The Band

Matt Leadbetter - Resophonic Guitar

Matt Leadbetter is one of the top dobro players on the circuit today. Being raised in a musical family he started playing at the early age of 8 years old. Growing up he would go out of town with his dad, dobro great Phil Leadbetter to watch him perform. Seeing his father play the dobro, Matt knew that was the instrument for him.

Now with nearly 20 years playing and 14 years on the road, Matt has already accomplished many things in his career. He landed his first road gig in 2000 where he traveled with Lynwood Lunsford and the Misty Valley Boys. He spent a year with Lynwood and also recorded on the album "It's A Carolina Morning". In 2002, Matt took the gig with Blue Moon Rising and performed with them for nearly a year. Once Matt got out of school, he started performing with Valerie Smith and Liberty Pike. You can hear Matt's dobro and harmony work on two of Valerie's CD's entitled "That's What Love Can Do " along with the gospel album "Wash Away Your Troubles".  Matt spent nearly 2-1/2 years with Liberty Pike before taking the job with the IBMA award winning group the Lonesome River Band.

Matt's playing along with his harmony vocals started getting recognized across the country by fans and some of the best artist in the business. You can hear Matt on the Lonesome River Bands  IBMA nominated album "The Road With No End". At the end of 2007, Matt took the gig with Grammy Award winner Marty Raybon (former lead singer for Shenandoah). Matt spent nearly 3 years with Marty traveling across the U.S playing some of the biggest country/bluegrass festivals around. Matt also recorded dobro and harmony vocals on 2 of Marty's albums which were both nominated for awards.

“I am really looking forward to this journey with the Dale Ann Bradley Band. I have always been a big fan of her music over the years. Dale Ann has one of the most gifted voices as well as one of the best bands on the circuit so I am very honored to be a part of it.”

Eli Gilbert -

Banjo

Eli Gilbert is a native of North Yarmouth, Maine. After seeing J.D. Crowe and the New South at the Thomas Point Beach Bluegrass Festival Eli decided to pick up the banjo and eventually moved to Johnson City, Tennessee to study Bluegrass at East Tennessee State University. There he went on on to perform with the ETSU Bluegrass Pride Band as well as Jeff Brown and Still Lonesome.

After graduating with a degree in Bluegrass, Country, and Old Time Studies Eli returned to Maine, where he teaches Roots Music and Jazz at Bates College and North Yarmouth Academy. He also offers dozens of free Bluegrass banjo video demonstrations and transcriptions for aspiring banjo students, which can be found at www.eligilbertbanjo.com

In 2018 Eli had the opportunity to fill in with the Dale Ann Bradley Band, and was thrilled to be asked to join the band in April of 2019. “I am constantly impressed by Dale Ann’s incredible talent and kindness. I feel so grateful to be able to perform with and learn from such an important voice in Bluegrass.”

Ethan Burkhardt -

Bass

From the birthplace of recorded jazz, Richmond, IN, Ethan Burkhardt's musical foundation is built on a highly musical family. 

His grandfather was the orchestra director at Richmond High School for 48 years which has the distinction of being the first high school orchestra program in the nation.  Notable students that came through his grandfather’s orchestra program include drummers Harold Jones (Sarah Vaughn, Count Basie, Tony Bennett) and Scott Hamilton (Diana Krall) who both credit Burkhardt as being an early influence in their careers. 

Ethan’s training began at 5 years old on the violin which led to joining Earlham College’s orchestra as a Freshman in high school and attending Mark O’Connor’s fiddle camp where he studied with masters Mark O’Connor, Buddy Spicher, Rachel Barton, Darol Anger, and Bobby Hicks.  While attending camp, bassist Victor Wooten showed up to jam and forever changed Burkhardt’s musical trajectory.  He began studying bass heavily and eventually started taking private lessons with Cincinnati’s Rick Vizachero, an International Society of Bassists solo competition winner and member of the Cincinnati Symphony and Pops. The study paid off with a full ride scholarship to Millikin University, Decatur, IL where Burkhardt graduated in 2005 with a degree in Music Business.

After college, Burkhardt accepted a job with Grammy nominated roots music record label, Pinecastle Records in Columbus, NC  (www.pinecastlemusic.com) of which he is now CEO.  He has worked with top names in the industry including The Osborne Brothers (Rocky Top), Grammy nominee Dale Ann Bradley, Grand Ole Opry members Jim & Jesse, and many more.  

Through Pinecastle, Burkhardt has opened Bonfire Recording Studio in Piedmont, SC and created a new record label, Bonfire Recording Company that focuses on American roots music. He also is the leader of Soulution, the most booked wedding band in South Carolina.