Colonel Eric Lewis has dedicated 54 years of his life to doing the he loves to do, playing music. Starting at age 7 he heard the Grand Ole Opry for the first time at the bidding of some lifelong friends, he fell in love with the music and it has been his lifelong dream to be able to make this a life's vocation. He purchased a cheap guitar at age 15 at which time he did not know know to play it, after attending music parties at the homes of friends, and they offered him the chords and notes and he be ear learned to play, he began to perform in public at age 16, his first public appearance was at the Saturday night musical at the court house in Salem, Arkansas in 1960. He built up his courage and played with different individuals, he along with three other musicians formed the first group in 1981, Southern Missouri Bluegrass. they were successful at playing at festivals, fairs, schools and other venues, in 1992 he had a fall which disabled him and he was unable to work on a job this gave him an opportunity to persue his full time career in music. Eric plays guitar, sings lead and harmony. Eric was commissioned a Kentucky Colonel in 2006 by Kentucky Governor Ernie Fletcher. He won several awards in his music career, including band of the year for his live televison show in Salem, Arkansas 2000 to 2009, he was given an honoraryary member into the Country Music Hall of Fame, founded and formed the George D Hay Society of West Plains, MO his hometown, to preserve the Ozarks history and heritage to the connection to the Grand Ole Opry in 2007, has written and recorded several songs and was given the song, Quilt of memories, written by Terry Smith of Nashville, TN, was given the song I won't be home anymore, written by Jim Owen of Branson, MO. Won several awards in contests in the early 1960's and 1970's
He has had several different people in the group for 33 years, his group now is a national award winning touring group, and play professional at all types venues across the US. He writes songs and has his music played on several stations across the US, Canada and on major playlists on Radio Europe. He was born in a log cabin in south west Missouri.
Alex Hilliker was born at Mountain Home, Ark, in 1998, he has performed since 5, he played classical violin in school, he has played with different individuals and groups. He plays fiddle and banjo, he has recorded on a number of projects with New Kentucky Colonels, he has won a number of awards, he became a Kentucky Colonel in 2016
Dennis Reese was born and raised in Mammoth Spring, Ark and began playing the bass at an early age, he has played with several different people in his many years of music, he is an accomplished musician and a great asset to the group, he now resides in Alton, MO. Dennis has played for the group for two years.
Kirby Clark was born at Mountain Grove, MO, he has played music most of his life, Kirby joined the group in 1990, he and Eric formed Lewis and Clark Bluegrass Expedition, they toured for 10 years, Kirby played with several different individuals and groups, he has recorded on several projects, he has won several awards, including Kentucky Colonel, he was inducted into the George D Hay Society Hall of Honor 2019, Kirby is a multi instrumentalist, playing, mandolin, fiddle, guitar, bass, piano.
Daniel Bean is the newest member of the group, he was born at Elijah, MO, he has played most of his life, Daniel plays guitar, fiddle, banjo.