass instruments. He successfully performed with his own band during high school, “High Gear”, as well as “Hyper Drive” with Scott and Chris Thile, and New Haven Records youth band “The Young Acoustic All-Stars”. After graduation from high school he spent five years on the road with “Special Consensus”, followed by four years of three hundred days per year touring with “The Rage”. Josh claims Doc Watson and Tony Rice as his biggest influences on guitar. Josh lives in Burns, TN, just outside Nashville.
JASON McKENDREE Banjo & Vocals
Jason McKendree grew up in western Kentucky, heavily influenced by music. Everybody in his family sang, beginning as children in local churches where each member learned the basics of harmony structure by learning many great gospel tunes. Jason was intrigued by bluegrass music at a young age and showed an interest in the banjo. His parents bought him his first banjo for Christmas in 1994, however, it was nearly 5 years later that he began to seriously learn the instrument. After being self-taught for about a year, Jason began taking lessons from western Kentucky legend, Scottie Henson. It was during this time that his family’s bluegrass band, “The McKendrees”, began performing at local jam sessions, festivals and churches. Jason developed his abilities as a banjo player, as well as a bass and baritone singer. “The McKendrees” have recorded two projects, “Travelin Back” and “He Leadeth Me”, the first of which was produced by Josh Williams. Josh has been a long time friend of the family and Jason was excited and honored to be asked to join the Josh Williams Band Jason has a Masters of Science Degree in Mathematics and is currently teaching math at Murray State University.
RANDY BARNES Bass & Vocals
Randy Barnes was born and raised in Richmond, KY but now makes his home in Mt. Juliet, TN with his wife and daughter. He is a multi-talented musician and has a natural ability to play any acoustical style music, specifically bluegrass, gospel and classic country. He has traveled extensively around the states as a youngster following after his father, Earl Barnes. Randy began his self-taught instrumental education at the age six. He first learned to play the banjo while his brother, Danny, learned the guitar. Once these instruments were mastered they in turn taught the other. The love of the music began to take a firm hold on Randy and his true aptitude for learning the music emerged. He continued to learn and excel with his artistic endeavors and with his self-motivated desires and over thirty years of experience, he has gone on to play with some very talented musicians. Randy’s ability to transport any band into solid exchanges of timing and tone has delivered respect from peers and fans alike. He has cultivated an ability to sing a multitude of vocal ranges to form the perfect harmony blend with any musical combination he has chosen to be a part of. He has combined his efforts on stage and in the studio with many exceptional peers such as Charlie Sizemore, Larry Stephenson, Lou Reid and Carolina, Rhonda Vincent and NFR to name but a few. Randy has now joined forces with the dynamic Josh Williams Band.