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The Project

   Streamliner is a definitive chess move to announce Jesse Brock as a producer of traditional yet fresh-sounding music. Jesse is known for his sideman contributions for over 39 years, professionally, he shows here that he offers much more. Fans who follow Brock’s career have been eagerly awaiting his next outing as a soloist, singer and project producer. Brock has always played an integral part of every album he’s been apart. You’ll hear Jesse’s artistry throughout this exciting project with his signature mandolin chops, solos and intertwining backdrop behind the vocals. Additionally, you’ll also hear Jesse sharing his guitar and upright bass skills on a select few. 

   This also marks the first pairing of Jesse Brock & featured lead singer, Greg Blake. The two met several years ago when Blake was a co-owner of Jeff Scroggins & Colorado. Jesse Brock was blown away by the obvious power of Greg’s voice along with pulsing guitar rhythm & solos. Enter ‘Streamliner’ and the birth of a supergroup. Jesse has aligned himself with a juggernaut band consisting of:

  • Jesse Brock - on mandolin & harmony vocals, guitar & bass (where noted

  • Greg Blake on lead vocals & guitar

  • Barry Reed on bass (Lonesome River Band)

  • Russell Carson on 5-string and clawhammer banjo – (Ricky Skaggs)

  • Jason Carter on fiddle (The Del McCoury Band & The Travelin’ McCoury’s)

  • Bronwyn Keith-Hynes on fiddle (author of twin parts) – (Mile Twelve)

  • Josh Swift on resophonic guitar on noted tracks (14-yr. tenure w/Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver & now The Isaacs)

  • Rob Ickes on resophonic guitar on noted tracks. – (Co-founder of Blue Highway and currently, their duo, Rob Ickes & Trey Hensley). 

 

   Almost by accident, a special voice was discovered in the kitchen of Sound Biscuit owner, Dave Maggard. His daughter, Emily, actually played an audio file of her life-long friend, Felicia Mikels. Whilst Greg & Jesse selected their parts, a third part had to round them out and Miss Felicia was that choice. In addition to the three parts, a fourth made its way for the depth of bass. While Jesse currently shares the stage with current bandmate of Fast Track, Dale Perry delivers one the world’s deepest bass vocals ever heard on two tracks. 

   Jesse has spent time on the circuit with all members of this album while keeping friendships alive. Barry & Russ were members of separate bands that Jesse was a part; Barry w/Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper & Russ w/Audie Blaylock & Redline. Jason Carter was on Jesse’s ‘Kickin’ Grass’ album (2002). Jesse has watched Bronwyn Keith-Hynes flourish into the renowned artist she’s become with her band from the Boston area. 

  Now, with the release of this band album, I am sure you’ll be seeing and hearing this band throughout the near future. There is a resurgence of traditional Bluegrass music as it evolves around its origins. Though Jesse has teased us with doing another mandolin album, he saw a chance to blend with the times of putting together a stellar line-up for a band concept album. In closing, Jesse shares a moment by saying, “Amidst all the instrumental albums, I don’t share in the enthusiasm of shredding licks on one’s instrument only to dazzle the fans. I think by using my time wisely while involving a wide range of talent is a better use of my time at this point of my career. Some may consider me an anomaly amongst musicians who doesn’t build a repertoire of tunes, even though I have a few. Humbly-speaking, I like to think of myself somewhat as a proverbial mason, offering the mortar that holds a band together. That is my comfort zone in which I think I shine and excel.”

Special Thanks

     My ever-supportive parents, sisters & loving wife, Kristine. Also, the friendship and faith in my abilities from Sound Biscuit label/studio owner, Dave Maggard, his wife Rebecca & daughter, Emily. Thanks to Shane Reman for his diligence in the studio, managing all the graphics, web design and registrations. Shane & Tia Reman with ST Photography, Co. for their exceptional photography. I’d also like to thank the kind folks at the Chattanooga Choo-Choo Hotel and Railroad Museum for offering their location for the essential photo shoot. Jacob Dean & Kayla Ingle at D&F Productions with making the video and providing extra photos. Ben Surratt at The Rec Room (remote studio in Nashville). To all the wonderful artists on this project who sacrificed sleep, extended recording time, and effort getting in when there was a pandemic amongst us.

