BlueBilly Grit takes you to a crossroad where Old Fashioned Bluegrass meets Progressive, Contemporary, and Rockabilly. With a love for all genres of music, BlueBilly Grit performs the music everyone loves along with new and innovative originals driven by a style all their own. Just three short years ago BlueBilly Grit was jamming once a year around an old grist mill at a county park. In February of 2011 a song the group wrote and recorded about that old grist mill was shipped to 800 radio stations in the US, Europe, and Australia. The song was released on a compilation cd along with songs from Rhonda Vincent and the Rage, Steve Martin, and The Grascals. Not bad for a group fairly new to the bluegrass Americana scene. Having just recorded their 2nd CD, 'Ready For A Change', this group continues to evolve into what they hope will be a force to be reckoned with. Amidst much uncertainty in the music world these days, BlueBilly Grit seems to be holding their course, and will be the first to tell you that a source greater than themselves appears to be calling the shots. BlueBilly Grit takes pride in the fact that they’re not just another 'hot lick, blazing solo' bluegrass group. It’s all about the song with this group and rightly so because they have something to say. The theme of their performance schedule for 2011/2012 is, 'Ready For A Change'. Try to catch them live or purchase some of their music this year and hear for yourselves what BlueBilly Grit has to say.
Mark Garrison was born with a passion to make music. From the time he entered his first talent show in third grade, got his dad to teach him to play guitar, and won, he has been hooked. Mark started his first band at the age of 14 and became a local talent. After graduating from high school he started a rock band and began playing the bar scene. This band included Lee Davis, who has since gone on to make quite a name for himself within the music world. Mark and Lee have remained close friends to this day. After becoming burned out with the bar scene, Mark lived and worked in Nashville for 10 years while pursuing a record deal. During this time he had a country group from England, Blue Rendezvous, record one of his songs, "She'll Go Her Way, I'll Go Mine". The last five years in Nashville Mark landed a job working for Reba McEntire. Reba published three gospel songs Mark had written under her Starstruck Angel Publishing Co. and offered to shop a record deal for him. Marks' desire for success in the music business was losing its appeal and Mark turned the offer down, decided to move back to Ga., and got out of music all together. He spent the next 13 years raising a family and working. Though he had played bluegrass music all his life, it wasn’t until his wife gave him a banjo for Christmas, that he developed a love for the purity of bluegrass music. The rest as they say, is history.
Amber Starr Hollis, Mark's daughter, has been performing since the age of three at county fairs, churches, coffee houses, competitions, and many other venues. She has also been involved with Community Theater, which allowed her the opportunity to act and sing. She is a talented song writer as well, and you can hear her songs on both the "Mill Grinder's Blues" and “Ready for a Change” CDs. Amber's love for music is the force that drives her and Her musical repertoire spans all genre's and is evident in the way she performs. Uniquely blending with Mark and Shawn to create that pure, perfect three part harmony, Amber’s style brings a sound to BlueBilly Grit that sets them apart.
Patrick Chisolm, self taught, and inspired to play fiddle only 5 short years ago after hearing Alison Krauss, reigns straight from the hills of Dahlonega, Ga. He has been diligent in his pursuit to perfect a sound he now brings to BlueBilly Grit. Patrick played with two Dahlonega based groups, 'Grey Beard and 'Depression Orchestra', When he met BlueBilly Grit in 2009 at the "Bear on The Square" festival there was instant chemistry, not to mention a common sense of humor, and after playing only a few shows with the band, Patrick was instantly adopted as the fifth member of BlueBilly Grit.
Shawn Hart, is no stranger to the Garrisons or BlueBilly Grit. He’s been a friend of the family for several years and was right there to pick up when Matthew Garrison, Mark's son left for Nashville to pursue a career in audio engineering. Shawn has been singing, writing, and playing guitar for over seventeen years. Fortunately for him, his father Benny Hart, with Bluegrass Express, introduced him to performing live on rhythm guitar at age 15. Shawn has been a part of several local rock bands over the years such as The Vinci, Damaged Goods, and Jailbird Paul. In between bands Shawn performed solo as Shawn Hart and The Acoustic Experience. He has always enjoyed the writing aspect of music and is very excited to be given a chance to contribute to BlueBilly Grit. Shawn also has two songs on the new, 'Ready for a Change' CD called, ‘Take Me As I Am’ and 'R.I.P. TV'.