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The Bankesters Find Harmony in Bluegrass and Family

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The BankestersNashville, TN -- Freshly nominated for the International Bluegrass Music Momentum Award for Group of the Year, the Bankesters have successfully transformed a shared love for singing and playing bluegrass music together into a serious performing outfit. Now, on their first internationally distributed album Love Has Wheels (Compass 9/24), The Bankesters shine as mature vocalists, instrumentalists, and articulate songwriters. The band will tour this fall with the new album, including performances at IBMA's World of Bluegrass Festival and a CD release party at Nashville's Station Inn.

Produced by Alison Brown and including guest appearances from Sierra Hull, Josh Williams, Rob Ickes, Jim Hurst, Kenny Malone, and Larry Atamanuik, The Bankesters show off their bluegrass acumen on the title track and expand their musical boundaries on a playful cover of “When I’m Gone” (also known as “The Cup Song” from the hit film Pitch Perfect), a song whose original copyright belongs to a member of the original family band, A.P. Carter.

Other standout tracks include “Found,” a poignant songwriting debut by Melissa originally penned for the non-profit This Able Veteran (an organization that pairs therapy dogs with veterans suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) and “Rise Up,” a moving gospel quartet featuring Jim Hurst’s swampy fingerstyle guitar picking. Click here to watch a special performance of “Time and Love" from the new album.

Music has always been a family affair for the Bankesters and as the children grew and matured, so did the band. “As dad, I’d been leading the band, but I've been trying over the last 2 to 3 years to step back from running everything,” says Phil Bankester. “Everybody gives their input.” Love Has Wheels is all collaboration - from song selection to who sings each part on each track.

Love Has WheelsThough all family members contribute vocals here, they’re also adept instrumentalists in their own right: 2012 IBMA Momentum Vocalist of the Year Emily contributes fiddle and claw hammer banjo, Alysha plays the mandolin and fiddle, and Melissa plays the upright bass. Kyle Triplett is the multi-instrumentalist of the group, playing banjo, guitar, mandolin and tenor guitar parts while Phil and Dorene hold down rhythm guitar and vocal duties.

The family band has always possessed a genetic magic, gifting its members with a mysterious psychic connection and powerful vocal blend. A.P., Sarah and Maybelle Carter, the founding family of country music, had a profound impact in music through their tight mountain-gospel harmonies and signature sound, carried forward in the bluegrass-country-gospel music of the Marshall Family Band and later the Cox Family and continued more recently by The Whites who performed on the O Brother Where Art Thou soundtrack. Love Has Wheels is an album infused with the same familial magic and appeal and places the Southern Illinois-based Bankesters next in line to carry on that family bluegrass band legacy.

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