Frustrated by the over-commercialization of Nashville's music, six singer/songwriters joined together to launch an independent record label, Dead Reckoning, and a band, the Dead Reckoners. Taking turns in the spotlight and accompanying others, the all-star group brought a back-to-the-roots approach to a mixture of rock-, country-, and blues-influenced tunes. While they mostly furnished accompaniment on albums by labelmates, the full band joined together to record a live album, A Night of Reckoning, in 1996. The driving forces behind the Dead Reckoners -- Kieran Kane, Kevin Welch, and Mike Henderson -- represented many years of experience. A graduate of Boston's Suffolk University, Kane recorded a half-dozen Top 30 hits between 1981-1984. He continued to find success after forming the O'Kanes with songwriter Jamie O'Hara. Recording in Kane's home studio, the band released six consecutive Top Ten singles, including the chart-topper "Can't Stop My Heart From Loving You." A resident of Nashville since 1978, Welch first attracted attention as a staff writer for Sony Tree, penning tunes for Waylon Jennings, Roger Miller, Trisha Yearwood, Ricky Skaggs, and the Highwaymen. He went on to record two solo albums, Life Down Here on Earth and Beneath My Wheels, featuring the accompaniment of Dead Reckoning members. A former member of blues band the Snakes, Henderson became a highly respected session guitarist.
The Dead Reckoners' rhythm section was equally potent. Drummer Harry Stinson had played rhythm guitar in a band featuring country singer Dottie West's son. After filling in as a drummer for folk-pop group America in 1974, he formed a band, Silver, with future Grateful Dead keyboardist Brent Mydland. He subsequently worked with Al Stewart and Peter Frampton. Returning to Nashville, where he grew up, in 1985, he played drums on Jimmy Buffett's album Last Mango in Paris. He later spent a year and a half performing with Steve Earle's band. Fiddler/vocalist Tammy Rogers previously toured with Trisha Yearwood and Kieran Kane. ~ Craig Harris