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Walnut Valley Festival, Winfield, Kansas
September 16—20, 2015

Brad Davis, Tim May & John Moore

Brad Davis, Tim May & John Moore
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Walnut Valley Performances

In Years Past

1 year: 2007

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Biography

Brad Davis, Tim May & John Moore

Brad Davis

Brad started classical guitar lessons in his hometown of Fort Worth, Texas at the age of five. Shortly after, his brother Greg started on the banjo. Brad realized then that he wanted to pick bluegrass music and so he traded the gut-string classical for a steel-string bluegrass guitar. He began studying the music styles of Flatt and Scruggs, Doc Watson, Norman Blake, Clarence White, Tony Rice, and any other bluegrass he could get his hands on. In 1973 Brad then fell in love with acoustic jazz or (as it is sometimes called) Dawg music.

In 1978 Brad and his brother Greg formed the bluegrass band Ten Degrees and recorded their first record. Ten Degrees hit the bluegrass festival circuit for a number of years. During that time Brad and Greg also performed as a Flatt and Scruggs duo at The Grapevine Opry, a local music theatre. The recording industry in the Dallas-Fort Worth area kept Brad very busy until 1986, when Gary Smith (Ricky Skaggs’s band leader) contacted Brad to join Ricky's hot country band. Excited, Brad wasted no time. He packed up and moved to Nashville Tennessee only to discover that the job was given to another musician. Scrambling for income to pay bills, Brad auditioned and secured a job as a roving fiddle and guitar minstrel at Opryland in Nashville.

Six months later he was offered the lead guitar job with Warner Bros recording artist the Forester Sisters, with whom he toured for five years. In 1992, MCA recording artist Marty Stuart offered Brad a job. Brad began his studio career with Stuart directing. After three years of whirlwind touring, Brad left Marty’s camp in 1994 for a year to tour and record with Sugar Hill recording artist Sweethearts of the Rodeo. With brother Greg now in Nashville, Brad formed the progressive bluegrass band wHITE wATER. In October of ’94 Brad recorded his first solo record and also co-produced a record for the brothers’ new group on Raisin' Cane records.

In November of 1997 Brad became a columnist for Flatpicking Guitar Magazine. In 1995 Marty Stuart contacted Brad about coming back to form a new band, the Rock and Roll Cowboys. During his involvement with the Rock and Roll Cowboys, Brad recorded with Willie Nelson, Pam Tillis, Dwight Yokem, Steve Earl, Travis Tritt, Emmy Lou Harris, Sheryl Crow, Warren Zevon, Joe Diffee, Mark Chestnut, Billy Bob Thornton, and many others. In 2001, while still with the Rock and Roll Cowboys, Brad joined the Earl Scruggs Family and Friends band. Brad recorded his second solo record, his first with FGM Records. Billy Bob Thornton asked if Brad would tour and record with his new rock band, and Brad accepted. In 2002 Brad left the Stuart fold, and in 2003 turned down a touring offer from the Dixie Chicks. But Brad did accept a job offer from mandolin legend Sam Bush, with whom he now tours year round. Brad also tours solo, promoting his new record I'm Not Gonna Let My Blues Bring Me Down on FGM Records.

Brad holds the patent to an amazing string bending device for the guitar called the Brad Bender. He is also the author of a line of music instructional courses distributed internationally by Mel Bay Productions, Inc. For the last seven years Brad has been a columnist for Flatpicking Guitar Magazine. He own band "wHITE wATER" debuted on the Bill Monroe portion of the Grand Ole Opry. wHITE wATER tours throughout the year and their "Dave Mathews"' brand of bluegrass has been blowing people out of their seats for some time now! Brad toured five years with Warner Bros. recording artist the Forester Sisters, two years with the Sweethearts of the Rodeo, and ten years with Marty Stuart. Brad currently tours with: Earl Scruggs, Sam Bush, and wHITE wATER.

Tim May

If you were not fortunate enough to have caught a show by the Nashville-based group Crucial Smith during its fifteen-year run, flatpicking guitarist Tim May has probably managed to fly under your flatpicking radar. If that is the case, then get ready for him to pop up on your screen and be added to your list of favorite flatpickers because he is starting to fly high. While Crucial Smith was active Tim turned down a number of high profile touring and recording opportunities because he wanted to focus on the band. When word got out in Nashville that the band had dissolved, the offers came pouring in and Tim has been a very busy flatpicker.

