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Genres You Will Love
Country: Bluegrass Country: Western Moods: Type: Acoustic Moods: Mood: Upbeat

By Location
United States - Kansas

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Tallgrass Express String Band

Tallgrass Express String Band began in 2004 when they took their name from the unique tallgrass prairie of the Kansas Flint Hills, which contains the last remaining 4% of this once vast North American ecosystem.
Tallgrass Express is a truly regional band, staying close to their roots and performing mainly at community events in the Flint Hills region. Their mission is both to provide local entertainment and, through their recordings, to share with a broader audience their celebration of the beauty and wonder of the Kansas Flint Hills.
They have recorded four CD projects. The last two are available on CD Baby and comprise their now-three volume series "Songs of the Kansas Flint Hills": Volume 1 in 2010 - "Clean Curve of Hill Against Sky," and Volumes 2 & 3 in their 2014 double CD - "Sky & Water, Wind & Grass."
Founding member Annie Wilson (guitar & vocals) and her husband operate a cattle ranch in the Flint Hills. Annie was named the “Flint Hills Balladeer” by the Kansas governor in 2013 for her work to “inspire an abiding love for the Kansas Flint Hills” by sharing their beauty “through words and music.” She is also a former teacher, has managed an early grassfed beef coop, and has been active in conservation issues. Annie frequently plays at the Emma Chase Café Friday night jams in Cottonwood Falls, and enjoys ranch work and pasture walks where she is inspired with ideas for her songs about the Flint Hills.
Carl Reed (bass, guitar, and vocals) joined in 2009 bringing his amazing vocal, instrumental, song-writing, and arrangement skills to the band. Carl worked in the international programs of KSU Grain Science for nearly 30 years, and now has his own grain scouting business. He learned guitar while serving in the Peace Corps, and has had songs recorded by Special Consensus and Continental Divide.
Jim Versch (mandolin) joined the band in 2012, and his versatile instrumental style adds immensely to all the band’s tunes. Jim’s wide knowledge of acoustic music and his creative instinct for song arrangements have deeply enriched the Tallgrass Express sound. Jim is a graphic designer, and he also taught art and coached volleyball for nearly 30 years. He has played in numerous bands with a wide range of musical genres including Celtic, ragtime, and classical music.
Kim “Smitty” Schmidt (fiddle and vocals) is the most recent band member, starting in early 2014. Kim contributes his rich talents from over 30 years of performing with top-notch Kansas bands including Cactus Jack and also the Greenhorns. Kim is a true musician and brings both his classic fiddle technique and vocal versatility to the band. Kim is a finish carpenter and lives near the family farm where he grew up.
Former band members include recently-retired founding member Charlie Laughridge (fiddle, harmonica, mandolin, concertina and vocals), who has performed on all the band’s recordings including the recent double-CD "Sky & Water, Wind & Grass." Tallgrass Express is indebted to Charlie for all his talents over the last ten years.
Other former members are the talented Loren Ratzloff (2004-2012), Derrick Doty (2004-2007) and Gary Rinehart (2004-2005).
For more information, see their website: or our Facebook page.