Carolyne VanLierop calls Blountstown, Florida her home. She began her love for bluegrass at a young age after watching the Lewis family at the Annual Florida Sheriff's Ranch show. Soon after that show, Carolyne began learning the 5 string banjo. In 2002, Carolyne joined her grandfather’s family band the Sheriff’s Posse and then some years later Carolyne and her cousins formed the band The Rivertown Girls. The Rivertown Girls played many festivals in Florida, Georgia, and Alabama and produced 3 albums within the six years they were together. Following the Rivertown Girls, Carolyne played with Big Bend Bluegrass and Big River Bluegrass band. Carolyne is also a founding member of ACKR joining Crystal and Amanda in early 2014. Carolyne's solid driving banjo playing and sweet harmony and lead vocals make her a great asset to ACKR!
Amanda Cook found a love for music at an early age. She inherited her love of bluegrass from her father who played banjo throughout her childhood. She began her bluegrass career in early 2007 with the band High Cotton she formed with her father. In 2013, Amanda decided to step out on her own, determined to create her own sound releasing her first solo album “One Stop Along the Road.” The project made it to the top 150 Roots Music Bluegrass Album Charts for 2014 and 2015 (#61 for 2015 #56 for 2014). Amanda contacted Crystal and Carolyne in early 2013 and formed the band Kennesaw Ridge. ACKR played several festivals throughout the southeast in 2014 and 2015 and placed 10th in the 2016 SPBGMA Band Competition. Amanda couldn’t be happier with their success thus far and considers herself so blessed to have such a great bunch of musicians with her on this journey.
Scotty French from Panama City, Florida joined Kennesaw Ridge in early 2015. He has been a musician all of his life. Music has been in his family spanning back several generations. Scotty started playing guitar with his family at the age of 7. Over the years, Scotty has played in several groups of all different genres. Blues, country, southern and classic rock and gospel. In 2011, Scotty received The Beacon Award from the Emerald Coast Southern Gospel Music Association as Studio Musician of the Year. In the last 10 years Scotty has focused on singing and playing bluegrass music. “Music is my passion and the bluegrass fans and community are the best.” Scotty is a great addition to Amanda Cook and Kennesaw Ridge, his years of experience with both music and management have been a significant asset.
Greg Jones from Mt Airy, North Carolina takes great pride in being born and raised in the middle of a bluegrass and old time community. His hometown and surrounding area has produced great artists such as James King, Tommy Jarrell, Cullen Galyean and Benton Flippen, just to name a few. Greg grew up with family members that were very talented musicians who never received recognition outside the family gatherings or local community jams. It wasn’t a hard decision for Greg to choose to learn to pick at the early age of 15. Leaning on his foundation of music and a natural ear, Greg developed his own playing style on Mandolin. Greg spent many nights with his younger brother, Tony listening to records learning licks and runs! Having learned to harmonize with his mother and brother at a young age gave him the smooth tenor voice that blends so well on both 3 and 4 part harmonies. Greg played with family bands but since has played with the following bands; Cana River Boys, Backyard Bluegrass, Borderline, James King Band, Acoustic Blend, Crosswinds, Piedmont Grass, Cornerstone, Bluegrass Tradition, Cullen Galyean and The Bluegrassers, Rich In Tradition and Atomic Roots. Greg is a wonderful addition to Amanda Cook and Kennesaw Ridge and we can’t wait for our fans to meet him out on the road with us. We are sure you will not be disappointed!!
George Mason from Gulfport, MS found a love of music at the early age of 8. George was handed a fiddle and fell in love. He took his first lessons in Arkansas from Wayne Gourd. By the tender age of 9, George was playing his first gigs. At age 14, George started his professional music career playing full time at Dogpatch USA Theme Park. 2 years later he was on tour with Tommy Overstreet and the Nashville Express. George had a full career before he was 24 playing for the following Opry Stars; Jean Sheppard, Jeanie Sealie, Freddy Hart, Johnny Duncan, Jack Green, Melba Montgomery, Stonewall Jackson, Cal Smith, Tommy Cash, Charlie Louvin, Connie Smith and so many more. George was also the music director for the Osmond Brothers for 6 years. He toured with Patti Page and played both Violin and Guitar with the Lawrence Welk Orchestra. Needless to say, George has had an incredible long term career in music. He joined Amanda Cook and Kennesaw Ridge in early 2017. His playing is so very soul full and smooth, we are so blessed to have him on our team.
Amanda Cook and Kennesaw Ridge from the Gulf Coast of Florida came onto the Bluegrass Scene with drive and determination. Bringing a mix of Traditional and Contemporary Bluegrass in every show, audiences of all ages enjoy their live performances. Amanda Cook and Kennesaw Ridge played many shows regionally and they are moving into the national level at a fast pace. Meet our band members below.
Crystal Owens, born in 1988 and a lifelong resident of Panama City, FL has played music from a young age. Crystal got her start playing piano in elementary school, later playing the clarinet in middle school band. In early childhood, Crystal’s grandfather started his own bluegrass band and Crystal fell in love with traditional bluegrass music. She learned to play the upright bass and then the guitar. Crystal has been playing bluegrass music full time since 2002. She has played with Kingswood Bluegrass, GrassRoots Bluegrass, Big River Bluegrass, Big Bend Bluegrass and filled in with other local bands around the panhandle. Crystal is a founding member of ACKR and has shown great determination and dedication to the success of the group. Crystal is a solid bass player and musician.