     David McLaughlin for the liner notes and years of mentoring. Doyle Lawson for his supportive quote and kindness for decades. Gentlemen like you and a short list of others helped mold me into the musician I am today. All the bands that have given me a job and paying the bills, as well as honing my skills for projects like this. Fast Track for my current full-time position of touring. 

     Thank you to Melanie Wilson at Wilson Pickins Agency, Martha Moore at SoMuchMoore Media, and Art Menius’ help with radio promotion. Karen Kouns for her additional help with bookings.   

     To all the fans throughout my career and friends supplying homes along the roads and across the seas. The countless promoters lifting me up and booking our bands back. The builders of my mandolins: Don MacRostie & Jonathon McClanahan. Last but not least, thank you for all the endorsements products that help me do my job to the fullest.   

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Credits

“Black Rock City”

Written by Mark ‘Brink’ Brinkman & Aaron Bibelhauser

BMI

Lead vocal - Greg Blake

Mandolin, guitar & high baritone - Jesse Brock

Baritone vocal - Jason Carter

Bass - Barry Reed

Banjo - Russell Carson
Resophonic Guitar - Josh Swift

“I Wonder Could I Live There Anymore”

Written by Bill Rice
Universal Polygram International Publishing, Inc.

Lead vocal - Greg Blake

Mandolin, guitar & bass - Jesse Brock

Fiddle - Jason Carter 

“Streamliner”

Written by Jesse Brock

Mandoland Music, BMI

Lead Vocal & guitar - Greg Blake

Mandolin, tenor vocal- Jesse Brock

Bass - Barry Reed

Banjo - Russell Carson
Fiddle & baritone vocal - Jason Carter

“God on the Mountain”

Written by Tracy Dartt

Manna Music, Inc./Gaviota Music, Inc.

Lead vocal & guitar - Greg Blake

Mandolin & baritone vocal - Jesse Brock

Tenor vocal - Felicia Mikels

Bass vocal - Dale Perry

Resophonic guitar - Rob Ickes

Bass - Barry Reed

“Big Mon”

Written by Bill Monroe
Bill Monroe Music/Unichappell Music, Inc.

Mandolin & chop guitar- Jesse Brock

Guitar - Greg Blake

Bass - Barry Reed

Banjo - Russell Carson

Fiddles - Jason Carter & Bronwyn Keith-Hynes

“Hey, Spike Driver”

Written by Ben Winship

Fried Acres Music/ASCAP
Lead Vocal - Greg Blake

Mandolin, tenor vocal- Jesse Brock

Guitar - Greg Blake

Bass - Barry Reed

Banjo - Russell Carson

Fiddle - Jason Carter

“Nobody Loves Me”

Written by Zeke Clements

Warner/Unichappell Music, Inc

Lead vocal & guitar - Greg Blake

Mandolin, bass & baritone vocal - Jesse Brock

Tenor vocal - Felicia Mikels 

Bass vocal - Dale Perry

Resophonic guitar - Rob Ickes

Banjo - Ron Block

“Kiss on a Cold, Cold Stone”

Written by Louisa Branscomb & Geri Byrd

Millwheel Music/BMI

Lead vocal - Greg Blake

Mandolin, guitar & baritone vocal - Jesse Brock

Banjo - Russell Carson

Resophonic guitar - Josh Swift

Felicia Mikels- tenor vocal 

Bass - Barry Reed

“What My Memory Tells Me”

Written by Chris Jones/Jon Weisberger
Gal Sal Music/Wise Kings Global Entertainment Ventures and Stuff, Inc.

Lead vocal - Greg Blake

Mandolin, guitar, bass & baritone vocal - Jesse Brock

Tenor vocal - Felicia Mikels

Resophonic guitar - Josh Swift

Fiddles - Jason Carter & Bronwyn Keith-Hynes

“Treasures of the Past”

Written by Jim Malmberg

SOCAN

Lead vocal & guitar - Greg Blake

Mandolins - Jesse Brock

Felicia Mikels - harmony 

Resophonic guitar - Josh Swift 

Bass - Barry Reed 

 “Shuckin’ the Corn”

Written by Certain Louise/Graves Burkett/Stacey Gladys
Golden West Melodies

Mandolin - Jesse Brock

Guitar - Greg Blake

Bass - Barry Reed

Banjo - Russell Carson

Fiddle - Jason Carter

“Too Much Life to let Fall Down”

