We grew up around music it was part of our family as long as I can remember.  1974 is a year I will never forget.  I turned twelve that year and for my birthday I got my first guitar.  I saw my first real concert that year.  David and Dad took me to see Elvis Presley at Municipal Auditorium in Kansas City.  And it was also the same year my parents got divorced.  David went on the road with his own show band, a chick singer, Las Vegas, the whole bit.  And I started staying the summers at Dad’s farm in Sedalia.  It was great; I learned a lot about music and hauling hay.  I was always around people who would help me, showing me little riffs and new chords on the guitar.  For Christmas 1975 I got a bass.  Dad would come over to Mom’s on Sundays and teach me how to play it.  But all I really wanted to know was how to play Johnny B. Good on the guitar.  I must have made him play it a thousand times.  When I got to where I could play the bass a little.  Dad would get me little pick up gigs with not so good country bands.  I was terrible but I was learning.  Dad was playing four nights a week at Maxine’s in Sedalia, doing his radio show from noon until three and still running the farm.  Every now and then on Sunday night Dad’s bass player would let me set in.  It was like the big time to me.  The place was always packed and the band played song after song with no down time.  Dad had it going on.  Some time in 1976 David’s show band blew up.  The bass player went to sleep at the wheel and rolled a new van out in the dessert.  He came home and formed another band but it didn’t last long.  David then came back to play for dad.  Then one night in '77 I was a freshman in high school. Dave and Joe Green called me on a Wed. night about 7:00p.m. and said that Tom the bass player wanted off work. The gig was at Maxine's in Sedalia with Johnny Nace and The Midniters. I was only fifteen and couldn't drive. I think my best friend from school took me and Dave brought me home. I do know it was one of the best nights of my life. I played Tom Ross' bass rig and proved that night I could handle the job. I had tried to prove it many times before but I wasn't good enough and Dad wouldn’t let me slide. Besides I couldn't sing harmony like Tom.  That night was special and I'll never forget it. I think Dave really wanted me in the band from that night on. At that point in our lives we were becoming best friends. 

    

I had been in a few lame country bands but had finally met someone in high school that could really play music. "Jim Booe". We had just started the band Presence. Dave liked our band and knew we were getting pretty good. Dave convinced dad and Joe that the two of us together could take Tom's place. Jim could play the guitar and piano and sing harmony fluently. Tom was earning $200.00 a week. When Jim Booe and I joined the band we split his pay. We played Wed., Fri., Sat., & Sun. The money was great but going to school was tough. Dad wouldn’t let me quit school and I sure wasn't going to quit the band. Sometimes Dad booked weekends out of town. But we always came back to play at Maxine's on Sundays. By 1981 we were going out on the road more. Jim Booe had already quit and Joe Green couldn't go on road. So for a short time we didn't have him either. Joe Green was dads partner and right hand man for twenty years.  We grew up with Joe.    He was the best steel guitar player and the best teacher we could have had.  We loved him like a second father.

   

 I wish I could say it was a woman that broke up the band because that had a lot to do with it .But that’s not all it was. It was partly the music. We grew tired of playing it and we didn't appreciate it anymore. We wanted to start our own band. I mainly blame the Allman Brothers album, "Live at Filmore East".  The first time we heard it we knew right then we weren't going to be satisfied until we learned to play that kind of music.

    

Tim Williams was just finishing college and had played bass and fiddle in a couple of legendary bands around town. He and Dave had grown up together.  We knew he was a great musician.  Dave and I were still playing in Dad's band when he hired a guitar player that was a great singer, Rodger Dillon.  We did the hardest thing in the world, that's right we quit Dad's band.  Dad was all set to go back to our old gig, four nights a week, and work with Joe again, but he was still upset. 

   

 Tim, Rodger, Dave and I started the Nace Brothers Band.  We had a couple of good jams but Dave wanted a steel player.  He invited Brad Rigby to come over to our house and jam on the steel with us.  He was a great guy and he knew a lot of the same old country songs that we knew.   So we hired him. 

    

Our first gig was December 31st, 1981.  Our first song of the night was "Ramblin' Man", with twin guitars and everything.  It was like a dream come true.  We played five nights a week in Sedalia at the Best Western lounge.  The band made $1000 a week and I think we each got a room.  I swear we had more fun than Elvis or the Beatles.  After about a month Brad quit and moved to Florida.  He was replaced by Mark Furnell who played keyboards and banjo. 

