rockabilly and honky-tonk
For over three decades, rockabilly singer and guitarist Chuck Mead has been serving up his own irresistible blend of honky-tonk, hillbilly music, and rock and roll to audiences around the world. Best known for his work as co-founder of the Grammy-nominated group BR5-49, Chuck’s career as a bandleader and solo artist boasts over 170 appearances on the Grand Ole Opry. With a sound equal parts classic and contemporary, Chuck draws inspiration from the golden age of rockabilly while making the music indisputably all his own.
When it came to music in Chuck’s family, the apple didn’t fall far from the tree. Chuck’s mother’s family had a banjo and accordion-driven hillbilly band and a regular spot on the local radio station in their native southwest Missouri. After moving to Lawrence, Kansas, they revived the group as a dance band, enlisting young Chuck to play drums in the early 1970s. Eventually switching to guitar, teenage Chuck was deep into discovery of the likes of Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry, Carl Perkins, and the Beatles while absorbing the blues, punk, and ‘70s rock bands that regularly passed through town. He formed a handful of bands before moving to Nashville, where he started gigging on the then-infamous “Lower Broad” strip. He then co-founded BR5-49 which would go on to earn three Grammy nominations, a CMA award, and the support of their musical heroes. “We were being honest,” Chuck remembers. “We were playing our own songs in an older style, but they weren’t carbon copies. The old-timers recognized what we were doing.”
In the early 2000s, Chuck began arranging and directing the music for Broadway’s Million Dollar Quartet, a Tony Award-winning musical about the historic Sun Records recording of Cash, Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Carl Perkins. He launched his solo career in 2009 with the record Journeyman’s Wager, followed by Back at the Quonset Hut, Free State Serenade, and most recently, Close to Home.
Appearing at the Lowell Folk Festival with long-time bassist Mark Andrews Miller and drummer Martin Lynds, Chuck promises to debut a few brand-new, unrecorded songs alongside 30 years of classics guaranteed to pack the dance floor.