After leading several popular ‘80s cult bands in and around his hometown of Lawrence, Kansas, Chuck Mead landed on Nashville’s Lower Broadway where he co-founded the famed ‘90s Alternative Country quintet BR549. The band’s seven albums, three Grammy nominations and the Country Music Association Award for Best Overseas Touring Act would build an indelible bridge between authentic American Roots music and millions of fans worldwide.
With BR on hiatus, Chuck formed The Hillbilly All-Stars featuring members of The Mavericks, co-produced popular tribute albums to Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings, guest-lectured at Vanderbilt University, and became a staff writer at one of Nashville’s top song publishers. In 2009, he released his acclaimed solo debut album, Journeyman’s Wager, and toured clubs, concert halls and international Rock, Country and Rockabilly festivals with his band The Grassy Knoll Boys.
As Music Director for the Broadway smash Million Dollar Quartet, Chuck began crafting the music arrangements during the show’s original Daytona and Seattle workshop productions, supervised the musical performances for its 2008 Chicago opening, created new music material for the show’s Tony Award-winning Broadway run, produced the original cast album, and oversaw the music for its smash 2011 premiere at London’s Noël Coward Theatre. In 2013, MDQ broke the Chicago record for longest running musical.
Chuck’s acclaimed 2012 release, Back At The Quonset Hut, was recorded at Nashville’s legendary Quonset Hut Studio where Patsy Cline, George Jones, Merle Haggard Roger Miller, Loretta Lynn, Johnny Cash and more cut some of country’s greatest tracks. Produced by original BR549 producer Mike Janas and with the participation of students from Belmont University’s College of Entertainment and Music Business, the album of classic covers features surviving members of Music Row’s original ‘A Team’ studio musicians as well as guest appearances by Old Crow Medicine Show, Elizabeth Cook, Jamie Johnson and Bobby Bare.
2014 ushers in Free State Serenade, the new Chuck Mead & His Grassy Knoll Boys release on Nashville-based Plowboy Records. Produced by long-time ally and friend Joe Pisapia (kd Lang, Ben Folds Five) and featuring BR549’s Don Herron, Old Crow Medicine Show’s Critter Fuqua, Alan Murphy, Will Rambeaux, and Mark Andrew Miller, Free State Serenade is Chuck Mead’s strongest effort yet.
“It’s been incredibly liberating to do all these things I’ve never done before. I’ve already gone from the bars of Lower Broadway in Nashville to the Broadway stage, and the upcoming album is one of the most unique and rewarding projects I’ve ever been a part of. I’m looking forward to where it all brings me next.” – Chuck Mead