The Stanleytones Bluegrass Band was formed in 1999, when the original members met while attending local jam sessions in the Boulder area. The band was named after the Stanley Brothers, Ralph and Carter, who played throughout the 50’s until Carter’s death in 1964. Having recently finished recording a new album, The Stanleytones’ passion for traditional bluegrass is evident in the their sound, and has made them into what they are today--- a classic bluegrass band reminiscent of those early bands of the 50’s and 60’s, with an added repertoire of original compositions comprised of melodic instrumentals and skillful vocal harmonies.
"Channeled from Virginia's Stanley Brothers, the spirit energy of mountain music is now in the hands of Colorado's Stanleytones." -- Colorado Bluegrass Music Society
"A tantalizing offering--bluegrass that adheres to established values, but still seethes with creativeness. The music of the Stanleytones certainly has sterling credentials." - Bluegrass Unlimited
The Stanleytones 2005 CD Review (from The Colorado Bluegrass Music Society):
STANLEYTONES RELEASE TRUE TO THEIR NAMESAKE
The 2005 self-titled studio release from the Stanleytones reflects the essence and passion of the Stanley Brother's classic bluegrass work from the 1950's and '60's. Mirroring these famous Virginia mountain musicians, Ralph and Carter Stanley, the Stanleytones impart pure rich tones. This collection faithfully delivers enjoyable instrumentals and was recorded, produced and mastered in Boulder.
Encompassing traditional and original compositions, the Stanleytones tailored mix features clear vocals and consistently smooth harmonies. The natural "hand-in-glove" harmony delivery generates an ambience of instant warmth. This comfort level bridges the songwriting credits, vocals and rhythmic mandolin strumming of Bryan Clendenin. The efforts of Jim Bertolin's tasteful banjo runs, rolling dobro tone,and vocal work shine acrossthe release.
Along with his two songwriting credits, Bertolin is credited with the arrangement of the traditional tune, "Old Time Banjo." The Stanleytones' rhythm and lead guitarist, Burton McKenzie, brings his confident talent and tenor vocals to the ensemble. The classically trained versatile Ryan Drickey quickly draws his accomplished fiddle bow with ease and sings on the release. The full bass tones are courtesy of Will Downes, with a credit to Jeff Kazmierski.
Three traditional songs, "Old Reuben," "Grey Eagle," and "Goin' Up On A Mountain" convey the assurance of the Stanleytones' traditional bluegrass roots. Respectfully true to their namesake, the Carter Stanley song, "Lonesome Night'' is given loving workmanlike treatment.
Channeled from Virginia's Stanley Brothers, the spirit energy of mountain music is now in the hands of Colorado's Stanleytones. Bluegrass fans already giving thanks for this fine Stanleytones CD, are now requesting, "May I have some more, please?"
- Reviewed By Michael Kenna (Colorado Bluegrass Music Society)
Band Members' Bio:
Jim Bertolin has been playing bluegrass since the 1970's when he played with Windy Ridge Ramblers andn Prairie Union Bluegrass Band, touring the midwest. He plays a variety of styles, from classic Scruggs to melodic fiddle tunes, and old-time frailing. His musical influences for traditional banjo playing are Earl Scruggs, Ralph Stanley, J.D. Crowe, but for his melodic influence he credits Bob Black and Jack Hicks. His favorite new banjo player is Robbie McCoury. His main dobro influence (did we mention that Jim also is their dobro player?) is Josh Graves.
Bryan Clendenin hails from West Virginia where he started playing the mandolin at the age of twenty. Being from Appalachia, Bryan really focuses on the traditional style of playing, but he ventures out into other realms of newer styles in the bluegrass world. His main musical influences are Bill Monroe, David Grisman, the Stanley Brothers, Mike Marshall, Jesse McReynolds, Drew Emmett, Ronnie McCoury, and the Grateful Dead.
Burton McKenzie originally hails from Lookout Mountain, Tennessee. Ever since he moved to Boulder in 2001 he has been a local Bluegrass jam session regular at such venues as the Acoustic Coffeehouse, Foolish Craigs, The Stone Cup and The Southern Sun. Burton brings a wide range of traditional and contemporary Bluegrass, strong tenor vocals, solid rhythm guitar, and impressive lead guitar. Some of his strongest Bluegrass influences include Dan Tyminski, Tony Rice, Jerry Douglas, Ricky Skaggs, Blue Highway, Sam Bush, John Reischman, The Lonesome River Band, The Seldom Scene, Ralph Stanley and, of course, Bill Monroe.
Ryan Drickey is an experienced and versatile fiddle/violin player with eclectic tastes. Originally studying classical music, he has for the past few years been seen more and more at the local bluegrass jams, as well as with the local bluegrass band Haywire. He has professional experience playing jazz, Argentine Tango, classical and bluegrass music, and performs with the multi-genre chamber ensemble Strings of Tao. Influences include just about everyone from Stephane Grapelli to Bobby Hicks.
Luke Eisenhauer began his music career at age 14 playing electric bass for Pittsburgh, PA alternative rock and blues/funk bands. Luke studied jazz guitar and began writing songs at Oberlin College in Ohio where he managed to sneak into the Conservatory of Music's instrument storage room and play an upright bass for the first time. He got hooked on the standup bass, but it wasn't until he moved to Lyons, Colorado in 2003 that he began playing in earnest. Since moving west, Luke helped form the Redstone Bluegrass Band and plays with the Rock City Barnburners, a local americana/bluegrass group. Luke's main bluegrass influences are Blue Highway, the Del McCoury Band and Open Road. In the words of the man: "I'm excited to join forces with the Stanleytones; these guys pen some great original material and really get after it when they're on stage. Come say hello at our next gig!"