Phil Leadbetter has announced a new member of his critically-acclaimed side project band, The All Stars of Bluegrass. Gena Britt has agreed to come in to play bass, taking the spot vacated by Steve Gulley’s earlier this year.
Most of us know Gena as the banjo player with Sister Sadie, a role she will continue going forward. But since the All Stars perform only when all of the members are free from their primary band commitments, she feels certain that she can also be available as her schedule allows.
Which is precisely the case for the rest of the group. Mandolinist Alan Bibey has his own group, Grasstowne, to be concerned with. As does banjo player, Jason Burleson, who performs regularly with Blue Highway, and guitarist, Robert Hale, who has his own solo career.
Gena says that it’s an eerie feeling thinking of standing in for Gulley, but something she welcomes.
“I’m very honored to join Phil and his All Stars. It’s a privilege to play with these guys, who are all friends of mine. It feels very special to take Steve Gulley’s spot, but no one could ever replace him. He had a huge influence on me over the years.”
As longtime readers may recall, Leadbetter spent the better part of the last eight years dealing with one health crisis after another. He endured treatment for Hodgkin’s Lymphoma on four separate occasions, underwent eye surgery, suffered joint problems and replacement, plus kidney disease requiring dialysis. It has required him to put an end to his long career as a bluegrass sideman, playing his reso-guitar with a string of headliners in our business.
But after recovering from cancer, Phil knew he didn’t want to leave the music completely behind, so he set upon a scheme to create a side project band with some of his best friends, and play only selected shows when the various tour schedules could be coordinated. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is Phil Leadbetter and the All Stars of Bluegrass. They have a new album, Swing For The Fences, out now on Pinecastle Records.
Phil says that he is delighted to have Gena come aboard.
“Gena is just A-1, and I’m really happy it’s going to work out this way. We talked to several people about this position, and are delighted that she could do it. We all miss Steve, and always want to keep doing a Steve Gulley song in our show.”
The All Stars are hoping to do some performing again whenever COVID-9 restrictions are lifted. Phil says they are already planning to start work on a second album in 2021.