While Kari and Billy have both experienced personal success in their music careers, they have recently started taking the stage as a duo and have begun to weave their personal, unique talents together to create something truly special. Coming from opposite ends of the country, with very different backgrounds, the two met in Nashville and were drawn together not only by their similar taste and love for music but also their views on life. Their true love for music shines through and warms the hearts of listeners wherever they go. Whether performing on a big stage, jamming on the back porch or simply playing to friends and family around a campfire, Kari and Billy are seeking to bring back the simplicity and wholesome feel of great melodies and relatable lyrics. Their desire is to use their music in a positive way that brings help and enjoyment to others.
Kari Nelson is a native of Roseau, Minnesota and has played violin since the tender age of 7. Her background training was in classical music and she took many years of lessons at the Manitoba Music Conservatory in Canada. Kari grew up playing music with her sisters at local events in Minnesota and North Dakota including county and state fairs. Kari's first band experiences came from playing with the Nite Riders in her hometown of Roseau. Kari packed her bags and followed her dreams down to Nashville in September of 2006.
Once settled in Music City, Kari paid her dues working full time on various gigs at the legendary Tootsies Orchid Lounge and several other clubs on Lower Broadway. It wasn't long before she hit the road with artists on the rodeo circuit in Montana and Alberta, Canada as well as shows in Maryland, Michigan, Iowa, Georgia, Wisconsin, Virginia, and Alabama on the college and casino circuits.
Kari took the stage with singer/comedian Dennis Lee on his State Fair tour in '07 and '08. She also entertained audiences performing with The Dennis Lee Show for two years at the annual Strawberry Festival in Plant City, Florida. In 2007 she returned from a USO tour with Nashville Star finalist, Laura Sullivan. The tour included stops in Hawaii, Japan, Guam, Diego Garcia, and Singapore where they put on shows for American troops stationed abroad. In her many travels Kari had the opportunity to open for various artists including Jake Owen, Pat Green, Wynonna Judd, and Billy Dean.
Kari has toured with John Rich/ Big & Rich and has also played with artists such as Gretchen Wilson, Steel Magnolia's, Trace Adkins, and Joanna Smith. She has appeared in several music videos with John Rich and Big and Rich as well as a commercial shot for college game day which was aired throughout the college football season in 2011 on ESPN. Kari also performed fiddle and backup vocals for John Rich on the Celebrity Apprentice Finale in May 2011.
"There's nothing I would rather be doing than playing music", Kari says. "The Lord has blessed me to earn a living doing something I love!" Her smile and energy light up the stage, but what you notice the most is the fact that she just loves to play.
Billy Arnold was born in Tampa Florida at MacDill Air Force Base. He grew up hunting, fishing, and playing sports and developed a true love for the outdoors. Billy also grew up listening to country music. "My mom always had the radio on...I'd hear songs from Conway Twitty and Alabama to Randy Travis and Merle Haggard. I always loved music, but I was so shy I never dreamed I'd be a part of it someday."
Billy left home at the age of 18 and move to Georgiana, Alabama, a small town in Southern Alabama. He spent a lot of time there as a kid visiting his grandparents and moved there to be closer to them. At 22 years old he started singing and knew right away that he had found his calling. Billy joined a local band called "The Backwood Boys" and began traveling the country playing music.
Since then he has toured the U.S. playing any honky tonk, fair or festival that would hire him, or sometimes just feed him and his band. After a few years on the road he joined a band called "Common Ground". Between playing with Common Ground, The Backwood Boys and going solo, Billy has played shows from Florida to Maine and from Georgia to California.
Billy moved to Nashville to further pursue his dream of being a singer songwriter. He played at Tootsie's Orchid Lounge on a regular basis along with road shows, charity events and acoustic dates.
Over the years he has played shows with Craig Morgan, Tracy Byrd, Daryle Singletary, Rhett Atkins, Mark Wills, Vern Gosdin, Arron Tippin, Confederate Railroad, Chad Brock, David Kersh and many, many more.
Near the end of 2009 he went into the studio and recorded his album "Do You Remember". Billy was the sole writer of the 15 track album and also the producer. "To Get to You", one of the songs from the album, was nationally released to country radio in October of 2009. Billy's record label flew him out to California to film the music video for the song "To Get To You" and the video was released shortly after the song hit the radio.
Billy has also appeared in country music's only nationally published magazine, "Country Weekly". The magazine did an article about him appearing on national TV where his photgraph and official logo were featured on the #25 ARCA car during two nationally televised race events. The Speed Channel did a full interview with Billy and covered the story.
When you meet him, you will notice that Billy is humble. "I'm pretty simple I reckon, I love my family, friends, and God. I feel that the Lord has given me so much more than I deserve and I can't help but be thankful, even in hard times. You never know, the hard times you're going through, just might be the only way to get where you need to be."