   

 In another month or so Rodger quit and moved to Colorado.  Mark told us about another guitar player and singer that he use to play in a band with, Rick Miller.  We looked around for awhile and decided that Rick was by far the best person for the job.  One time, for some reason or another, Mark couldn't play a gig in Iowa so Dave, Tim, Rick and I played the week as a four piece band.  It was great.  Tim and I took turns, when he played the fiddle I played the bass.  The people at this particular place really liked us.  When we got home we started practicing with Mark.  We also hired a saxophone player Stuart Williams.  We liked the way it sounded.  We could cover Springsteen and still play bluegrass instrumentals.  We talked about going back to Iowa to play that same club, only this time there were six of us.  We thought we would blow the roof off the joint because we were a lot better, but they didn't like it.  They all told the agent that they liked us better the first time.  Needless to say we lost the gig! 

    

About this time a great friend and songwriter, Willie Woods, had gotten backing to do an album in Nashville.  Willie had convinced Bud Netz Productions to put up the money for a Nace Brothers Band album.  We all agreed it was a great idea.  We did five of his songs and five of our songs.  In late August of '82 we all went to Nashville.  We hired Jack Eubands to produce our first album, Smooth Rockin'.  Jack was a long time friend and session leader of Dads.  He was also session leader for Alabama.  When Dad found out we were going to record he booked the same studio a day after we finished and Tim, Dave and I got to play on five of his songs with the Nashville A-team.  It was an experience we'll never forget.  The three of us learned a lot that day, recording with Dad.  We felt like we had proved ourselves to "The Big Boys".  It broke down a lot of barriers between us and Dad.  Everything was back to normal.  Tim had played some of the best fiddle tracks he ever had.  He went back and twined his parts and so did Jim Baker, the steel player.  It sounded great.  To me that album, Her Favorite Song, was Dads best record.  Dad had watched Tim grow up as well and was very proud of all three of us.

    

Not long after we got home, Mark, our piano/banjo player, quit the band.  We didn't seem to mind, we still had two guitars, saxophone, bass and drums.  (All this time Dave is fronting the band sitting down in the back playing drums.)  In the winter of '85 we released a new single, "He's Cool" and "Rock-a-Billy Babies".  Both songs were written by Willie Woods who financed the sessions.  Willie found out we could get the studio from midnight until four o'clock a.m. for half price.  He began recording his own solo album, "Hot Rod Devils".  It was a great Rock-a-Billy record.  He had just gotten his new band together about the same time that our rhythm guitar player and singer Rick Miller quit.  We then asked/begged Willie to put his solo career on hold and join up with us and he did.  His picture is on the single with us but he's not playing on it.  Rick and I did all the guitars.  We were really hurt more then than before when other people would quit.  We thought Rick was great and we really hated to lose him.  In "88, not long after we hired Willie, Stuart Williams the sax player quit and moved to Texas to go back to school.  We played a few gigs four piece and really felt stale.  We really thought we needed a change.  That's when we met organ player, Bart Colliver. 

   

 Sometime in '87 we convinced Willie to start up his solo career again so we could hire Bart.  Willie was cool and thought it was a great idea.  I was getting better on guitar and we didn't feel we needed two guitars anymore.  We loved the power of Hammond organ and Bart could do it well.   

   

 About that time is when we moved Dave and the drums up front.  I think the idea came from the "Stray Cats".  We love Rock-a-Billy music and their drummer stood up.  Dave and I formed a "just for fun" band on the side, "The Twangcasters".  It was Rock-a-Billy music.  The band featured Dad and Mick Luehrman on guitars, Dave on stand up drums and me on bass. We mainly played Wednesday or Thursday nights at Bodie’s in downtown Warrensburg when our schedules permitted it.  I think that was our only gig.  Later on in the spring of 1990 David and I went to Nashville with Dad.  We recorded five more songs to go with the five songs dad did back in 1982 which would complete the album “her favorite song”.   That same year 4th of July weekend, the Twangcasters and the Nace Brothers Band played together at Bodie's.  It was a big jam and we had a blast.  But it was the last time we would ever perform with Dad, in public, again.  Fifty-one days later Dad died of a heart attack at the age of 56. 

   

 In '89 we recorded a five song e.p. titled "Life Goes On" that never got released.  The agency we worked for paid for the sessions and a couple thousand cassettes.  They soon folded and we never got our tapes.  Even though the agency went bankrupt we still had to pay the owner 15% commission on all our gigs for 18 months after our contract expired, even though Dave was the one booking all the jobs.  We were pissed off but didn't have the money for a lawyer. 

