"This group of guys meets my approval every night," Ricky says. "Each and every one of the pickers in Kentucky Thunder totally amazes me in every show...and that, to me, outweighs any award we could ever win." The all-star lineup of Kentucky Thunder includes Andy Leftwich (fiddle), Cody Kilby (lead guitar), Paul Brewster (tenor vocals, rhythm guitar), Eddie Faris (baritone vocals, guitar), Scott Mulvahill (bass, bass vocals) and Russ Carson (banjo).
Knoxville, Tennessee's Paul Brewster began his music career with the band Knoxville Grass, singing lead and tenor vocals and playing rhythm guitar. After ten years with the Osborne Brothers and brief stints with the Pinnacle Boys and Dollywood bluegrass band, True Blue, he was asked to become a member of Kentucky Thunder. In addition to lending his unmistakable tenor to countless Ricky Skaggs albums, Brewster is also an accomplished songwriter and solo artist. In 2001, he teamed up with former band-mate Mark Fain to co-produce Everybody's Talkin', his first solo project for Skaggs Family Records.
In February of 2001, Ricky Skaggs surprised this young fiddler from White House, Tennessee by extending an on-stage invitation to join Kentucky Thunder. Andy first learned to play the fiddle from his father when he was only six years old, and later won the Tennessee State Fiddle Championship. He also mastered the mandolin and guitar and began playing professionally for Valerie Smith and Liberty Pike by his early teens. In 2003, Andy released his first solo project, Ride, on Skaggs Family Records, which included nine original songs. In 2005, Andy teamed up with dobro player Rob Ickes (Blue Highway) and bassist Dave Pomeroy to form Three Ring Circle, releasing their self-titled debut on Earwave Records. In addition, Andy continues to build an impressive list of studio and performance credits, lending his talents to acts like Craig Morgan, Taylor Swift, Jon Randall, Jimmy Wayne, Trick Pony, Pam Tillis, Bering Strait, Travis Tritt, Steve Wariner, and the Nashville Chamber Orchestra.
Growing up in Cowan, Tennessee, Cody Kilby picked up his dad's banjo at age 8 and had a Gibson Banjo endorsement by the time he was 11. He started playing his mom's guitar at 10, and by 17, he was the National Flatpicking Champion. He added mandolin and dobro at around age 13, and at 16, recorded Just Me, showing his mastery of each instrument on the recording. While touring with Sally Jones and the Sidewinders, he caught the ear of Ricky Skaggs, joining Kentucky Thunder in 2001. Cody's lightning-fast picking can be heard on a number of projects, including Disney album, O Mickey, Where Art Thou?. He's also released a new solo project, Many Roads Traveled, on which he shares his own original compositions. In rare spare moments, Cody can be found producing and engineering projects for other artists in his home studio.
Eddie turned a childhood dream into reality by accepting Ricky's invitation to join Kentucky Thunder in 2009. At the age of 9 years old, while attending a Ricky Skaggs concert, he pointed to former band member guitarist Darrin Vincent and said he wanted his job. Over the years, Darrin and Eddie became friends, and through that friendship, Eddie's wish became true! Eddie grew up in Kansas, and was a member in his family's band, the Faris Family Bluegrass Band, for 12 years. He started playing music when he was just 6 years old and learned to play mandolin, bass, guitar, and fiddle. Later, Eddie took his dad's spot at banjo in their band. As a member of Kentucky Thunder, he is a baritone vocalist and plays the guitar.
Singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Scott Mulvahill grew up in Southeast Texas. At age 14, Scott picked up the bass guitar on a whim, with natural talent and the lure of a challenge driving him to be the best musician that he could be. While continuing to play the bass, he also began to explore singing, the guitar and piano. With the encouragement of a mentor, it became clear to him that he was destined for a career in music and he immersed himself in a multitude of genres; studying jazz, classical, rock and much in between. Scott released his first album of original songs in January 2011. In addition to playing his own music, Scott works as a sideman and is honored to have performed with many remarkable musicians. As a band member of Kentucky Thunder, he plays bass and sings low harmony.
Russ Carson grew up in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, and came by his passion for bluegrass and the banjo, in particular, honestly. His father, Glenn, made handcrafted banjos along with playing the fiddle and Clawhammer banjo since the early 1970's. As a result of the never ending string of live music while growing up, Russ started taking banjo lessons at age 10. He was a previous bluegrass band member with Gold Heart and Audie Blaylock & Redline. During that time period, he was able to work with and learn from industry legends such as Del & Ronnie McCoury, Bobby Osborne, Carl Jackson, Glen Duncan, Lou Reid and many more. The newest addition to Kentucky Thunder, Russ plays banjo in the band.