The Time Jumpers
Kenny Sears was born in Denison, Texas and raised on a farm in Liberty, Oklahoma. He purchased his first fiddle when he was seven with money earned picking cotton and turned professional when he was 11 after he was invited to join the staff band of the Big D Jamboree in Dallas. This gave him the opportunity to work with Grand Ole Opry artists who routinely played the Jamboree. Another contact young Sears made there was Billy Gray, Hank Thompson’s former bandleader. When the Big D Jamboree closed down, Gray asked Sears to join his troupe. Sears recalls it as a great training ground in swing and country music. But he had another musical life as well. Since the fourth grade, he had been playing classical violin with the Austin College Symphony. This gig netted him a scholarship to North Texas State University and the chance to study music in depth. He subsequently played in the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. Sears moved to Nashville in 1975 and in the years that followed toured with Mel Tillis, Ray Price, Faron Young and Dottie West, among others, worked in Ralph Emery’s staff band and the Grand Ole Opry band and established the reputation he still holds as one of Nashville’s most revered session players. Sears has been the band leader for The Time Jumpers for the last 15 years.
"Ranger Doug” Green
Illinois native Green spent much of his youth in Michigan and graduated from the University of Michigan in 1968. He learned to play rhythm guitar during the "folk scare” of the ‘60s. While still in college, he began playing bluegrass and even toured with Bill Monroe and his Blue Grass Boys between his junior and senior years. That experience encouraged him to consider a career in music. He moved to Nashville, enrolled at Vanderbilt University and earned his master’s degree while continuing to play music on the side. He worked briefly with Monroe again in 1969 and then with Jimmy Martin. Green says he "rediscovered” Sons of the Pioneers in the mid-‘70s and was drawn to the group’s "sweeping poetic lyrics, great loping beat, complicated chord changes, beautiful soaring harmonies and yodeling.” He and Fred "Too Slim” LaBour formed Riders in the Sky in 1977. The group has won two Grammys and been a member of the Grand Ole Opry since 1982. Recognized as one of the foremost scholars of country music, Green is author of Singing In The Saddle, the definitive book on western music. Riders In The Sky also had a CBS TV show ("Riders In The Sky”) as well an NPR radio show ("Riders Radio Theater”) and sang "Woody’s Roundup” in Toy Story 2. Green has been with The Time Jumpers for 15 years.
Oklahoma-born Vince Gill has performed with The Time Jumpers for many years but only became an official member in 2010. A member of the Country Music Hall of Fame since 2007, Gill is widely recognized for his achingly beautiful tenor voice, award-winning songwriting skills and virtuoso guitar chops. Together, these talents have yielded him millions of album sales, 20 Grammys and 18 CMA Awards. In 2005, he was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame. Gill is also regarded as one of country music’s most generous humanitarians, beloved for participating in countless charitable events throughout his career, including All For The Hall, the campaign to support the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. Gill has recorded with over 600 performers in all genres of music, among them Eric Clapton, Barbra Streisand, Sting, James Taylor, Merle Haggard, George Jones and many more.
Jeff Taylor grew up in Batavia in western New York state, and played accordion and keyboards in his Dad’s band beginning at age 10. He studied classical piano at the Eastman School of Music and later was a band leader of a small jazz/rock group in the Air Force in Ohio.
Since Taylor moved to Nashville in 1990 he has been a band leader/keyboard player/conductor/arranger/producer/multi-instrumentalist on numerous theatre productions, live shows, and recording sessions including 14 years as bandleader at Opryland and the General Jackson Showboat and two years as bandleader for the Ryman’s "Always Patsy Cline.
In July 1998, Taylor joined the The Time Jumpers, a band consisting of some of the top musicians in Nashville. They have been nominated for four Grammys and have recorded three albums and a live DVD.
When Taylor isn’t performing with The Time Jumpers he’s booked 24/7 as a session and touring musician. He has recorded and/or toured with such acts as Elvis Costello, Harry Connick Jr, Edie Brickell, Paul Simon, Boz Scaggs, Amy Grant, George Strait, The Chieftains, Kenny Chesney, Martina McBride, Asleep At The Wheel, The Civil Wars, Miranda Lambert, Cyndi Lauper, Steven Tyler, Keb Mo, Claire Lynch, Chris Cornell, John Oates, The Gaither Vocal Band, Point of Grace, Willie Nelson, Allison Krauss, Buddy Greene, Keith and Kristyn Getty, Vince Gill, and many others. Jeff was a featured artist on the Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder’s Instrumental album that won a 2007 Grammy for Best Bluegrass Album. He produced Michael Card’s hymn project titled Hymns.
Taylor is the Music Director for TOKENS, a live music and comedy series.
Taylor has recorded solo projects including an album of piano hymns and a Christmas project for Cumberland Records an album entitledJigs, Reels, Hymns and Airs.
Paul Franklin (no relation to Larry) moved from Detroit to Nashville in 1972 to play pedal steel guitar for Barbara Mandrell. Later in the ‘70s, he recorded and toured with Jerry Reed and Mel Tillis. In 1981, he decided to quit the road and focus strictly on session work in Nashville. Since then, he has recorded with such legendary artists as Sting, Mark Knopfler, George Strait, Alan Jackson, Shania Twain, Barbara Streisand and Megadeth. "They say Paul’s the best there is,” says Knopfler, "but he seems to get better all the time.” Franklin’s imagination and versatility have made him one of the busiest session musicians in Nashville.
