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Special Guests

Four Stories Tall would like to recognize the talented people who performed on The Road West.? Gina Roberts and Tara Allison also perform on the EP release, Plus.

Dustin Ballard – Fiddle

Dustin began playing violin when he was 10. Though he began with classical music, his father played steel guitar in a country band and encouraged him to jam and improvise whenever possible. It took many years before Dustin could bring himself to call his cherished violin a ?fiddle,” but after hearing Bob Wills? legendary fiddler Johnny Gimble play in concert back in 1999, the transformation was complete. Dustin donned his cowboy hat and never looked back.

Today Dustin plays primarily in the western swing band Shoot Low Sheriff. He also has a love for early jazz, country, and blues.

John Sprott – Guitar

John Sprott grew up on the same block as Mark Murray in Lubbock, Texas, in the sixties. He took up guitar in 1970, played his first gig in ’74, and went on to play in a few local rock and country bands before forming the band that would become “The Nelsons” in 1982, along with Dennis Jones, Greg Galbraith, and in 1983, Donnie Allison. The Nelsons won a semifinal round of MTV’s “The Basement Tapes”, recorded an 8-song EP, a full length CD, and a 45 rpm record which as fate would have it was engineered by one Mark Murray. The band toured America from 1985-1990, opening for major acts in 15,000 seat venues and headlining in clubs. They backed up John David Souther at Farm Aid II, and later in the day performed their own set to 45,000 people. Playing a club gig in Kansas City one night the band was joined onstage by Led Zeplin guitarist Jimmy Page, who played guitar with the band for the last songs of the night’s performance. The Nelsons broke up in ’91, and Sprott began playing blues, soul and rock with Elvis T Busboy and the Texas Blues Butchers, and as of this writing, 23 years later, is still playing with that outfit, as well as doing various acoustic gigs and playing electric guitar with other bands on a regular basis. In 2004 Sprott was one of 5 Texas guitar players to be designated “Texas Tornado” status by Dallas-based Buddy magazine. 2005 saw the release of Sprott’s only solo project to date, a rather eclectic hodgepodge of 14 of his own compositions on compact disc entitled “Ain’t Worried”. He still resides in Lubbock, and still travels to various regional destinations including Dallas to play guitar.

Gina Roberts – Vocals

Gina Roberts hails from Buffalo, NY. She sang in Carnegie Hall before she could vote, and lived the a cappella lifestyle during college as a founding member of the Miami University Misfitz. She minored in music composition, and still writes what her friends call ?sweet, sweet love songs? today. Though a copywriter by day, she?s a torch singer at heart.

Tara Allison – Vocals

Tara has been singing since she was two years old. The daughter of traveling musicians, she’s no stranger to performing seven nights a week, sleeping on a tour bus, crashing on friends? couches, and going wherever the wind takes you. But unlike most musicians, her wild groupie life ended at age 5 when her parents settled down and got steady nine-to-fives. Since then, she?s learned how to sleep in a real bed and she grew up to get a real job in advertising, where she gets to watch other people sing for a living too. But having a full-time job hasn?t stopped her from singing every chance she gets. She?s been in country bands, 80?s hair-metal bands, and even blues and jazz bands, and she?s not planning to stop any time soon. When she?s not using her vocal chords, Tara likes to cook, travel, and watch horror movies. Music will always be her first love, but her husband Ben is a close second.

Lloyd Maines – Pedal Steel

Maines was born and raised in Lubbock, Texas and is now based in Bulverde, Texas. Arguably best known as a pedal steel player, Maines is a multi-instrumentalist who has also performed and/or recorded playing dobro, electric and acoustic guitar, mandolin, lap steel guitar, banjo and bell tree. He toured and recorded as a member of the Joe Ely Band and has also played with Jerry Jeff Walker, Guy Clark, Butch Hancock, Terry Allen, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Golden Bear, and other Texas musicians. Maines was a member of The Maines Brothers Band in the late 1970s and early 1980s and has contributed to alt-country releases, including Uncle Tupelo’s Anodyne and Wilco’s debut, AM.