Back in the 60’s heydays of Bluegrass & Folk music, a musical group called “The Rice Kryspies” came into the scene. They were a family band of three brothers (Wayne, Jim, and Joe Rice) with Wayne’s wife, Marci. For four years, they made stir locally in Southern California until bass player Marci’s retirement in 1971. Not wanting to disband, the Rice brothers looked for a replacement and in the same year renamed themselves, “The Country Church” first, but swiftly changed it into “Brush Arbor.”

Here’s one of their early records and a special feature in “The Johnny Cash Show.” Judge for yourself if they sound similar to “The Dillards.”

“Brush Arbor Meeting” by the Brush Arbor Band

The Band’s Genesis in the Commercial Scene

After acquiring a new member and a name change, Brush Arbor wasted no time. In 1972, they plunged into a talent contest hosted by a country radio station in San Diego. Instantly, a producer from Capitol Records who happened to be one of the judges signed them up. Their debut single was a cover of CCR’s (Creedence Clearwater Revival) song, “Proud Mary.”

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Brush Arbor Meeting: Band’s Ticket to the Grand Ole Opry

Following “Proud Mary,” the band’s second single, Brush Arbor Meeting was released.  It did better with positive reviews that come summer of 1972, they were playing in the Grand Ole Opry. Soon, they were playing alongside Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, and Marty Robbins. They’ve also had reoccurring nominations for ACM’s “Country Music Award for Vocal Group” and come 1974, they bagged the coveted award. They went on recording and performing more songs for the next 30 years until their farewell tour in December 1999.

Brush Arbor is still in existence though. Current members are Jim Rice and Mike Wilson.

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