Band Bio

Continuing the family tradition his father Bill founded, Willie Wells heads up this current version of the Blue Ridge Mountain Grass.  Singing lead and tenor, Willie is excited about the talents of his individual bandmates.  They bring many years of performing experience with them to the stage.  Larry Klein, known for his soulful Dobro (R) playing, is the group's only remaining original member.  He was also the host of NPR's "The Bluegrass Sound" for 30 years, having retired from the radio recently.  David Prosser and Don Ashley came to the band as a duo from the well-known Carolina Rebels band, founded by David's dad Hank.  David's straight-ahead Scruggs style banjo is lightning fast and metronome perfect.  He sings lead and harmony.  Don's hard-driven double stop fiddle style and bass voice is an integral part of the band's sound.  Keeping the band's beat steady and true is bassist Tommy Thomas.  He can also walk up and down the neck when called on.  Writing some excellent original material, both melodicc and lyrical, is mandolin player Patrick Russell.  The band's new CD is out, and they are excited about its potential.

Willie Wells
(803) 796-6477

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Band Members
Willie Wells
Vocals, Rhythm Guitar, Tenor Harmony

Willie grew up playing classic country and bluegrass music.  He has been playing and singing for 35 years.  Willie stepped into the bluegrass role after the passing of his father, Bill Wells.  Bill was the founder and driving force behind "Bill Wells and the Blue Ridge Mountain Grass" for over 30 years.  Now taking the helm of the band, Willie is joining the traditional side of bluegrass with a more modern and progressive style, which makes for a good blend and balance of music for one and all.
David Prosser
Vocals, Banjo

David literally grew up hearing bluegrass music at home.  His father Hank, now 90 years old, founded the Carolina Rebels in 1979.  David's command of the 5-string banjo, his primary instrument, is astounding.  He can absolutely play it in "Olympic Overdrive" whenever the occasion calls for it.  His straight ahead Scruggs Style is metronome perfection and keeps his band mates ever alert.  He sometimes throws in a chromatic run or two just for variety.  David also contributes to the band as a singer and songwriter.
Don Ashley
Fiddle, Vocals

Don learned to play fiddle as a teen, taking lessons from Bill Haney, a master entertainer and one of the original "Tennessee Cutups".  Bill not only taught Don how to play, he also taught the dynamics of developing his own style.  The addition of Don helps give the band the straight forward, hard driving style it has been known for.  Don's deep bass voice is put to good use on a wide variety of songs whether he is singing lead or harmony.
Patrick Russell
Vocals, Mandolin

Growing up, Patrick Russell’s family were hosts to Bluegrass Pickin’s that drew almost 50 or so people together each weekend in East Tennessee, specifically the town of Speedwell. 

A multi-instrumentalist, Patrick started out on guitar then added fiddle, mandolin, and bass.

He was a prominent member of the Army Band “Just Grass”.   While stationed in Korea, “Just Grass” competed in the Army’s “Battle of the Bands” which included all genres of music.  They won locally then went to Washington, D.C., competed, and won the coveted All Army Band Contest.  Patrick was a “Just Grass” member for 2 ½ years.

Patrick came to South Carolina in 2014 and soon joined Willie Wells & the Blue Ridge Mountain Grass.  He has filled in on occasion with Palmetto Blue and is also a member of Lonesome Road.

A big Flatt/Scruggs, Stanley Brothers fan, Patrick is an excellent songwriter whose songs are recorded on the latest Blue Ridge Mountain Grass album titled:  Gravel in my Shoe.  Patrick told one that it is “true life events” that inspire his songwriting efforts.  He is a resident of Elgin.
Tommy Thomas

Tommy Thomas born in Cheraw, SC and currently lives in Irmo. Tommy started playing Bass at the age of 13 playing in the Cheraw High School Stage Band. There he developed a interest and love of Big Band and Jazz standards. After graduating USC School of Law in 1983 Tommy currently practices law in Lexington County. About 15 years ago he was able to devote more time to the pursuit of his music. He currently plays electric bass in Bob Knox’s Blue Serenade Orchestra and The Capital City Big Band. He has played Double Bass with The Lake Murray Symphony Orchestra.Tommy has always had a love for Bluegrass music. Being introduced in college to the music of The Seldom Scene and Jerry Garcia’s Band Old and in the Way. Having friends in Alexandria, VA, Tommy would take every opportunity to see The Seldom Scene perform at the Birchmere Music Hall In Alexandria. Bassist Tom Gray had a big impact on Tommy’s bluegrass bass style.Tommy current plays upright bass with Willie Wells and the Blue Ridge Mountain Grass. This has opened a new avenue to purse his love of Bluegrass music and to perform with some very talented musicians.
Dr. Larry Klein

Larry has had a lifelong passion for the sound of bluegrass music.  Although he's a multi-instrumentalist, he bring his unique and masterful touch to his primary instrument, the Dobro, whenever he plays.  Host of NPR's The Bluegrass Sound for more than 25 years, Larry brought his extensive knowledge of the music's history and his love of its instrumentation and harmonies to his audience each week on  91.3FM.
Established in 1991 and reactivated in 2014, the SC BTMA is a non-profit organization chartered by the state of South Carolina.