Drive Time welcomes Lee Sawyer on bass

Central North Carolina-based Drive Time has a new bassist. The band welcomes Lee Sawyer from Thomasville to their ensemble. Sawyer has performed and recorded with several touring bands including the Larry Stephenson Band and Grasstowne.

Grayson Tuttle, their former bass player, was instrumental in the formation of Drive Time. He elected to step away from the band to better focus on his personal and professional life. 

DT banjoist, Tyler Jackson, stressed, “We can’t thank Gray enough for all he has done. A band change is always a bittersweet moment. While we are so excited to welcome Lee, it’s never an easy thing to see a life-long friend leave the band. I am so thankful to Gray for his work helping us start this version of Drive Time. He remains one of my best friends and is one of the best musicians I’ve ever known.””

“A huge thank you to Gray, we will miss him in the band,” Bailey Coe reiterated. 

Katie Koerner, the only lady in the band, agreed. “I’ve really enjoyed playing music with Gray these past few years. He’s a great musician and knows how to have fun. I hope the best for him and Hallie in all of their endeavors, and look forward to seeing them down the road.”

Jackson continued, “Looking to the future, Drive Time is so honored to welcome Lee into the band. Anyone who has heard him play knows he’s about as rock solid of a bass as you can find in this business! I’ve jammed with Lee several times and he has filled in with Drive Time on occasion, so I’m stoked to have him officially join the band! Lee’s bass playing packs a punch and I’m looking forward to sharing the stage with him!”

Sawyer responded, “I want to thank the good Lord above for opportunity to play music again, and with friends at that! I want to wish Gray the best in his future endeavors. I feel like this is going to be a good fun time with the band and opportunity to knock the rust and cobwebs off the ole bass and put it in the ditch as one of my mentors (Alan Perdue) told me. I’m very excited to be in this band. It’s going to be a good combo that everyone will enjoy listening to and seeing at shows!”

The upright bass player joins Jackson, guitarists Austyn Howell and Bailey Coe, fiddler Katie Koerner, and mandolinist Austin Koerner.

Howell stated, “We are thankful to Gray for his friendship, and the integral part he played in our band the last five years and through two albums. We are excited to add Lee. He’s seasoned and exactly what we need to continue building our sound. We’ve all known each other for a while, and jammed throughout the years, so we were able to yet again add a friend to band. That’s something we value and are thankful for.”

Coe added, “Lee is an absolute powerhouse of a bass player and is a veteran in the bluegrass world. We are excited to start picking with him.”

Katie echoed, “He never disappoints. I’m excited to have him there to hold us steady and teach us a few things about coonhounds while he’s at it!”

Their latest single is The Heat of the Night, from the band’s current project, Too Late For Tonight.

For more information on Drive Time, visit them online or on Facebook. As their saying goes, “Keep a Drive Time state of mind!”

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About the Author

Sandy Hatley

Sandy Chrisco Hatley is a free lance writer for several NC newspapers and Bluegrass Unlimited magazine. As a teenager, she picked banjo with an all girl band called the Happy Hollow String Band. Today, she plays dobro with her husband's band, the Hatley Family.