   

 That was about the time we met Bentley Ousley, producer and owner of Pragmatic Studios.  We still felt ripped off from our last recording and we were a little gun shy.  We had no idea that Bentley had been watching our band since '84.  He had never introduced himself to us.  One night his wife, Lisa, got us all together and we hit it off.  He knew what we had been through and that we were in to music for life.  Bentley wanted to help us make our first c.d.  It worked out great and in '91 we released, "There Comes A Time". 

  

  It seemed like things were turning around.  Bentley's recording of the new c.d. got reviewed by J.L. Jamison and Michael Utly.  That was part of the reason we got accepted on the Margaritaville Cafe album with Jimmy Buffett. 

   

 In '92 we got to record two songs at Shrimp Boat Sound Studios in Key West, Florida with no guarantee that they would get accepted.  There were lots of bands submitting material.  The first day was awful.  (Somehow I lost my amp on the way to the studio.)  I thought there would be a guitar amp there so I didn't take mine.  But when I got to the studio there was no guitar amp.  So I had to go back to Margaritaville and get mine.    Dave rode with me.  He went in to get it.  I pulled in to a "No Parking" zone out front.  I waited in the van but he never came out.  So I went in to find him and left the van unattended.  My amp was gone. What I didn't know was that Dave had taken it out through the back door of the restaurant’s kitchen thinking I would pull the van around back.  I ran up to the band apartment to look for him but still couldn't find him.  By the time I got back to the van the cops were there and were preparing to tow it off.  I finally figured out that he must have gone through the kitchen.  But when I pulled the van around back he had already hidden the amp in the kitchen and gone to look for me.  We finally found each other.  When I got back to the studio I was a wreck, late, hung over, starving, shoutin', cussin' and kickin' the van.  I tried to blame everyone but myself when I only had myself to blame.  J.L. Jamison was the producer in charge.  He is a helluva man.  He saw me at my worst and is still one of my greatest friends.  I was a complete idiot that day.

    

J.L. wanted us to record "Life Goes On" but we didn't want to.  I had just written "Club 15" and we really wanted to record it.  So we did.  The next day we recorded "Space In Your Heart".  It went a little smoother.  When we got word from J.L. that "Club 15" made the c.d. but "Space In Your Heart" didn't we were all surprised.  We completed the rest of our "Club 15" c.d. at Bentley's and released it in '94. 

    

We soon started work on our tribute c.d. with Gary (Mully) Mullins, playing piano on every song and Bart strictly on organ.  Mully had played on the first c.d. "There Comes A Time".  And T.J. Erhardt and Bill Laursen played piano on the "Club 15" sessions as well.  We laid down the tracks at Station Studios, in Warrensburg, MO, owned and operated by our great friend Willie Woods.  We gave the master tapes to Bentley so he could digitally mix and master them.  He did a great job.  It wasn't easy switching it over to digital and getting rid of "the noise". 

   

 In ‘96 we released “roots of steel” A tribute to Johnny Nace.  By this time Bart and I were getting boring and uncreative.  I thought so anyway.  We'd been playing together for a long time now.  I thought our live performances were getting lame.  In August of '96 Bart quit and started his own band.  We hired T.J. Erhardt and for the last ten years we've never been happier.  I think T.J.'s skills far exceed anyone's we've ever had in the band.  We think that, musically, we are better than we've ever been. 

   

 The tribute c.d. let us get back to our "roots".  We don't get to play it every night so when we do it's a special occasion.  We always have our long time family friend, Nelson Stoneking, on pedal steel guitar.  If you haven't seen the “roots of steel” show in full force, you should.  It's worth it just to see Nelson play.  He is truly a master of the steel guitar.  In the summer of 2000 the “roots of steel” show reached its peak.  We were opening a show for Merle Haggard at Cain’s ballroom in Tulsa, OK, The home of Bob Wills since 1946.  It was the second night in a row we had opened for merle and we were on.  It was sold out; we got a standing ovation and could possibly be the greatest gig of all time.  Knowing how much it meant to Nelson made it even more special. 

    

