Brazilbilly – Robert’s world famous house band, Brazilbilly, was founded on the ideal of preserving traditional country music. Their sound, while traditional and country, is complemented by a Latin flair unique to the Nashville scene. They are fans and followers of the legendary artists that frequented the Lower Broadway honky tonk in the early years of country music. Click on “Brazilbilly” on the left menu to learn more about the band.
The Don Kelley Band – One of the longest running bands Music City, the Don Kelley band has been going strong since 1981. Don began playing at Robert’s in the mid-1990s. Along with BR-549, Don Kelley’s band helped turn Lower Broad around from it’s rundown days of peep shows and dilapidated clubs to a desirable tourist and local destination for music. Don Kelley is known for his ability to discover great new talent. Some of the best players who’ve been part of this band include Brent Mason, David Byrd, Paul Cook, Sid Hudson and Johnny Hiland. The current lineup is Dave Roe (bass), J.D. Simo (guitar), Artie Alinikoff (drums) and, of course, Don Kelley (rhythm and lead guitar).
Dave Cox – Since moving to Nashville in 2004, Dave Cox has worked hard to establish himself by penning and performing some of the most original music in a town where originality is becoming more and more rare. A true Americana artist, Dave performs regular weekly sets at Robert’s and fans from all over enjoy his unique brand of traditional country and roots music.
John Shepherd – John Shepherd has been playing music on Lower Broadway for nearly 40 years. He honed his talent playing the honky tonk circuit in the Rocky Mountain West, then came to Nashville in 1972. After spending time in the Navy, he met his wife Lois (a Nashville native), when she was booking bands at Naval bases around Pensacola. (Lois often joins John on stage recreating the soulful sounds of her honky tonk favorites, including Jan Howard and Dottie West.) In the late 70s and 80s, John and Lois were involved in the Broadway Revitalization Commission, a group of concerned citizens who worked hard to preserve Lower Broadway’s heritage and restore it from the decline it experienced in those decades. John performs a wide range of honky tonk favorites, including the music of Hank Williams, Marty Robbins and Jim Reeves. He is also known for being the voice of the famous Miller High Life Beer commercial, “If you’ve got the time, we’ve got the beer.”
David Tanner and Honky Tonk-O-Rama – Originally from New Harmony Indiana, David Tanner is a multi-talented musician. David plays upright bass, drums, guitar, banjo, and is an accomplished vocalist and songwriter. In addition to being a musician, David is also an attorney and prior to coming to Nashville, he practiced law in Posey County, Indiana as the chief deputy prosecutor for a year and then later as a criminal defense lawyer. In 2004 David sold his office – books, pencils, plastic flowers and all – in order to pursue a music career in Nashville.
Harry Fontana – Harry Fontana, a native of Helsinki, Finland, started his musical career at 7 years old. Inspired by the James Dean Movie “Rebel Without a Cause”, he formed his first professional band, The Thunderbirds, at 13. He first came to Nashville in 1992 where he formed the band Lonesome Train, who appeared at the Acuff Theater at Opryland. In 1994, he formed the Tennessee Toneboys, playing on Second Ave. on the street. He was recruited off Second Ave. and invited to the United Artists building on Music Square to sign a contract with Heaven Spun Records. Also in 1994 he formed the Harry Fontana Rockabilly Trio in Helsinki for overseas tours. In 2006 he was invited to appear on the Johnny Cash tribute album Train of Love, A Tribute to Johnny Cash, contributing his version of Get Rhythm. Harry has played regular shows on Lower Broadway in Nashville at Robert’s Western World, Layla’s Bluegrass Inn and Wolfies on Lower Broadway, as well as having appeared at Tootie’s Orchid Lounge, Legends, Blue Moon Saloon, as well a number of venues in Printers Alley, Second Ave. and all over Nashville.
Eileen Rose and The Silver Threads – Singer/songwriter Eileen Rose and her band The Silver Threads play classic honky tonk sets each week at Robert’s. Eileen sings the classic hits of some of country music’s great female stars including Patsy Cline, Brenda Lee, Connie Smith, Lynn Anderson, Loretta Lynn and Tammy Wynette. They play a true cross-section of honky tonk classics, mostly from the 50s and 60s. The Silver Threads band includes The Legendary Rich Gilbert (guitar), Nate Stalfa (drums), Aaron Oliva (upright bass) and often Joshua Headley joins in on fiddle.
The Travis Mann Band – Travis Mann and his band have been creating a craze on Nashville’s historic “Lower Broadway” since Mann’s arrival in 2005. If you are seeking a real, authentic, honky tonk experience, you will not be disappointed by this band’s true country sound. Some think these boys must have played their songs in another life because they seem to know something special about performing the musical style of a bygone era in their own unique way.
Scott Icenogle and A11 – Scott Icenogle says he was “born in a Honky Tonk and raised on a jukebox,” having been playing music since the tender age of 10. Back then he performed mostly in family venues and clubs, sometimes in the doorway because he was still a minor! He arrived in Nashville in 2003 and has been here ever since, primarily working clubs such as Robert’s Western World, The Wheel, Layla’s Bluegrass Inn and Full Moon Saloon with his band, A-11. He has also performed with several other bands on Lower Broadway, including The Don Kelley Band, Brazilbilly, Josh Hedley and The Travis Mann Band. Scott primarily plays stand up and Fender bass, but also plays guitar, banjo and mandolin.
