Texas Sky is a progressive acoustic group that adds their own flare and musicality to traditional songs ranging from Bluegrass to Gospel to the Beatles!
What started as a casual jam session between friends grew into a traditional bluegrass band in 2011. Over the months, that traditional group became the eclectic American sound that is Texas Sky. Whether it’s a traditional gospel song or a Beatles favorite, Texas Sky pulls from the varied experiences of each member and creates their own style and musicality for any song to create a vibrant live performance of well known and loved songs.
Like millions of others, Randy caught the music bug the night the Beatles first appeared on the Ed Sullivan TV show in 1964. He started out on drums, playing in various band configurations throughout high school and college before eventually focusing on guitar as his favorite instrument. Over more than 40 years of enjoying music, he’s taught guitar and drum lessons, played in a couple of classic rock bands and played acoustically as a solo performer. While the guitar is his first love, he once took banjo lessons before frustration led him back to the guitar. He’s currently involved in an ongoing learning process with the mandolin and bass. In addition to the Beatles, his many influences over the years have included Crosby, Stills and Nash, Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, Dan Fogelberg, the Eagles, Tom Petty and Buddy Guy. Randy and his wife Vicki make their home in Denton.
John “JT” Tompkins has played guitar most of his life, although he started on the ukulele as a child. He always enjoyed and been interesting in playing country, bluegrass, and classic rock music. In school, JT played lead Saxophone in a stage band that became busy in the Denton area playing at events and fundraisers. JT was also a piano student as a youth.
JT has been known to spend small fortunes on, over the years, 33 LP’s, cassettes, CD’s, and now iTunes. He enjoys being the rhythm guitar player and seeing his fellow band members progress as musicians and move forward. He and his wife Glenna make their home in Denton.
Dave’s a public high school teacher who’s been playing the guitar for over 47 years. Dave and fellow Texas Sky band mate Randy Cummings have been playing together since 1966. He went on to master playing the bass in 1982 with various rock n roll bands. Over the years he has played bass for Rockin Richie and the Dentones, Joe Pat Hennen & Fencepost, and others. Dave makes his home in Denton.
Roddy started playing guitar in high school but really became intrigued with the 5-string banjo after hearing Bluegrass classics such as Foggy Mountain Breakdown,
the Beverly Hillbilly theme song, and Dueling Banjos in the late 1970’s. He is self-taught, learning how to play from tablature books and instructional videos. His main influence is of course Earl Scruggs who was the primary developer and namesake of the ‘Scruggs style’ of banjo picking. He enjoys watching and learning from the many pros out there but his favorite professional player is Alan Munde. Ralph Stanley is another primary influence. Roddy has enjoyed jamming with friends on Saturday nights on the Garland square during the months of April-October for many years and has been banjoist for several bands in the Dallas area. Roddy and his wife Nancy live in Frisco.
Susanne has been singing and playing guitar since the 6th grade when she and her friends taught themselves folk songs like Stewball and The Gypsy Rover, practicing after school in the coat room. If Susanne wasn’t singing with her guitar, she was singing in choirs which eventually led to her studying classical voice for a time and landed her a place in the alto section of the Cathedral Choral Society in Washington, DC. While living in DC, she also performed with friends in a variety of local pubs covering songs from Dylan to Motown, Steve Earle to Fleetwood Mac with a few orginals thrown into the mix. In more recent years, she has been active both on stage and behind the scenes with Denton Community Theater and Music Theater of Denton. Singing with Texas Sky marks a return to performing acoustic music after a long hiatus and she couldn’t be happier. Susanne and her husband, Jeff, make their home in Aubrey.
Prior Founding Members
Olivia Justice Countryman
Olivia got her start singing solos in church in elementary school and moved into serious study of classical singing in middle and high school. She attended and graduated from the University of North Texas, first studying Vocal Performance and then switching to Musicology with an emphasis in the French Baroque; her thesis is currently curriculum for a graduate class at the University. All of that experience helped her very little in the switch to Bluegrass and folk music traditions. She has been learning this new style since 2010 and playing the mandolin since 2011. Arranging songs from other music genres into folk and bluegrass traditions is one of her favorite band activities. Olivia spends whatever free time she has left with her devoted husband, Jared.
August 2018 Update: Congratulations to Olivia for her scholarship to Law School! We hate to see her go but she is going to be quite busy for the next 3 years. We wish her all the best in her new endeavors. As time permits she will be performing solo gigs in the Denton and Fort Worth areas.