Alan Munde Gazette
Alan Munde, long regarded as one of the world's foremost 5-string banjo players, has returned as a bluegrass band leader. Joining Alan in The Alan Munde Gazette are some of the finest pickers and singers in the Southwest - Phill Elliott, Bill Honker, and Glenn Mitchell. The music they produce is just what you=d expect from this group of talented, creative, and experienced musicians - stellar instrumentation, a mixture of traditional and original material, and some of the best harmony singing you=ll hear anywhere - all driven by air-tight rhythm and Alan's trademark banjo playing. The band brings you true bluegrass music with heart and soul, delivered in a powerful, straight-ahead style which is both compelling and entertaining. Alan Munde needs no introduction to long-time Bluegrass fans. From his early creative work with Sam Bush in Poor Richard=s Almanac to his traditional bluegrass apprenticeship with Jimmy Martin and the Sunny Mountain Boys to his 21-year stint anchoring the landmark Country Gazette, Alan has blazed a trail as one of the most innovative and influential banjo players of all time. Along the way, Alan also recorded and contributed to numerous instrumental recordings, including the 2001 IBMA Instrumental Album of the Year - 'Knee Deep in Bluegrass'. Alan has supplemented his recorded work with several instructional publications for the banjo, and, since 1986, Alan has taught Bluegrass and Country Music at South Plains College in Levelland, Texas, a program which has produced many professional musicians nationwide. In recent years, Alan has performed and recorded as a duo with his South Plains faculty colleague (and former Gazette-mate) Joe Carr. Alan's extensive body of recorded work, his instructional materials, and his work at South Plains (including the annual 'Camp Bluegrass') has solidified his status as one of the true 'gurus' of the 5-string. Alan currently serves on the Board of Directors of the International Bluegrass Music Association. He was profiled in the June 2005 issue of Bluegrass Now magazine. Phill Elliott grew up in and around Clovis, New Mexico. For years he farmed land near the Texas-New Mexico line and enjoyed the rich music of the area, which ranged from the bluegrass of the Mayfield Brothers to the rock and roll of Buddy Holly. For a time he ran a music store in Clovis. In 1986 he gave up the farming life, moved east to the Dallas area, and formed the Second Time Around, which was a mainstay of bluegrass festivals in the Southwest for eight years. From 1994 to 1996, he was featured with The Vinings and Phill Elliott. Phill then anchored Billy Joe Foster and the Special Edition for seven years, while also launching a business manufacturing guitar and banjo capos. Phill now lives in Brenham, Texas, where he produces his nationally-renowned Elliott Capos. Phill brings sparkling, solid guitar work and warm, resonant lead and harmony vocals to the group. Bill Honker was born in Pennsylvania, but spent his formative years in Alan's hometown, Norman, Oklahoma. His interest in bluegrass music developed while in high school and college in Norman/Oklahoma City area, which was rich with acoustic players. After playing with a Norman band in the early 70's, Bill moved to Dallas in 1975 and was a member of a series of north Texas bands, including Roanoke, Lone Star Grass, the memorably-named 'Grounds for Divorce', and the Stone Mountain Boys. He joined with Billy Joe Foster and Phill Elliott to re-form the Special Edition in 1996. Bill has taught bluegrass bass at Camp Bluegrass the last three years, as well as other camps and workshops. Bill is also a songwriter and occasionally performs as a solo act, playing original material. He has received several songwriting awards and was a Featured Regional Artist at the Kerrville Folk Festival in 1996 and 2005. Bill plays bass, sings lead and harmony vocals, and contributes original material to the group. Glenn Mitchell got his musical education as a member of one of Texas' all-time great family bluegrass bands, the Mitchell Family of Perrin, Texas. He began playing guitar at age 10, at a time when the group was playing country music. Glenn recalls the family abruptly switching their musical style to bluegrass after a trip to Bill Grant's Hugo, Oklahoma festival when he was 12. Glenn took up the mandolin and quickly became one of the hottest pickers in the area. His family hosted a bluegrass festival at Perrin for many years, exposing Glenn to many great touring musicians. He has incorporated influences from David Grisman, Sam Bush, Buck White, and Bobby Clark into his own unique style. As well as playing with the Mitchell Family, Glenn got rooted in traditional bluegrass as a member of the Lambert Brothers and the Tri-County Boys from 1976 to 1981. After taking some time away from the music to start a family, Glenn played with the fine progressive group Southern Union from 1996 to 2003. He also joined his sister Patty and brother Jeff in the band Red Oak in the late 1990's. Glenn contributes his innovative mandolin playing and fine harmony singing to the group.