Hard driving bluegrass band, Wilson Banjo Co., have added a few new company members over the Winter as they prepare to turn out their sophomore release, this time on Pinecastle Records.
The band proudly welcomes Michael "Porkchop" Branch, bass player from Westminster, SC, Darryl Lesh, resonator guitar player from Westminster, SC, and Chesi Arnett, powerhouse vocalist from Paintsville, KY. The new band members join core mainstays, founder Steve WIlson on banjo, Joey Newton on guitar and vocals and Sarah Logan on fiddle and vocals.
"Porkchop" Branch may look and sound familiar to WBC fans due to prior appearance as the bass player on the band's SPIRITS IN THE HILLS release on Bonfire Records in October 2017. The core band members will admit that it is an incredible feeling to have him on board to truly harness the sound that he helped to create. While Branch has played with, filling in, the band quite a bit over the last year and a half, he just recently decided when they were heading back into the studio that he would love to be a part of the tour as well. Porkchop is a multi-instrumentalist who enjoys many genres of music, takes part in other local bands, as well as serves as Operations Manager for WLHR, 92.1 Lake Hartwell Public Radio.
Darryl Lesh grew up in the Fingerlakes Region of New York State listening to traditional bluegrass music. You could say it was in his blood as his Father and Brother were both fine Bluegrass musicians as well. Darryl started out playing guitar, but some years later attended a Jerry Douglas show and had acquired his first Dobro within a week following. Steve (Wilson) and Darryl played in many bands together in NYS and also worked construction together for a number of years. Darryl and his wife Tammy recently relocated to South Carolina to escape the harsh winters of the North country and hope to find more opportunities to play music, more often. Welcome home Darryl.
Chesi Arnett was born and raised in the heart of Kentucky, singing at county festivals since she was six years old. She was raised in a family of musicians, singers, and songwriters, but never really entertained the bluegrass genre until meeting her husband, Nathan Arnett. Nathan is the lead singer for bluegrass band, Turning Ground, which is how we were fortunate enough to meet Chesi. Thankfully, upon being thrown into the world of banjos and mandolins, Chesi developed a love for the culture and the meaning behind our music. Before bluegrass, Chesi enjoyed singing jazz, blues, and classic rock. Her biggest vocal inspirations are Stevie Nicks, Etta James, Sam Cooke, and Ella Fitzgerald. She hopes to use her love and knowledge from all of these music genres, and pour it into this new world of bluegrass that she has fallen in love with. We are excited at all the possibilites that Chesi's diverse vocal background brings to the band.
SPIRITS IN THE HILLS was a very successful first release for Wilson Banjo Co., serving as the first album, and band, launched by the brand new Bonfire Recording label, owned by Pinecastle Records, in 2017. The album includes the phenomenally successful, chart topper "Ain't No Grave", which went to number 1 on the Bluegrass Today Gospel Chart a number of times in 2018. Other songs charting from the album on various charts included "When He Reached Down His Hand For Me," "Her Sunday Best," "Thumbing Down From Richmond Town," "Catfish John," and the title track "Spirits in the Hills."
Stepping back into the studio this winter, the band is recording some very exciting original music from songwriters including, David Stewart, Donna Hughes, Nathan Arnett, Brink Brinkman, some penned by band members, and many more. There are also a couple of surprising classic covers that the band hopes will be extremely fun and nostalgic for the fans. Here's a sneak peak video they recently shared while arranging some new material:
Wilson Banjo Co. looks forward to bringing you this new record and is very proud to have each of these fine new artists on board. You can check the band out during the SPBGMA festivities in Nashville this February at their showcases. Please keep an eye on their growing 2019 tour schedule online.
Promoters can contact Melanie at Wilson Pickins Promotions to book the band for 2019-2020 and their music is available on Airplay Direct for radio programmers, and on all popular digital retail stores.