Tony Rook — Guitar, Banjo and Vocals


Tony was 12 years old when he first picked up a guitar. But it was well before that that the North Carolina native decided he wanted to perform.

Like millions of others, he was mesmerized by The Beatles’ “Ed Sullivan Show” debut, realizing then and there that music was going to be part of his life.

His parents were early musical influences. Dad, Carl, played guitar, and mother, Jean, played the piano during their church’s Sunday School services. But it was his uncle, Bill Meacham, who really turned him on to bluegrass. A Baptist preacher and mandolin picker who played professionally in the eastern North Carolina communities he served, Meacham willingly shared his tapes of his performances with the young musician and mentored the budding musician.

The lyrical mandolin sounds and bluegrass beats lured the then teen, who by then was gaining an interest in rock ‘n’ roll. And while Tony joined several rock bands, he never lost that early appreciation for that “high, lonesome sound.”

By his early 20s, Tony was performing professionally as part of the folk duo, Riggs & Rook. When the partnership dissolved, Tony’s longtime love of bluegrass music drove him toward the banjo. By the early 80s, he was studying the five string with Bobby Hicks, Ricky Skaggs’ longtime fiddle player.

Before long, the singer/songwriter was playing with several bands in the North Carolina area, most notably The Eno Ramblers, and then Rook and Wood, who in 2000 released the CD, “Labor of Love,” containing 14 original tunes.

Songwriting remains a focus for Tony, whose contemporary bluegrass compositions are largely based on personal experiences.

While Tony’s musical influences include Tony Rice, Bryan Sutton, Earl Scruggs, Tony Trischka and Bela Fleck, he attributes his unique style to a lifetime of musical exploration and interest in a variety of musical genres.

In 2006, Tony was transferred to Minnesota, but quickly jumped into its bluegrass scene. He currently plays guitar, and sings lead and tenor with Dick Kimmel & Co.

His first solo project, “The Road Back Home” was released in early 2016.

Brent Fuqua — Mandolin and Vocals

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Credit David Grisman and Jerry Garcia. The pickers and friends were chief among Brent’s early musical influences, particularly Garcia’s Grateful Dead and the duo’s bluegrass supergroup, Old and in the Way.

Taking after his uncle, Chuck Gudgel, Brent picked up the guitar, an instrument the young Kansan thought "was pretty cool."

But it wasn’t just the instrument or the styles of music he found himself drawn to: bluegrass and American folk. It was their sound and their power.

As the ‘70s melted into the ‘80s and early ‘90s, Brent remained among the dedicated bluegrass faithful. But by the mid ‘90s he put music on hold to focus on family.

In 2013 and living in Minnesota, he was ready to dive back in. He picked up the mandolin and hasn’t looked back.

The transition from guitar to mandolin has been seamless — and sweet.

Brent brings a modern approach to his playing, his breaks in particular. He’s a strong instrumentalist whose creativity, enthusiasm and energy helps drive TRB. Brent enjoys the universal appeal of bluegrass.

"There’s no age limit on what’s in fashion," he says. "The people who play it are great people. It’s family."

Terry Johnson — Upright Bass and Vocals

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There were 13 years of piano lessons and countless performances in his hometown church, but Terry never forgot his desire to be like his dad. But unlike most boys, Terry’s father, Everette Johnson, played electric bass for years in southwest Minnesota country bands and at area retirement homes.

His Dad taught him to play the bass and accordion when he was 10. And in his teens Terry played solo acts for the residents at local retirement homes.

In his parents’ Balaton, Minnesota, basement, Terry practiced the bass with records, playing songs over and over until he’d mastered them.

Terry moved to the Twin Cities in 1984 to focus on family, school and a job. He didn’t pick up the bass again until 2003, picking for fun with his in-laws. Three years later, he attended his first bluegrass festival and sat in on one of bassist David Tousley’s workshops. It was love.

Within a month, Terry had bought his first upright bass. He’s been playing ever since. As its bassist, he’s TRB’s backbone. And there’s no one better than Terry at keeping that solid beat. His tenor vocals are a highlight.

For Terry, there’s nothing about bluegrass that doesn’t ring true. "I just love the sound," he said. "The drive, the harmonies are fantastic. The instruments tell a story. You can hear it."

Terry joined Dick Kimmel & Co. in 2012, and became a founding member of TRB in 2016.

Graham Sones — Five-String Banjo and Vocals

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For Graham Sones it was less about the pies and more about the sound of the banjo played by the guy with the red striped shirt and straw hat at Shakey's Pizza.

The emotional connection was immediate; the physical connection came later. When his dad, Don Sones, received a banjo one year for his birthday, then 12-year-old Graham told himself that was the instrument for him. Within days he borrowed an uncle’s old-time, open-back banjo and spent months practicing for a Thanksgiving concert for family.

A year or so later he and his dad visited Grant’s Early Bird Bluegrass Festival in Hugo, Oklahoma, catching acts like The Dillards, The Osborne Brothers, The Stanley Brothers, Larry Stephenson, and Jim & Jesse. He was mesmerized.

In his hometown of Rochester, Minnesota, Graham connected with local musician and music shop owner, Bob Loy. Loy mentored the young picker, set up lessons, took him to area festivals and helped him find players for his bands throughout high school.

He hadn't played much other than practice throughout college, but that changed in the early 90s when he met Alan Munde at a workshop. Alan recommended that he start playing in bands to make things happen. And happen it did.

Graham, who has played with Dick Kimmel & Co. and Monroe Crossing, brings a driving banjo to the quartet. He’s extremely versatile and can easily shift from melodic fiddle tunes to a straight-ahead Scruggs style.

Like his band mates, Graham finds bluegrass an "honest" style of music. "It’s a raw exhibition of talent. You’re playing your instrument and it’s total skill."