Come hear the voice of military bluegrass straight from the source! Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Kenny Ray Horton explains his journey into the world of Country Current, the premier country-bluegrass group of the United States Navy Band. What is life like for a front man?
That started at a very early age. I was around the Albert E. Brumley family when I was real small ... I just grew up around it. I'm 47 as I stand right now, so that's 41 years of music. I've never looked back. That's all I've ever done.
I actually joined as an electronics technician. I didn't know anything about the bands. I knew they probably had some marching bands that I had seen at inaugurals and things of that nature. I had no idea we had rock bands and country bands and some swing.
I walked into tryouts at A-school [the Navy's post-boot camp technical training] and the tech assistant asked, "What can we do for you son?" I told him, "I'm here to audition for the band," and he said, "Prove it." I played three songs and he said, "You're coming to lunch with us. You're hired. They got an audition down the hall and you've a show at the Pabst Theatre in Milwaukee in one week. Are you good with that?"
18 years. I just cleared my 18-year mark. It has been astounding: the quality of musicians, the dedication that goes into what we do. We're only around 750 people in the world, in our program. That's not a lot of people to cover the amount of ground we gotta cover. The caliber of musicians I've been surrounded by has made me better.
Video by Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Sean Gallagher, DOD