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In 1962 Joe Featherston organized The Country Travelers, in the Dallas area. Bluegrass players were very scarce then, so Joe had to train them. His best friend, Bill Martin, bought a Dobro and learned to play it, and Martin’s wife became comedian for their shows. Darrell Lewis, a trumpeter in a Bohemian band, learned to play bass. Their shows were augmented with guests such as daughter Michelle, and youthful fiddler Valerie Riles. In the 1966 photo: L/R Valerie Riles, Hunter Jones, Darrell Lewis, Michelle Featherston (age 8), Joe Featherston, Al Strebeck and Ray Parker. Michelle later became bassist for the band. Unlike most bluegrass bands at the time Featherston welcomed the hippies. Today Michelle Featherston Carson has a band with her husband called Pick ‘n Spur. (Joe Featherston)


The Mitchell Family of Perrin was perhaps the most influential family band in Texas. In the early 1970s they switched to bluegrass from country music and performed at many venues, but most often at their own Mitchell Park, for many years the seat of the Southwest Bluegrass Festival. Several of the children continue performing to this day. Glen was mandolinist with the Lambert Brothers for some time and now works with the Alan Munde Gazette. The youngest daughter now heads the Patty Mitchell Band and lives and records in Nashville.


The Pyeatt Family band of San Antonio had some very young members. Shown here L/R: Lehman (age 6), Marilyn (11), Gene (9), and their dad Tilman Pyeatt. They had a weekly radio show on KMAC in 1969 and played two nights per week at Harold’s Pizza Parlor, owned by a family friend. The mother was an Air Force bride from Japan, hence the three Pyeatt kids were part Asian. Their father was serving at Lackland Air Force Base at the time, but moved back to his native Arkansas in 1970 where they cut an EP (extended play) 45-RPM record on Rimrock. The other two children stopped playing in their teens, but Gene Pyeatt continues playing banjo in North Texas groups to this day.(Gene Pyeatt)


Inspired by the Mitchell Family, Charles and Agnes Powell founded the Powell Family band in 1977 consisting of Sheri (b. 1963) on fiddle, Jeff (b. 1965) on banjo, John (b. 1967) on mandolin, and Jennifer (b. 1970) on fiddle and mandolin plus Charles on guitar and Agnes on bass. The group cut two albums on the Tex-Grass label and were the only child band invited to play at Rod Kennedy's Kerrville Country and Bluegrass Festival. The group ceased playing in 1984 as the kids developed other interests, but father Charlie has continued playing mostly in jam sessions.