Rose Mary has played music most of her life as a “backyard picker” and played piano, accordion and rhythm guitar for a lot of years before playing with an “organized” band. She started her musical career as a lead vocalist and keyboardist with Pure Country in the late 1990’s and moved over to Crossbow in 2002. She loves to sing and play music of all types and genres, and will pick & grin anytime she gets an opportunity. Her vocal prowess adds the “female touch” to the variety of Crossbow… you’ll love her!!
Bear has been making music for most of his life. His Mother and Dad were both accomplished musicians, so all the kids started playing different instruments and singing at an early age. There isn't much Bear would rather do than to play music. His quick-witted sense of humor and vocal ability always pleases the crowds. He cut his teeth on Bob Wills' music, and has been swinging ever since and has never looked back. Life is good!!
Val (Valentino) was born on February 7, 1933 without sight. When he was a young boy, his dad traded several hogs for a Victrola record player and one day, he heard a fiddle for the very first time and loved the sound it made. This played an important role in his future. He tried playing piano and guitar, but found that the violin and mandolin were the easiest instruments for him to play, and they eventually became second nature to him. Val has been playing violin since the age of 11 when he started taking lessons at the New Mexico School for the Visually Handicapped in 1944 where he studied "classical" violin music. He eventually started playing fiddle in several local bands including; Bob Zinn and The Mustangs, Bill Johnson and The Roustabouts, Sheldon Compton and The Spur Creek and Pure Country. He has also played fiddle for big name stars such as Tony Booth, Susan Ray, Kenny Price and David Frizzel to name a few. His lifelong love for music has led him to enter and win numerous fiddling contests with songs such as "Mocking Bird", "Orange Blossom Special", and "Faded Love". In 2003, Val joined Crossbow and still enjoys that Good Old Western Swing at the age of 84.
Gary first heard the wonderful sound of a Steel Guitar at the age of 11 during his second piano lesson in Springdale, Arkansas. His piano teacher informed him that Steel Guitar was way too hard and way too expensive for him. That was the determining factor that drove him to pursue the Steel. One of his influences was his family, as there was always “pickin' and grinnin” at his Grandma Tenney’s house. Another influence was his two uncles, C.W. and Randal Patterson, who encouraged him to learn and play the Steel Guitar. In 2001, he started playing in his uncle's band called “C.W. and The Working Man’s Band”. Then, in the summer of 2006, Gary started playing Western Swing with Crossbow. Today, Gary feels honored and privileged to have been influenced by all the talented musicians in his life.
Randal grew up in a family that loved to play music, and that got him started at a very young age. His father and brother helped teach him the guitar, but Brian Burks is the key person that taught Randal to play bass guitar. This actually happened on the bandstand one night when he was only 18 years old. Brian had hired a new person to play bass and help with vocals. As it turned out, the guy couldn't play the bass, but could sing and play rhythm guitar. So 5 minutes into the gig, Randal learned how to play a simple bass (What a rush!!) and he has stayed with it ever since. As time went along, Randal played with other musicians such as Bob Zinn, Bear Smith, Ernie Shearin, and others, who also encouraged him to play. He has played in several different bands over the years. They were all fun, and they all gave him experience... but playing with the Crossbow Band has got to be the most fun! Come see us and watch closely... We will make you smile, as well as entertain you with some great music.
Ernie is currently recovering from health issues and is looking forward to re-joining Crossbow in the near future.
Karenstarted singing on the radio at age 4. Her father is an accomplished mandolin player and singer, and he made sure that everyone in his family who wanted to play an instrument, or sing a song got the opportunity to do so. Karen has 6 siblings who all play music except one, which is why her life has not only evolved around music but for her, music is a way of life. She has been singing, playing bass guitar and drums in local area bands since the age of 15 and is proud to help Crossbow through Ernie's period of recovery.