Written by Greg Blake
Mountain Holler Publishing

Lead Vocal- Greg Blake

Mandolin, guitar & baritone vocal - Jesse Brock

Tenor vocal -Felicia Mikels

Clawhammer Banjo - Russell Carson

Fiddles - Jason Carter & Bronwyn Keith Hynes

Bass - Barry Reed 

Quotes from Friends

     I’ve known Jesse Brock since he was a young fellow playing in his dad’s family band and one of the things that has always impressed me is that his playing is infectious! You can see the joy in his face and feel that joy as he translates it through his playing. Jesse offers up a collection of original songs from various writers as well as a few previously recorded ones and all of them are top drawer listening. 

     Surrounding himself with an excellent cast of players, you are sure to enjoy “Streamliner” to the fullest!

Doyle Lawson
IBMA Award winner

Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver

                                                                    

      The year was 1984 when I first met Jesse Brock at Bill Grant’s bluegrass festival in Hugo, Oklahoma. I remember the life changing impact it had on me. I didn’t know it at the time but Jesse would become a constant musical and personal inspiration for me. 

       My group, the Johnson Mountain Boys, were billed along with a group by the name of The C.W. Brock Family Band who was about to go on stage. The band consisted of a twelve year old boy named Jesse who played mandolin, his two older sisters, and father. Their lovely mother assisted in their live audio, merchandise and clothing design. I was curious and departed our record table to go to the stage because an excited crowd was quickly filling up the seats to see this group. And when the Brock Family started their show, I instantly knew why the crowd had packed the seats in anticipation. The show was fantastic!...[great talent by the whole family, great vocal harmonies, great instrumental cohesiveness, great arrangements, and great showmanship]. And, there was something extra special to me... that amazing youngster with the mandolin, Jesse Brock. I was the mandolin player in the Johnson Mountain Boys, so I always paid special attention to other mandolin players at the festivals. I don’t believe I had ever heard someone so young play with such authority and such a mature sound and style, as if he’d been playing for thirty years. How could it be? It was as if he’d already mastered the instrument. And I noticed the crowd went wild over Jesse’s mandolin playing. I was also blown away by this boy’s playing and singing. I instantly knew he would one day be a successful celebrity musician.

       I approached the Brock family after their set to congratulate them all on a very fine show. I distinctly remember telling Jesse that if he were to choose to be a career musician as an adult, he would certainly be a superstar. Of course, everybody who knew the Brock family knew that Jesse was destined for great things to come!

         After that set, Jesse and I were still together, backstage & swapped a few mandolin licks, traded mandolins for a while & talked about life in general. Hanging out together at that festival, Jesse also proved to be just as mature as a person as he was with his music. I remember that even at the age of twelve he was a fine and respectable young man. He treated his instrument with great care, wiping the wood and strings down after his show. So I had no reservations about letting Jesse have his way with my old 1923 Gibson F-5 Loar-signed mandolin that day, and I passed it to him to play as long as he wanted to. I believe that at that first meeting, my mandolin might be the first original Loar mandolin he had ever held and played. I told Jesse I had no doubt that one day he’ll own one. And as of this writing, but not used on this album, he does own one of the finest Loar mandolins I have ever played.

        From that first meeting we became the greatest friends...like brothers, and from then on we made a point of hanging out together whenever we were at shows together in the 1980s. After the C.W. Brock Family Band disbanded in 1988, we became more closely related on a professional and personal level, as Jesse continued perusing a career in music. 

For many years now, we have spent a lot of personal time together, touring and performing together, recording together, visiting at my home for days and weeks at a time, talking about the struggles, successes and failures of our personal and professional lives, laughing or grieving together. We have shared ideas and dreams about the music business, writing, composing, and arranging, the importance of tone, timing, rhythm and groove, our mutual love of not only traditional Monroe style mandolin, but other instruments and all kinds of traditional and progressive forms of music.

       Jesse often tells people that I have been a mentor to him. I am honored by that and in all honesty, ever since I first met Jesse in 1984, he has been a huge inspirational force to me. I have learned so much about music and life from Jesse over the years. I have spent hours and hours listening to his music, and while trying to learn his breaks, realizing that I am very fortunate to be one of Jesse’s closest friends. And now that I have these wonderful tracks to listen to, I can’t stop playing along, only wishing I could play like Jesse Brock! If you are a picker too, you’ll want to play along with this record over and over and try to do all the cool licks that Jesse is doing!