In the past couple of years he has toured with Patty Loveless, played on an all-star-cast Rounder project called Moody Bluegrass: A Nashville Tribute to he Moody Blues and recorded a bluegrass gospel project with Charlie Daniels. Additionally, FGM Records is getting ready to release Tim’s new solo CD and he is featured in a new FGM Records concert DVD with Brad Davis and Cody Kilby.

If you own the Flatpicking Favorites: Hot and Spicy CD and have listened to Cody Kilby and Tim May tear up “Lonesome Fiddle Blues,” you’ll know why Tim is now getting called to play so many prominent gigs in Nashville. As they say here in southwest Virginia, “The boy can pick!”

If you have listened to Crucial Smith’s music, either live or on CD, you may have assumed, like I did, that Tim grew up listening to and playing rock music as well as bluegrass and country. In the realm of bluegrass, the band was pretty progressive. When I sat down with Tim to conduct the nterview for this article, I found out that this was not the case. Tim May grew up in Mississippi playing the banjo in a family bluegrass band. Tim’s grandfather loved bluegrass and owned Bill Monroe records. His older brother, three years his senior, began learning how to play the banjo and guitar, but when he turned his full attention towards the guitar, Tim bought is brother’s banjo from him. Tim dove into learning how to play the banjo and a short time later the May family—with older brother Ben on guitar, Tim on banjo, Dad on vocals, and younger brother Riley on bass—formed a band. While Tim continued to play the banjo with the family band, he said, “I heard Tony Rice and Dan Crary playing the guitar and I had to learn how to do that!”

Soon after Crucial Smith broke up, Tim got the call to play with Patty Loveless. He stayed on the road with Patty for about a year to help her promote her Mountain Soul album. He also toured with her when she went out to promote her Christmas album. Additionally, Tim announced the formation of his new band, Tim May and Plaidgrass. Although some members of Crucial Smith are with him in Plaidgrass, Tim says, “It is a different direction musically. A lot of the songs that I have written are still there, but we play a lot more of the Celtic instrumental music.” Tim continues “Before Gretchen came to Crucial Smith I felt like our instrumentals were weak. We wrote so much vocal stuff that it was like we didn’t have the energy to write creative instrumental stuff. It was a shame because we all considered ourselves pickers as much as anything. When Gretchen came in the band, she brought in all of these great Celtic songs and Contra dance songs...just great stuff. So we began to play that and now Tim May and Plaidgrass has a heavier mix of instrumental stuff than we used to do with Crucial Smith.”

John Moore

In addition to being the mandolinist, guitarist and vocalist for BLUEGRASS ETC, John Moore was also the mandolinist with the internationally acclaimed band CALIFORNIA, the International Bluegrass Music Association’s 1992, 1993 and 1994 Instrumental Band of the Year. (See the cover story in the August 1992 issue of Bluegrass Unlimited Magazine). John’s musical performances have led him throughout the U.S. and Canada, Europe and Japan, as well as into the studio doing sessions for other artists.

John does radio and television commercials as well as movie sound tracks, including "Blaze" for Touchstone Pictures, "El Diablo" for HBO, "Christmas in Connecticut" in which he also appeared and "The Spitfire Grill" for Hallmark Hall Of Fame. John also recorded the soundtrack for, and appeared in the CBS Television Special "The Legend of the Beverly Hillbillies" in a four piece band along with Roy Clark, Byron Berline and Earl Scruggs. He recently recorded a Grammy nominated album with Byron Berline, Vince Gill, Bill Bryson, Dennis Caplinger, Rick Cunha and Jann Browne, and another with Mike Oldfield of "Tubular Bells" fame.

He recently appeared in the final episode of the second season of the HBO series "Deadwood", and in 2003 he appeared in a Television commercial for Cingular Wireless along with Dennis Caplinger, Bill Bryson, Herb Pedersen, Kenny Blackwell and Sara Watkins which aired nationwide for several weeks. John was featured on the cover of the May/June 1993 issue of Bluegrass Now Magazine, and is most recently featured on the cover of the May/June 1999 issue of Flatpick Guitar Magazine.


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Walnut Valley Festival
Post Office Box 245, 918 Main
Winfield, Kansas 67156
(620) 221-3250
WV office hours are:
Monday — Friday
9 am — Noon; 1 — 5 pm
Central time