Summertown Road construction complete

Summertown Road - Jack Hicks, John Rigsby, Bo Isaac, Randy ThomasThanks to Karen Kouns of Main Street Entertainment we have learned of the formation of Summertown Road, a fresh and creative new band from that bluegrass music hotbed, the Ashland area of Kentucky.

The name, Summertown Road, came from a Marty Raybon song with the same title.

The elder statesman in the quartet is Jack Hicks, innovative banjo player and former Blue Grass Boy (April 1971 – September 1973), who has had a long and varied musical career. He has also been a part of such legendary groups as Jim & Jesse and the Virginia Boys, the Whites, Lester Flatt, Sonny James and Conway Twitty, with whom he worked for about 10 years.

Alongside Hicks is guitarist Bo Isaac, a part of the Kentucky Opry and a member of the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame. Isaacs has played with the Ernie Thacker, Dave Evans and Larry Cordle. He has also made guest appearances with IIIrd Tyme Out and Marty Raybon. As a soloist, Bo’s first single stayed on the bluegrass charts for 10 months. His eponymous solo album has earned rave reviews. He has been nominated for the IBMA Emerging Artist of the Year award.

The other two members are John Rigsby and Randy Thomas.

Rigsby is a Grammy award winner for his talent on the mandolin and fiddle. He started out his musical journey with Dwight Whitley and Sideroads while he was still in high school. Rigsby has played with such notables as Ralph Stanley and Melvin Goins. He is cousin to Don and Ron Rigsby.

Thomas (bass) has made his name working with Dave Evans, Tony Rice, Hylo Brown, Don Reno, the Marshall Family and Bo Isaac and the Wheelwrights.

The foursome has been working together for about four months. Rigsby and Hicks have known each other for many years, but they didn’t get the idea to play together until quite recently while both were working with Melvin Goins. Hicks met Isaac and Thomas not very long ago through Rigsby and was very impressed with their vocal and musical ability. Isaac and Thomas have been playing together in the Bo Isaac Band for a few years.

They have already been in the studio recording, laying down tracks for nine songs, of which seven were written by band members. Jack Hicks and Boyd County Middle School teacher Shayla Huffman wrote three songs, Rosalee, What’s Not To Love, and Dennie Braden, and Bo Isaac wrote I’m Leaving You. These four songs can be heard on a demo CD that Summertown Road is distributing to interested parties.

Jack Hicks tells me that they have three more songs to do; working as they have been doing in his motor- home-converted-to-recording-studio. He adds:

“We are working on a record deal as we speak, I can’t say for sure yet. The CD should be out after the first of the year.”

Summertown Road signed up with Main Street Entertainment earlier this week and they are already booked at the Bluegrass Hall of Fame & Uncle Pen Days Festival, September 24-27, Bean Blossom, Indiana and a Prince Edward Island festival in Canada (July 4 & 5, 2009). They are also going to be a showcase band at SPBGMA (February 12-15, 2009).

You can hear audio samples on the band’s MySpace page.

For booking information contact Karen Kouns with Main Street Entertainment (606-922-2313).

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About the Author

Richard Thompson

Richard F. Thompson is a long-standing free-lance writer specialising in bluegrass music topics. A two-time Editor of British Bluegrass News, he has been seriously interested in bluegrass music since about 1970. As well as contributing to that magazine, he has, in the past 30 plus years, had articles published by Country Music World, International Country Music News, Country Music People, Bluegrass Unlimited, MoonShiner (the Japanese bluegrass music journal) and Bluegrass Europe. He wrote the annotated series I'm On My Way Back To Old Kentucky, a daily memorial to Bill Monroe that culminated with an acknowledgement of what would have been his 100th birthday, on September 13, 2011.