The Country Gentlemen Tribute Band, formed by former Gent Bill Yates in 2005, has announced the departure of long-time banjo picker Rick Briggs. Rick has decided to retire, after 8 years with the group.
Current band leader, Mike Phipps, says that “Rick has been a great asset to the band ever since Bill Yates hired him and will be missed.”
In his stead steps Lynwood Lunsford, veteran banjo player with multiple Virginia-based outfits, and a stint with Jimmy Martin & the Sunny Mountain Boys. Lunsford also worked with The Lost and Found and Big Country Bluegrass before forming his own group, The Molly Rose Band, which called it quits earlier this year.
The Tribute Band specializes in recreating the sound of The Country Gentlemen, which they do with remarkable accuracy. Phipps sounds quite a bit like Charlie Waller, and replicates his singing style to the degree that a long time fan could close their eyes and imagine Charlie back with us on stage. Any diehard Gentlemen fan owes it to themself to catch them live.
The Band is completed by David Propst on mandolin, Geoff Gay on reso-guitar, and Eric Troutman on bass. Lynwood’s wide experience will allow him to cover the styles of the various banjo men who worked with the Gentlemen, including legends like Bill Emerson and Eddie Adcock.
You can find their tour schedule online.