Ike Jonson – Ike Jonson, the self-described “Gold Chain Troubadour,” grew up listening to the music of his parents, which was music by the stars of Country’s Golden Era. Now, here he is in Nashville performing that very same music. In an era of call-anything-you-want “country”, Ike and his band consider themselves “Knights Templar of Country Music.” They are country to the bone and will remain that way, preserving songs, sounds and artists from certain oblivion. They are the “real-deal” – honky tonk country musicians like those from the 30s, 40s and 50s playing in a 21st century world. Sincerity is the key! Whether they are performing original material that flows seamlessly with the sounds from that era or cover songs dug from obscurity, it quickly becomes apparent that they aren’t pretenders.
John England and the Western Swingers – John England & the Western Swingers is a six-piece band based playing the lively, happy music called Western Swing. Western Swing originally developed in Texas and Oklahoma during the 1930s. With fiddle, steel guitar, piano, electric guitar, bass, and drums, it’s music for dancing and listening, and combines the down-home quality of country music with the sophistication and improvisation of hot jazz. The group have been playing their upbeat sets at Robert’s Western World every Monday since July 2001.
Elio Giordano and the Hank Sinatra Band – When Elio Giordano performs, it’s obvious that he’s been influenced by two of musics greatest icons – Hank Williams and Frank Sinatra. Joined by his Hank Sinatra band, Elio brings his own unique style and flavor to the traditional country favorites that crowds at Robert’s know and love. Apart from Hank and Frank, another of Elio’s musical influences is Grammy-winning Nashville artist Raul Malo.
The Chris Casello Trio – Michigan native Chris Casello has been playing music all of his life. He toured the USA in a van from 1998-2005 with his band, The Starlight Drifters, but these days he makes his home in Nashville. Chris sings, plays steel and guitar with lots of theatrical enthusiasm. His current band, The Chris Casello Trio, is a roots combo musical group specializing in blues, swing and hillbilly music. The combo has played all around the country but can usually be seen every Sunday at Robert’s.
DB Harris and his Men of Action – Birmingham native DB Harris has a fascination with the 1960s and an obsession with recreating that era’s music. His sound and style has been called a blend of Dwight Yoakum, Chris Isaak and Raul Malo.
Rachael Hester and the Tennessee Walkers are Rachael Hester, Hoot Hester, Ben Hall, Brad Albin, and John McTigue III. They keep traditional country music alive by performing the classics, along with the occasional original song. Native Nashvillian Rachael Hester sings with a uniquely pure country voice while performing from the greatest of country and western swing. Her father, Hoot Hester, who plays fiddle with her, raised her in the tradition of country music. As a Grand Ole Opry staff band member and former member of the staff band for the TV show Nashville Now, Hoot has played with almost every artist to come through Nashville and has recorded with countless more. Ben Hall may be young, but he plays the thumb style guitar like a seasoned veteran. Ben has performed and recorded with country music legend Charlie Louvin, and has played the Grand Ole Opry with Louvin, Jan Howard and Jeannie Seely. Brad Albin, who plays both electric and upright bass, has been seen playing with country artists Mandy Barnett, Joe Nichols, and Sons of The Pioneers. Brad is also very active in Nashville’s Musical Theatre community, including productions for the TN Representatives, Nashville Children’s Theatre and Ryman Auditorium. Drummer John McTigue III was a founding member of the well-known Nashville band Brazilbilly and was instrumental in putting a “Latin beat” behind the band’s traditional country and rockabilly sound. He has played with numerous artists, including Raul Malo, Charlie Louvin, Connie Smith, Dale Watson, and Wanda Jackson. You can see Rachael Hester and the Tennessee Walkers every Wednesday afternoon at Robert’s Western World!
Monte Good and the Honky Tonk Heroes – This traditional country music and Western swing group draws on the rich tradition of the Texas dance halls of yesteryear, combining world-class musicianship with true country music! The Honky-Tonk Heroes Band consists of top-notch musicians who have worked alongside some of the true greats of the country music world. Band leader Monte Good cut his teeth in the dance halls of his native state of Oklahoma, as well as Texas. After moving to Nashville, he was a steel guitarist for John Michael Montgomery, Sara Evans, Lila McCann and Neal McCoy. Guitarist James Mitchell is one of Nashville’s busiest session players, playing on albums for Alabama, Brooks and Dunn, Alan Jackson, Jamey Johnson and Easton Corbin. Steel guitar player Mike Sweeney has played with numerous country artists during his years in Nashville, including time on the road with the legendary Ray Price and with “The Voice” Vern Gosdin. Fiddler Johnny Carpenter has spent many years on the road performing with notable Nashville artists such as Tracy Byrd and Mark Chesnutt, as well as many other greats. Bass player Bill Cook has played with many artists over the years ranging from Grand Ole Opry members like Jim Ed Brown to Randy Travis. Drummer Willie Cantu was an original member of Buck Owens’s Buckaroos band, playing on such classic records as I’ve Got A Tiger By The Tail and Cryin’ Time. This incredible group of musicians continue to perform and record in Nashville and bring their style of country music to new fans each week. Check them out at Robert’s – you’ll be glad you did!
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