"Every car on the highway has a story," states BRANDI HART.
Hart should know. As lead singer and co-writer for roots-music phenoms THE DIXIE BEE-LINERS, she's in the business of telling stories. "Our new CD Susanville is a collection of tales from the American highway... where people are going, what they've left behind, and the things they experience along the way. It's our love letter to the open road."
Building on the tremendous success of their 2008 chart-topper RIPE, The Bee-Liners blaze a bold new trail with Susanville -- a concept album that takes listeners on a musical road trip along America's highways and byways. The band's second full-length work, Susanville peers into the cars and trucks in America's cities and towns, bringing to life 19 breathtaking musical moments along America's interstates and byways. The band employs its signature blend of hooks and harmonies, exploring themes such as escape, adventure, memory, and regret.
"This is not your parents' concept record," explains mandolinist and co-writer BUDDY WOODWARD. "It's a collection of short stories set to music. Each song is a vignette about a different person in a different car or truck in a different highway in America, and they're all headed either to or from Susanville."
In 2008, The Dixie Bee-Liners quickly garnered praise for their ground-breaking album RIPE, which dazzled critics and fans alike and earned the band four #1's on the bluegrass charts. Later that year, The Bee-Liners were named Roots Music Associations's Bluegrass Artist of the Year, plucked from among such luminaries as Alison Krauss and Merle Haggard, who also shared the nomination.
Known equally for her golden pipes and lead foot, the dulcet-throated BRANDI HART is a native of the Bluegrass State. She grew up singing and playing music in Southern Baptist church choirs, where she got her start at the tender age of 2. Her thoughtfully penned originals cover a surprisingly broad range, from hard-driving bluesy scorchers to ancient-toned instrumentals. A prolific songwriter, Brandi is currently at work on three distinct bluegrass concept albums. She was featured in the OFFICIAL ASCAP/IBMA SONGWRITERS' SHOWCASE at World of Bluegrass 2006 in Nashville. She plays rhythm guitar, Nashville guitar, fiddle, and mountain dulcimer... and has been known to moonlight in theater, dance, and voiceover acting!
Bluegrass veteran BUDDY WOODWARD was a founding member of seminal 90's alt.country whiz kids THE GHOST ROCKETS, and NYC honkytonkers BUDDY WOODWARD & THE NITRO EXPRESS ("as explosive - and polished - a hard honkytonk outfit as you'll find around New York" -- Barry Mazor, The Village Voice), was a featured performer on Greg Garing's Alphabet City Opry, as well as having played with John Starling, Steve Earle, Rosie Flores, Jim Lauderdale, The Coal Porters, Laura Cantrell, Bill Keith, Beat Rodeo, Sid Griffin, Smalltown Parade, The Jet Set, and The Chelsea Mountain Jamboree, among many others. Throughout much of 2005 and 2006, Buddy appeared in the Barter Theater's smash hit play, Man of Constant Sorrow: The Story of the Stanley Brothers, playing the roles of George Shuffler, Pee-Wee Lambert, Bill Monroe, and a Primitive Baptist preacher. He also moonlights as a voiceover actor for cartoons, including Pokemon, Boogie Pop Phantom, and The Ping Pong Club. A gifted songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, Buddy plays the mandolin, guitar, banjo, bass, and (*gasp!*) drums, as well as handling production chores for the band.
SAV SANKARAN is a crackerjack vocalist and multi-instrumentalist. Originally from Altoona, PA, Sav now makes his home in Asheville, North Carolina. His soaring vocals and rock-solid downbeat on the bass are an ovation-inspiring highlight of DBL performances. On the fiddle and vocals is the lovely SARA NEEDHAM. A graduate of East Tennessee State University, where she studied with the legendary Clarence "Tater" Tate and performed with ETSU's beloved Pride Band, Sara's warm, earthy touch on the fiddle and alluring vocals bring an intriguing edge to the DBL sound. In the banjo chair is Mr. ZACHARY MONGAN. Zach currently attends ETSU with a Public Performance scholarship awarded by the Bluegrass, Old Time, and Country Music program. In 2008, he was awarded the Grey Fox Bill Vernon Scholarship, which is given annually to talented and motivated students who are involved in bluegrass music. Fittingly for The Dixie Bee-Liners, his playing style is an engaging blend of traditional and contemporary influences. Finally, joining The Dixie Bee-Liners on select dates in 2011 is dobroist LEAH NEEDHAM. (Yes, she is Sara's sister!) In addition to excellent musical instincts and a striking fashion sense, she's got a singing voice that we can only describe as plaintively captivating. By spectacular coincidence, Leah is also a student of ETSU, where she performs with the Pride Band.
Together, these accomplished musicians contribute dynamic improvisational styles and add jaw-dropping grit, humor, and emotion to THE DIXIE BEE-LINERS' live performances.