The roots of the Wildwood Valley Boys can be found deep in the bluegrass tradition of a Midwestern group named the Boys From Indiana. In both a stylistic and a family sense, the band that formed in the late '90s inherited much from its predecessor, which formed in the early '70s. In acknowledgement of that fact, the Wildwood Valley Boys' debut album from Rebel, When I Get Back to Georgia, is dedicated to the Boys From Indiana, whose members were, in fact, close relations or bandmates of some of the Wildwood Valley Boys' members.
The Wildwood Valley Boys consist of vocalist and guitarist Tony Holt, tenor and mandolinist Jamie Johnson, banjo player Wes Vanderpool, fiddler Justin Clark, and bass player Jon Weisberger. Founder Holt, who hails from Indiana, is the son of Aubrey Holt, a songwriter and one of the anchoring forces of the Boys From Indiana. His songwriting uncle, Tom Holt, also was part of the older bluegrass group, as was uncle Jerry Holt and great uncle Harley Gabbard. The younger Holt spent a few years on tour with his father's and uncles' band.
The 12-track debut is a testament to the younger group's respect for the sound and talent of its predecessor. It includes covers of three songs that were formerly done by the older band, "Rambler's Call," "Carolina Jane," and "Atlanta Is Burning." Aubrey Holt contributed several new numbers, including "White Spanish Moss," "It's Just the Rain," and the title track. Tony Holt penned "Still Missing You," a ballad. The group's second album, I'm a Believer, was issued in 2000 and contains jubilant and lively bluegrass-gospel.
Mandolinist Johnson, who hails from Milan, IN, was also a member of the Boys From Indiana. In addition, he formerly spent time as a member of Union Springs. Always a fan of bluegrass, he first played the mandolin as a teenager. Like Johnson, banjo player Vanderpool took up his instrument as a teenager. He has played banjo with Melvin Goins and the Bluegrass Thoroughbreds. Fiddler Clark, an Oklahoma native, relocated to Tennessee in his late teens. His previous credits include the Bluegrass Woodcutters and the Sand Mountain Boys. He has also played with the Posse and Dallas Smith. ~ Linda Seida