Ryan Lester joins Kevin Prater Band

A guitarist with long-time ties to Kevin Prater and Danny Stiltner will be joining them in The Kevin Prater Band.

Ryan Lester, of Hurley, VA, replaces Tom Timberlake, who had to leave the road for health reasons after a long affiliation with Prater.

Prater first crossed paths with Lester at Friday night jams at a music shop in Phyllis, KY, which Ryan would attend with his grandfather, Dean Jackson.

Prater was 5 years old when he started playing music with Jackson, and the bandleader cites Jackson as a “huge influence.” Stiltner, the bass player in Prater’s unit, started playing with Jackson in 1974.

“In my youth, Dean Jackson was a highly respected musician in our area,” Prater said. “Dean mentored me and taught me. Having his grandson Ryan in my band, I feel as though my musical journey has come full circle.”

In addition to handling guitar duties, Lester will sing harmony and lead vocals, giving Prater a chance to occasionally sing high tenor.

Like Prater, Lester was 5 when he started making music with his grandfather, playing a small upright bass and rhythm mandolin. In addition to his grandfather’s band, Dean Jackson and Bluegrass Autumn, he has played with a number of regional bands and with Mike Bentley and Cumberland Gap.

Along with his grandfather, Lester cites Tony Rice, Doyle Lawson, Russell Moore, Wayne Benson, Dan Tyminski and Darrell Webb as influences on his playing and singing.

Show dates and other information can be found at the band’s web site.

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About the Author

David Morris

David Morris, an award-winning songwriter and journalist, has written for Bluegrass Today since its inception. He joined its predecessor, The Bluegrass Blog, in 2010. His 40-year career in journalism included more than 13 years with The Associated Press, a stint as chief White House correspondent for Bloomberg News, and several top editing jobs in Washington, D.C. He is a life member of IBMA and the DC Bluegrass Union. He and co-writers won the bluegrass category in the Chris Austin Songwriting Contest at MerleFest in 2015.