Kristi Jean grew up riding shotgun in a pickup truck driving the small-town roads of Howe, Texas with the AM radio tuned to traditional country music. She absorbed the sounds of her mother and father’s music and the rural influences that surrounded her. An independent spirit, Kristi tried to reject her country roots and ventured towards rock n' roll, musical theatre, and even a bit of opera. She paid her way through college belting rock-n-roll tunes in bars, honky-tonks, bowling alleys and dancehalls across the mid-west, trying desperately to hide her Texas twang and accent. Yet, her voice couldn’t escape those dusty back roads and the music from the AM radio of her childhood. She finally returned to those roots when she starred as Patsy Cline in a theatre production of the musical “Always...Patsy Cline.” Following that experience, Kristi said “I really came to appreciate how Patsy Cline, and other women of the 1950’s who were rooted in traditional country, wanted to push the boundaries into the rebellious and dynamic music of rockabilly and early rock and roll.” There is certainly a grit and growl in those early rockabilly tunes, but there is also a bit of that country tradition that Kristi couldn't shake from her voice. Lead guitarist Steve Branstetter says “we often tell Kristi that her ‘Texas’ is showing in those vocal swoops and phrasings…and when she can’t help but say “y’all” or “I’m fixin’ to..” It’s that “Texas” in Kristi’s voice, however, that gives the band its authenticity and character. One reviewer noted that "Kristi sings like Patsy is reincarnated in her." It's a complement Kristi shies away from "nobody sounds like Patsy," she says "but of course, if you're a girl singer doing this music, Patsy's influence can't help but come out!" Comparisons aside, one fan summarized Kristi’s singing this way: “that girl can flat out sing her ass off…”
Lead guitarist Steve Branstetter grew up in Boulder, Colorado listening to his father's Johnny Cash, Buck Owens, Chet Atkins, and Doc Watson vinyl records. Steve recalls the Saturday night tradition of the family gathering around the TV to watch "Hee Haw", where he first saw many of those singers he was listening to on record. While his friends were blasting Van Halen and AC/DC, Steve was wearing out an old 1950’s compilation album with Elvis’ “Hound Dog,” Eddie Cochran’s “Twenty-Flight Rock” and Gene Vincent’s “Bee-Bop-A-Lula.” His love affair with the guitar started in earnest with after yearning (in vain) for the orange Gretsch 6120 Duane Eddy was holding on the cover of his “Have Twangy Guitar will Travel” album (he ended up with an early 1960's "Alamo Fury" guitar instead). Since then, Steve has sought to emulate his honky-tonk and rockabilly heroes through his dedication to the traditional style and tone of those twanging guitars. Bringing elements of jump blues, western swing, and a repertoire of what he describes as “stolen licks” from Don Rich (Buck Owens), Cliff Gallup (Gene Vincent), and Scotty Moore (Elvis), Steve adds an enthusiast’s vibe to the Ne'er-Do-Well's authentic feel.
“Country music has been a presence in my life since I can remember” says Jimmy James, the bass slappin’ Ne’er-Do-Well. “It was the music on the radio in dad’s truck. It was the music on the stereo late at night when he got home from the bar.” "Mom had Patsy records, which I still own.” Later in High School friend’s love of rock n roll turned tastes in new directions. It was The Clash and other bands from the punk and post punk era of the late seventies and early eighties that made Jimmy want to pick up an instrument and join a band. "I ended up being the bass player because I couldn’t drum and had some money to buy a bass the guitar player knew was for sale." Punk gave way to blues gave way to rockabilly. Along the way Jimmy James has played in jam bands, surf punk and psychobilly, Appalachian old time string bands, honky Tonk, a touch of zydeco. Along with Ne'er-Do-Wells Sean Hershey and Dave Mudgett, Jimmy James played with central Pennsylvania rockabilly legend Michael Swavely in the band the Chromeagnatones. Jimmy James traveled to Spain with Marah supporting an album, Mountain Minstrelsy, with a collection of nearly lost Pennsylvania folk songs. Jimmy James has been an in-demand bass player in the area and has played with, Michael Swavely and the Brown-Eyed Handsome Men, Jumpin Mudcats, Box, Dusk til Dawn, Rail Liners, Chicken Tractor Deluxe, and the Poe Valley Troubadors.
Dr. Dave Mudgett is an engineer, scientist and musician originally from
Boston, MA. Dave is a fixture in the music scene in central Pennsylvania and is known as a multi-instrumentalist playing guitar, steel guitar, banjo, and about anything with strings. Known locally as "Doc," Dave has played blues in the Jumpin' Mudcats and AAA Blues Band, acoustic country and bluegrass in Red Apple Juice, rock and roll in Mike Swavely and the Chrome Magnatones, Americana in Kris Kehr and the Stone Poets, the RailLiners, and the Rustlanders. In addition to being a Ne'er-Do-Well, you may find Doc playing with Chicken Tractor Deluxe, The Delverados, and Jerry Watson and the Last Cowboys.
An incurable vintage guitar aficionado, Doc also co-owned and ran
Hideaway Guitars in DuBois, Pennsylvania and Alley Cat Music in State College
during the 1990s.
"I was lucky to have an older brother who listened to great music" says drummer Sean Hershey. "I'm not sure how many other 5th graders were listening to the Clash & Ramones to get psyched up for little league games." "But I also liked songs with a twang...which drew me to bands like early REM, Drivin' & Cryin' and Uncle Tupelo" It was just three weeks after getting his first drum Sean that had his first gig - and he's been going steadily ever since. Originally from Altoona, Pennsylvania Sean has played with Dead Reckoning, Mike Swavely & the Chromagnatones, Four Horsemen, Spider Kelly, Finster, RailLiners, JB5-3, Centrallica and The Delverados. Sean enjoys long walks on the beach, rainy Mondays and his hobbies include rubbing his dog's fuzzy head.