Drummer Billy Thomas came to Nashville from Los Angeles in 1987 and immediately began working with Vince Gill. He has been a member of Gill’s touring band ever since and regularly sings and plays on Gill’s records. Besides his musical labors for Gill, Thomas has also recorded and/or toured with Patty Loveless, Emmylou Harris, Steve Wariner, Marty Stuart, Ricky Nelson, Don Williams, Earl Scruggs and Dolly Parton. During the early ‘90s, Thomas was a founding member of the MCA Records trio, McBride & The Ride. The band’s Top 10 singles included "Sacred Ground,” "Going Out Of My Mind,” "Just One Night” and "Love On The Loose, Heart On The Run.” Thomas’ songs have been recorded by McBride & The Ride, Gill, Dottie West, Little River Band, Ricochet, the Oak Ridge Boys and Andy Griggs, among others. Thomas is proud to have co-written and sang "Blue Highway Blue" which is on the new album, Kid Sister.
Larry Franklin grew up on a farm in Whitewright, Texas and began playing the fiddle when he was seven years old under the guidance of his father, Louis Franklin. He eventually won virtually every fiddling contest in Texas, culminating with the World Championship title when he was only l6. After a three-year stint in the Army, he co-founded the Cooder Browne Band, which recorded on Willie Nelson’s Lone Star label and toured with Nelson. Franklin went on to perform with Asleep At The Wheel for seven years, during which time he won two Grammys. His third Grammy came in 1999 for "Bob’s Breakdown” on the Ride With Bob tribute album to Bob Wills. Since moving to Nashville in 1991, he has recorded with Kenny Chesney, Grace Potter, Randy Travis, Alan Jackson, Loretta Lynn, Vince Gill, Lauren Alaina, Rodney Atkins, Joe Nichols, Lee Ann Womack, Easton Corbin, Brian Wilson, Reba McEntire, Shania Twain and Lady Antebellum, among dozens of others. In 2002 Larry was inducted into the Texas Fiddlers Hall of Fame and has been a member of The Time Jumpers since May 2010.
A native of Shreveport, Louisiana, Joe Spivey has been playing fiddle since he was 16, influenced primarily by the great Chubby Wise and Tommy Jackson. After working at a gospel radio station (where he eventually rose to the rank of program director), he served from 1977 to 1982 as the music director for the revamped Louisiana Hayride. In 1984, he moved to Colorado Springs and formed Cimarron, a band that went on to win the state championship in the Marlboro Country Music Roundup competition. Spivey moved on to Nashville in 1986 and joined John Anderson’s band in July of that year. He continues to tour with Anderson. As a studio musician, he has recorded with Anderson, Merle Haggard, Shania Twain, Faith Hill, Kris Kristofferson, Joan Baez, Hank Williams Jr., Clay Walker and many others. His hobbies include studying music history and collecting cameras and Victrola phonographs.
Guitarist Andy Reiss has now been an active member of the Nashville community for more than 35 years. He left his hometown of San Francisco to pursue his passion for music as a career in 1980. He was brought up in a household listening to mainly traditional classical music (he even has an ancestor that was a German composer and guitarist in the 1700s!) He began his formal music education with the piano at age 7, moving to the guitar at 10. Being lucky enough to have grown up in in San Francisco during the 1960s, he would forever be influenced by the thriving music scene of the time. Some of the many concerts that proved to be eye-opening experiences were B.B. King, Jimi Hendrix, Buck Owens, and of course, psychedelic luminaries such as The Grateful Dead and The Jefferson Airplane. This is also when he discovered jazz, and his guitar work became heavily influenced by greats such as Grant Green and Charlie Christian.
After arriving in Nashville, he was fortunate enough to have two influential A-Team advocates, the legendary producer and steel guitarist Pete Drake, and the visionary Harold Bradley, the guitarist who, along with his brother Owen, built the first recording studio on Nashville’s Music Row, and served as a long time President of the local Musician’s Union. Andy’s first recording session was for the actor Slim Pickens, a session that was an overwhelming initiation, involving many A-Team pickers such as Drake, Charlie McCoy, Bob Moore, Pete Wade, Pig Robbins and the Jordanaires.
He has since become a studio mainstay, playing on hundreds of records, with artists ranging from Slim Whitman to Leon Russell. Returning to his early jazz influences, he also has recorded with many jazz greats, including Pete Christlieb, Beegee Adair, Benny Golson and as a member of the Lori Mechem Quartet. He has also toured many years with both the legendary Slim Whitman and Reba McEntire, and was one of the first Time Jumpers, having been with the group since 1999.
Andy has also "given back” to the community with a leadership role in the Nashville Musician’s Association, and as an educator with the Nashville Jazz Workshop and other venues
Originally from Illinois, upright and electric bassist Brad Albin has been playing professionally for thirty years, the last twenty of which have been in Nashville, Tennessee. As the newest member of the Grammy-nominated band The Time Jumpers, Albin also maintains a busy schedule as a performer on recording sessions, live performances and as a teacher. A few notable country artists that he has toured and/or recorded with include Mandy Barnett, Don McLean, Jim Lauderdale and the Sons Of The Pioneers. Albin is also very active performing in Nashville’s Musical Theatre community including productions for the Tennessee Repertory Theater, Nashville Children’s Theatre and Ryman Auditorium. He resides in East Nashville with his wife Jenny of Doyle & Debbie fame. He received his Bachelor of Music from Southern Illinois University in 1990.