         Jesse mostly used his 2019 Red Diamond (serial # 306). It is a July 9, 1923 voicing & was built upon the specifications of a Gibson ‘Lloyd Loar’-signed F5 model. Also, he has a custom 2016 McClanahan “Trinity” model (serial #733), both depicted in the album photos. He also used (mostly) his 1987 D-16M Martin guitar and Dave Maggard’s shaded top D18 Martin. On his selected bass tracks, he has a 1950 American Standard. He mentioned the set up by Randy Barnes of Richmond, KY.. He goes on to explain, “I purchased this bass from Marshall Wilborn in 2006 (?). It was in pieces when he found it in CO.. Frank & Ron Stewart put it together and I acquired it many years later when Marshall needed to thin out the herd.” 

 

       Well, as I sit here listening to his first solo album in 19 years, I focus in on his choices of the Streamliner band. He has surrounded himself with the cream of the crop. This is a team that features the lead vocals of Greg Blake. Though in the business for many years and recently known as manager and lead vocalist & guitarist of Jeff Scroggins & CO., that band was dissolved and Jesse wanted to capitalize upon the opportunity to record with this wonderful voice and guitarist. He was kind enough to bring a handful of songs to the project as well as a self-penned beauty, ‘Too Much Life’. 

        To ‘roll’ Streamliner out of the depot is ex-bandmate, Russ Carson, to play the 5-string banjo and old-time clawhammer style on two. Jesse scripted in Russ’ clawhammer style on his solo of ‘Black Rock City’ (as a bouncy back-up alternative to the Scruggs style). 

Bronwyn Keith-Hynes arranged all the fiddle parts on twins. She & Jason Carter are becoming the “dynamic duo” of twin fiddle virtuosos in Nashville. Jason handles solo fiddle work on selected cuts as well as some fine depth of baritone vocals. Jason was also on Kickin’ Grass (2002). 

      Though Jesse is on selective tracks playing bass, he has chosen another ex-bandmate, Barry Reed to be in the spotlight for the job. “He puts it right where it needs to be so I can achieve what I go for, says Jesse.”

      Ron Block makes a cameo appearance, playing his creative style on 5-string banjo on ‘Nobody Loves Me’, whom Jesse has wanted on his album for years. 

      Producers, Jesse & Dave, selectively chose what best suits the songs by bringing in Felicia Mikels; surprisingly, making her recording debut from the Sevierville, TN. area. Her voice is pure country and lends nicely to the trios she graces. Jesse explains how, “....it was divine intervention,” as a lifetime friend of Emily Maggard, daughter of Dave Maggard (label owner/engineer/executive producer) played a sound bite of her on her phone while at his dinner table. It was all Jesse had to hear during this ‘Eureka moment’. 

       While we discuss vocals: Last but not least, are the amazingly-low bass vocals of current bandmate in Fast Track, Dale Perry. He’ll rattle the speakers on two tracks and is a great friend to Jesse & myself, whom Jesse says he’s known since the early 80’s when seeing him perform with the ‘Bluegrass Cardinals’. 

      Returning again is our mutual friend on the resophonic guitar whom also recorded on ‘Kickin’ Grass’, Rob Ickes made it on a couple tracks. Jesse & Rob were band members, briefly, in the winter of ‘93 whilst in The Lynn Morris Band & as he later went on to form Blue Highway. Josh Swift was also added in upon his [Rob’s] recommendation during a discussion of twin Dobros. Josh performed for 14 years w/Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, toured w/Lyle Lovett. Jesse managed to squeeze him in from his tight schedule prior to joining The Isaacs’. 

      So, it shows how longevity in the business has paid off in this project with his associates. Jesse says, “This band is for hire on exclusive dates & I wanted to put a supergroup together that music lovers of my generation could identify with & help carry the baton of my heroes.”

     Punch your ticket, climb aboard & recline that seat for a musical journey with Jesse Brock and ‘Streamliner’. 

 

David McLaughlin

IBMA Hall of Fame

The Johnson Mountain Boys