The Grass Less Traveled was formed in 2002, and is a mixture of traditional and contemporary bluegrass along with a dash of country, mountain, and Irish music. Let’s just say we are not your father’s bluegrass band. Mike Gibson sings lead and plays the doghouse bass for the band. Mike started performing at a very early age in the country music capital of the West Coast, Bakersfield, California. He appeared regularly on the Jimmy Thomason Show, the same show that featured Merle Haggard and Buck Owens. Mike grew up in the business, as an adult he was the front man for a very successful country gospel band, The Free Spirit Band. Later he found and fell in love with the great bluegrass sound. Mike brings a cross of country and blues to traditional bluegrass, using it to create a very unique bluegrass sound. Mike’s early influences included Merle Haggard and George Jones, and later Mac Wiseman and the great Flatt and Scruggs. Tony Pires has been playing music for almost thirty years. Tony started out as a jazz guitarist. In 1982, he heard his first David Grissman album, which bridged the gap between jazz and bluegrass. A short time later, Tony found his true musical calling when he purchased his first mandolin. His early influences included Tony Rice, Sam Bush, and Bela Fleck. As Tony’s traditional side came into play, he became more influenced by pioneer bluegrass legends such as Bill Monroe and Jesse McReynolds. Tony has played with several very popular bands in Northern California, including Cedar Grove and Ground Speed. His jazz influenced inflections, hot licks and velvet harmonies have made him one of the most well known bluegrass musicians in the Central Valley. Doug Carlton has been playing bluegrass guitar around California for more than twenty years. Doug’s musical influences include modern bluegrass players such as Tony Rice and Kenny Smith, as well as the more traditional sounds of Lester Flatt and Carter Stanley. Prior to playing in The Grass Less Traveled, he was a member of the String Bandits. In addition to Doug’s phenomenal guitar playing and songwriting, he provides tenor vocals for that High Lonesome Sound. Dave Kyle is a born and bred North Carolina boy. He was raised in Winston-Salem and plays 5-string banjo for The Grass Less Traveled. Dave has been playing banjo for 35 years and has been involved in many popular Bluegrass groups. His musical influences range from Earl Scruggs to the Beatles, and so too does his musical repertoire. Dave brings to the band a wonderful diversity and his unique vocal style makes him a true original. His hot banjo playing, brings fire and life to the group, and is always a crowd favorite.
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