Blending the rootsy and heartfelt sound of country music with the passion and insistent force of rock & roll, the Youngers hail from Berks County in southeastern Pennsylvania. Todd Bartolo, the group's lead singer, guitarist, and principal songwriter, previously worked with the group the Stone Poets and accompanied singer and songwriter Tom Hampton; Bartolo later earned a reputation on the Pennsylvania roots music scene as a member of the progressive bluegrass act Frog Holler. Wanting a showcase for his own songs, Bartolo formed the Youngers with bassist and vocalist Randy Krater, whose résumé includes stints with the Sonny Miller Band and Sand Creek. The original lineup of the Youngers featured Michael Beaky on banjo and Frank Orlando on drums, but Beaky was soon replaced by multi-instrumentalist Jesse Nocera in order to toughen up the group's sound, and Orlando parted ways with the band, with Tom Hampton stepping in as the Youngers' new percussionist.
This lineup recorded the band's debut album, Output, released by the independent Obuck Records label in 2005. While the album received enthusiastic reviews from roots music publications, the Youngers were in for some more personnel shakeups; Hampton left the band and Justin Schaefer took over as its new drummer, while Nocera was replaced by guitarist Dax Bryan and keyboard player James Harton became a frequent guest at live shows. As the Youngers began work on their second album, they found a valuable ally in John Carter Cash, son of country music icon Johnny Cash and producer of some of his father's later recordings. Cash agreed to produce the Youngers' sophomore CD, and the sessions for 2008's Heritage were recorded at the Cash Cabin Studios in Tennessee, with guest appearances by Ronnie McCoury of the Del McCoury Band and Ralph Mooney, a fabled pedal steel player best known for his work with Waylon Jennings. ~ Mark Deming