The Petersens recently released a cover of the country favorite, “Take Me Home, Country Roads” by John Denver. Not only is John Denver a family favorite, but the patriarch of the house actually grew up in West Virginia. Some of the fondest childhood memories of the young Petersens happened to be in those hills.
The YouTube video, which has garnered over 1.3 million views as of writing, was shot at Sycamore Creek Family Ranch in Branson, Missouri, with scenery that makes the classic even more nostalgic.
Let’s get to know more about the talented The Petersens below.
Meet The Band
The Petersens are an award-winning bluegrass band, composed of four siblings – Katie, Ellen Matt, and Julianne – together with their mother and a dear friend, Emmet Franz. In 2015, the band received international attention when Ellen Petersen competed in the singing reality TV show, American Idol.
Ellen is an undergraduate degree in chemistry from the College of the Ozarks and pursued an MBA at Missouri State University. But she admits that her music career is her ultimate passion. “I love the newness of it all and the adventure it brings,” the Branson native said. When she was handed a banjo at the age of 13, she had never looked back since. She grew up homeschooled and has used her experiences to share her love of the craft.
In 2014, American Idol made a stop in Branson, and Ellen auditioned for fun. She stayed until the round before the live shows. However, she was cut from the top 48 contestants. Today, Ellen enjoys marketing their family’s band full-time. Earlier this year, she married Michael Haygood of The Haygoods, another performing family in Branson.
Katie Petersen, on the other hand, is the group’s musical leader and is the oldest Petersen sibling. She is an excellent songwriter too. Currently, Katie enjoys teaching fiddle and piano lessons to students.
The only boy in the Petersen sibling lineup, Matt Petersen, holds his own on stage as well as in the band operations. He runs most of the band’s business aspects, such as outside bookings. He also handles the technical side of the Branson show. Matt is also responsible for making every show unique, thanks to his comedic skills that are truly entertaining. He does a great job of keeping the band grounded.
Meanwhile, the baby of the family, Julianne Petersen, has been a full-time mandolin player for the band since 2017. Julianne began playing the fiddle and clogging on stage when the band started in 2005. And it’s no surprise when she became the audience favorite at all times. Julianne just graduated high school as valedictorian of her class. Now, she is planning to attend John Brown University to study English Literature.
Emmet Franz is the latest member to join the Petersens. Emmet grew up playing music with his family, The Franz Family, and has been touring professionally with them for 20 years. He plays dobro for the group, which is an uncommon instrument mostly seen in bluegrass and country. It is quite interesting how Emmett succeeds in taking the instrument to a whole new level with his exceptional taste and imagination.
Lastly, we have the mother of the Petersens, Karen Petersen. Growing up in Mountain Grove, Missouri, music has always been a part of Karen’s life. She played the trumpet through her school years and got her masters in music theory from Arkansas State University. Karen started as the mandolin player of the band, but she switched to bass when Julianne started to learn.
And we’re no longer surprised to find out that Karen has a fan club of her own, called “Get It, Mama!” You will hear fans screaming throughout the show every time she plays the bass.
A Band To Watch Out For
The Petersens are definitely the band you should watch out for. They’ve been throughout the United States, Canada, and recently completed their third international tour to Ireland. Their shows are filled with the band performing bluegrass standards, and gospel favorites, while the sibling humor on stage will surely make you laugh as well.
They have also been compiling a variety of popular covers in their incredible bluegrass style. One of the band’s recent successes is their cover for Dolly Parton’s Jolene. They have also covered Patsy Cline’s She’s Got You, Alison Krauss’ When You Say Nothing at All, and so much more.
Just head on over to The Petersens’ YouTube channel to see some of their latest projects! The Petersens also perform four times a week at the Little Opry Theatre in Branson.