One other thing happened in the winter of 1996 before Bart left.  We got hired by former Mellancamp guitarist Larry Crane.  Ed Gause was the one who got us all together.  He was Larry’s drummer and percussionist.  We spent a week at Larry’s house in Bloomington IN. rehearsing day and night.  And for the next couple of months we were Larry’s band, opening the shows and backing him up.  Musically it was great, probably the best we ever sounded.  But it was short lived and hard to make any money with that many people in the band.  We couldn't wait to get home and get T.J. worked in.  In 1999 we started working on Trouble on the hill with Bentley Ousley at Pragmatic studio.  I guess the real inspiration behind this c.d. is the Ballad of Lizzie Heard.  It’s a true story of my great aunt Alti killing Lizzie Heard during some sort of drunken brawl.  My mom had written this book about the family.  And every now and then during some family dinner or holiday I would go back to her room and read a little more of it.  I always thought it was just boring family stuff until one day my sister Lori said 'Did you read that part about aunt Alti killing that lady"?  I went right back to Mom’s room and started going through all those type written pages.  After I read it I made mom tell me everything she knew about it.  The next day I went to the court house and there it was on public record, The Burtville news 1907.  Alti Nace arrested for murder.  I went right home and wrote the song The Ballad of Lizzie Heard in a little less than an hour.  It was almost like it wrote itself.  Recording it at Bentleys was great.  We had Mick Luehrman on the mandolin and the late Forrest Rose on acoustic bass and Tim on the fiddle.  It's not very often songs click like that but when they do it's truly something special.  Trouble on the Hill was released in 2001.  Bentley spent more time and money than anyone on this c.d.  Without him it would not have been possible. 

 

About this time Bentley had taken a new job. He wouldn’t be able to go the distance on the Moonshine c.d.  We weren’t sure where to turn.  One day David called Steve Phillips.  Steve said to come over to Rear Window studio in Leawood, KS and check it out.  We loved it.  It was a studio and it wasn’t in some ones house.  We set up in one big room and captured our live sound more than we ever had. Moonshine was released in June of 2005.  Steve then introduced us to an independent record promoter, Joe Estrada of Upstart Entertainment. He was able to get Moonshine charted on the AMA charts, it entered at #105 and it soared to #99.

 

2007 was a great year for us. We were kicking around the idea of making a video. We had been talking to independent film maker, Ben Meade. He had made a few films of his own and was the head of the film department at Avila University in K.C. We were scheduled to play a benefit show for an old church (Pilgrim Chapel) that use to be a school for the deaf in K.C. We were scheduled to play at the church about 1:00 or so. We had just finished a three night stand at Blayneys, night club in old Westport where, on the weekends, you play til 2:30am. The load out was horrible and so was the drive home. But the gig had become our bread and butter at that time. So needless to say, by the time we got to the church at noon on Sunday we were fried. We thought we would play a few songs acoustically and go back to bed. But when we got there they had hired a sound man to mic and record everything. Ben brought three students from the university and they were filming as well. We ended up mixing the tracks and putting out the C.D. Live at Pilgrim Chapel. As we were packing up I saw Ben filming a conversation with Mom. Footage he would use later that year for our DVD Lifelong Road Trip. Once again we thought we were just going to film us playing a regular gig, but Ben got in the van and wouldn’t get out. He ended up goin to Florida with us and all kinds of stuff. He even found some old black and white VHS tapes of our Dad and got him in the film as well. He entered our film in the Hot Springs documentary film festival in Arkansas. So the first time we got to see it was in a crowded movie theatre. It was cool. People applauded when it ended and we did a little Q & A afterwards. But the best part of that night was the reception party. David, Ben and I went to this mansion in the mountains of Hot Springs with Arkansas’ finest. As soon as we walked in we were treated like royalty. I ended up on a silk sofa with Jerry Van Dyke (star of Coach) asking me questions about the documentary. WOW… I won’t forget that night for as long as I live. Main questions: How long did it take? And did you really have to pay that much for gasoline in Florida? Answer: About a year and Yes, almost $5.00 a gallon. The next day we ate at McClards Bar-b-que in Hot Springs. The owners, John and Brenda came to our table to greet us personally; they wouldn’t let us pay for anything. Although we couldn’t rub two dimes together we were still fat and happy on our way home.

 

2011 Found us in a new studio with a new producer and the best songs I’ve ever written. In August we released our “Well Traveled Road” CD. There were a lot of ups and downs but we got through it. We ordered a thousand CD’s and before a year went by we ordered another thousand. I know it doesn’t sound like much but we were happy about it. For about the last three or four years things were getting real weird with long time bass player Tim Williams. We had a good run and after thirty years in the band together I can’t say I didn’t see it coming. It was not a very smooth departure. But that’s the way it goes in this business. The beautiful thing is, everybody is happy!

 

In June of 2012 we hired Paul Greenlease to take his place. Paul has gone above and beyond the call of duty. One night a friend came in and requested to hear “The Great Ones Fall” but Paul had never played it. He went out to the van on break, learned it, came back in and nailed it. We were totally impressed . We hope he sticks around a while. So naturally we are back at it, writing new songs saving up money for the next CD and can’t wait to get back in the studio with the current line up. If there’s one thing I’ve learned ~ Sound travels and time flies ~ Better get together while we still have time… jimmy

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