Mitzie’s earliest memories of music were gospel with Great Grandma Cane while watching the Florida Boys on Sunday mornings, as Grandma allowed her to sip coffee with her at the tender age of 5 or 6. Those harmonies were permanently etched in her mind. Her father was a lifelong lover of country-western and blues. Her mother was a ballroom dancer; hence lots of big band influence. High school found Mitzie involved in choirs and school musicals. Here she developed a love for acapella singing and madrigals. Throughout her adult life there were church choirs and small acapella groups. To this day, those moments when intricate, tight harmonies overlap and flow together still illicit goose bumps and bring tears to her eyes.
Mitzie has been a horsewoman since her youth, a personal trainer, martial artist and massage therapist during the past 35 years. She has become an avid hiker and backpacker, having fallen in love with the Sierras. Rattlesnakes & coyotes can often hear her singing to her horse Cody, or while hiking with her lab, Bailey.
As far back as Terry can remember, there was music in his house. He grew up playing guitar, mandolin and fiddle. In 2005, an accident that cost him part of his finger caused him to start playing dobro. He fell in love with the sound and feels it is the instrument he should have been playing all his life.
He loves listening to the music that incorporates great musicianship and intricate harmonies. One of his favorite bands and influence is Alison Krauss and Union Station.
Kris Wilber started playing the bass when she was nine. Although she originally wanted to play drums, her dad bought her a big plastic bass instead. This she lugged on and off the school bus all through grammar school. She lugged a full-sized wooden one on and off the school bus through high school.
“While I’ve messed around with piano and guitar, the bass is my true love. I love its deep, rich voice. You can feel the bass way down deep in your soul. I’m a true backup musician by nature. My goal is to give the lead players a fuller sound.” Besides performing with the Kern River Band, Kris also performs with both a Celtic band, Banshee in the Kitchen, based out of County Kern, and a popular regional bluegrass band, Out of the Blue, based out of the tiny Kern community of Bodfish. “Bluegrass has always been a big part of my life. I got my start in Bluegrass Gospel with a group called the Gloryland Express, from Bakersfield. Kris works as an emergency room nurse in the hospital that serves the Kern River Valley.
Terry grew up in Hacienda Heights, California in a musical family that harmonized to folk and gospel songs while sitting around campfires on family outings. Having started on a ukulele as a kid, he eventually picked up a guitar. When his college chamber singing group needed instrumental back-up for a couple numbers, Terry and a few others raised their hands and formed a quartet that eventually morphed into a bluegrass band (who knew?). Musical role models included those producing the richest harmonies of their day: The Ames Brothers, Joe and Eddie, Larry Gatlin, Doyle Lawson and Ricky Skaggs. Terry and his wife Mitzie lived in North Carolina for several years where they enjoyed elite live bluegrass at MerleFest and other local events. After returning to southern California, they started jamming with several of the talented musicians living in the Kern River Valley and collectively began producing a sound that might be described as “front porch harmonies.”
Kat Edmonson grew up in a very musical house in Altadena; having both her older siblings sing and play guitar at their weekly hootenannies. She started playing guitar at eight, listening to the folk music of the 60’s and fell in love with the harmonies of the older western music and traditional old timey songs.
Performing in college at coffee houses and then country western bars, she’s sung with Buck Owens and the Buckaroos, performed in a disco band, and played country and western music in the 80’s sporting big hair and lavender boots. Besides performing with the Kern River Band, she also plays in an all women’s Celtic band called Banshee in the Kitchen with the KRB’s bass player Kris Wilber. Kat loves to kayak, mountain bike, being a mom and grandma to twin boys. She lives Kernville with her fabulous dog Duke, where the Kern River actually does run through the town.
Duke grew up in the Kern Valley… and was abandoned by the road in Cane Brake. He lived on the road foraging lizards and squirrels until he found a farmhouse with mules, horses, and dogs to take him in. That family contacted Kat… and Kat was finally rescued from being a dogless owner. It is true love.
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