February 28 Happy Birthday Warren Amberson

Happy Birthday Warren Amberson born, February 28, 1964 had been playing professionally in Germany after finishing his stint in the Army in 1986. He met Kelly Green at a festival in Iowa in 1991 while he was back in the states on tour with his German bluegrass band, Foreign Affairs. They invited Kelly to Germany to play a few shows which turned into a stay of 14 months. Warren and Kelly returned to the US in 1992 and settled in Jonesborough, TN where they attended the Bluegrass Music program at East Tennessee State University under the direction of mandolin master, Jack Tottle. Warren and Kelly were student band directors in the program and Acoustic Endeavors got its start here in Jonesborough as they needed to perform to support themselves during school. The initial lineup included Glen Rose on banjo, Tommy Austin on mandolin,Warren on bass and Kelly on guitar. They won 4th place at the SPBGMA band contest with this formation in 1994.
The next edition of Acoustic Endeavors in Jonesborough included: Glen Rose on banjo, Tim Laughlin on mandolin, Amanda Mathis on fiddle, Warren on bass and Kelly on guitar. They won the South Carolina Pizza Hut regional championship in 1995.They recorded and released their first CD of all-original music in 1994 called Coming Of Age, featuring Warren on bass, Kelly on guitar, Tommy Morse on banjo, Tim Laughlin on mandolin, Ernie Power on dobro and Randy Utterback on fiddle, harmonica, guitar and keyboard.
After completing the ETSU program, Warren and Kelly moved to Nashville in 1995 and reformed the band with Greg Honeycutt on bass, John Golden on banjo, Kelly on guitar and Warren on mandolin. They showcased at IBMA that year and in 1996, Greg joined them in Nashville. They report that lean times were in the offing, though they wrote some great songs and played some fabulous music.

In 1997, Warren, Kelly and Greg returned to Roanoke and the band was in a sort of inactive status until Dewey joined later that year. They performed in and around Roanoke and at festivals in VA, WV, NC and TN while recording demos of the new material they were writing and arranging. They did not have a full time banjo player until John joined in early 2000. With a full compliment once again, they set to work recording in earnest with Sneak Preview as the result.

The year 2002 marked the 10th Anniversary of the band and, to celebrate, they reissued the debut release (Coming Of Age) and included two bonus tracks featuring the current band. It was retitled, Coming Of Age… Again, and is available online.

Greg Honeycutt left the group in 2003, Warren switched back to bass, and they brought noted SW VA fiddler Billy Hurt on board. This is the band that recorded the current CD, On A Farm, with both Greg and Warren featured on bass on different tracks. On A Farm was released to bluegrass radio, and the first single, Tennessee Iris, distributed via Prime Cuts Of Bluegrass.

Billy Hurt left to work with Karl Shifflett and Greg Honeycutt returned on bass. For the past couple years they have been trying to finish a 20th Anniversary album – better late than never – with some newly-written songs and a handful of songs from the vault, written by Warren and Kelly, but never before recorded.

Reunited after many years, Tommy (the Moss Man) Morse joined Acoustic Endeavors playing Banjo in late 2014. Tommy had played shows on and off for years during the early Acoustic Endeavors days. The group released a CD commemorating their 22nd year anniversary, Ol’ 22 1/2, in early 2015. The CD contains 23 original tunes. The CD was many years in the making and it took a lot of blood, sweat and tears.

Acoustic Endeavors continues to play shows and they hope to see all of you soon!

Until the next song…

Always was, still is… original and good!

About the author

I enjoy researching Bluegrass, Bluegrass Gospel, and Country birthdays, anniversaries and interesting trivia dates. I am a piano/organ performance major who has taught privately and served as church accompanist since 1968 in North Carolina and Central Kentucky. Although classically trained, I appreciate all genres of music. My mother, who was also a church musician and taught public school music grades K-12, knew that Bluegrass music was the purest American music. She always introduced her students to this fine genre and began my musical studies with her at age 2. Bach to Berachah Valley, Mozart to Jimmy Martin, Sibelius to Stanley Brothers, the list goes on, I hope you find some moments of enjoyment and learn a few interesting facts along the way.
I am thankful for the many resources we have at our fingertips including Google. FaceBook and BluegrassBios by Wayne Rice. It was he who inspired me to tackle the task of trying to pass on knowledge about Bluegrass music. Thanks Wayne~!
Lou Ellen Wilkie

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.