The Redeye Ramblers came together in the fall of 2006. A few old friends getting together to pick a little bluegrass and the next thing you know we’re
putting out a CD! We really had no idea this was where our efforts would end up.
Growing up in Salisbury, North Carolina, I heard “hillbilly music” once in a while, but I really became interested in bluegrass while living in the Washington, D.C., area in the mid 1970’s. You could go out to hear the Seldom Scene, the Country Gentlemen, and the Johnson Mountain Boys playing in the clubs up there about any time you wanted to, and I fell in love with the music. I started learning guitar at that time, and played with my first bluegrass group in the Chapel Hill area in the early 1980’s, the Piney Mountain Boys. But I basically gave up music when I joined a busy physician practice in Asheville, N.C.
In the fall of 2006, after a long hiatus from playing bluegrass, I called Mark Canter (bass) and Bob Reynolds (mandolin) to see about putting together a band. Mark was a Weaverville, N.C. native whom I had known for a long time, and Bob, originally from Alcoa, Tennessee, was another physician in Asheville who had played with bluegrass and country groups in the past. None of us had been playing much music for a number of years, however, due to the demands of our “day jobs.” Once we started practicing, we found we really enjoyed singing and playing together, and we decided to form a band. We all loved the traditional and gospel bluegrass music, and we also brought slightly different musical tastes and backgrounds to each other. Struggling with a name, we finally settled on “The Redeye Ramblers” because we were so old that our eyes would get red and irritated if we stayed up much past 9:30 at night!
In 2007, we were joined by Tom McKinney (banjo and vocals) and Lori Little (fiddle and vocals), both natives of Asheville. Tom is a highly regarded banjo picker in western North Carolina and had played for a number of top groups, including the Nashville Grass and the Shenandoah Cut-Ups. We managed to coax Tom out of retirement to play with us. His powerful Scruggs- style banjo playing can be appreciated on these selections. Lori has not only upgrades the appearance of our band but also adds her fine fiddle playing to our sound. As you will see when you listen, she has a truly beautiful and inspirational voice as well.
Our musical influences are those of the old masters, including Flatt and Scruggs, Bill Monroe, and the Stanley Brothers, as well as more recent influences. The wonderful lead and tenor singing of Russell Moore has had a major influence on me.
We love performing our music for bluegrass fans in local venues and in churches. We derive great joy playing Gospel bluegrass, as it captures the traditional harmonies and rhythms so well. The title cut, He Opened My Eyes, our only original tune on this CD, is really an expression of my spiritual journey over the last several years.
We are fortunate to have a lot of loyal friends and fans in western North Carolina who have supported us through our live performances, and we would like to thank them. We would like to thank our families who have encouraged and supported us in our efforts. We would also like to thank Eddie Swann at Regal Music Group who masterfully led us through the often-tiresome process of recording, editing, and producing this collection of songs. For me, as well as several of us, putting together a CD was an entirely new experience, and Eddie’s patience and competence has greatly enhanced the end product.
Finally, we acknowledge the presence of God in our lives as the giver of all of our creative gifts.
The Redeye Ramblers
Members of the Redeye Ramblers:
Bob Reynolds, mandolin, guitar; lead, baritone, and bass vocals
Tom McKinney, banjo; baritone and bass vocals
Mark Canter, acoustic bass; lead and baritone vocals
Lori Little, fiddle; lead and back up vocals
David Troxler, guitar; lead and tenor vocals