Our History

Frances is a veteran, having been in music over 45 years.  She was a high profile singer and bass player with The Bluegrass Generation in the Louisville bluegrass scene around 1975 in the days when Ricky Skaggs and Vince Gill still played bluegrass. Both Ricky and Vince helped on a couple of early Generation albums.  Another well-known member of the Bluegrass Generation was Danny Jones who formally played with Bill Monroe, The Bluegrass Alliance and The Goins Brothers just to name a few. 

In 1975 The Bluegrass Generation was recognized by the Governor and each received Certificates making them Kentucky Cornels‘. The Bluegrass Generation traveled throughout the US, as far North as Canada and South to Florida.  In 1978, back in Georgia, Frances formed "Cherokee Rose", an all female band.  At this time all female bluegrass bands were still new to the bluegrass circuit. Cherokee Rose soon began to hit the bluegrass festivals, clubs and other venues. The traveling became very hard for Frances as a single parent raising two small boys, and she chose to leave the band, one of the hardest decisions she has had to make in the music. "But bluegrass is a habit I can't shake," Frances says. "It's too much a part of me, and I had to find a way to do that and be a good mother too." 

In 1981, Frances began to put another band together and named it Indian Summer and they performed at various festivals in the northern and southern states. In 1987 Indian Summer won 1st place in the "WPLO" Talent Contest out of 200 entries. Skeeter Davis was one of the judges and presented us with the 1st place award, which took us to Nashville, where they performed at Opyrland and the Station Inn.  The highlight of Indian Summer's career was October 1990 to be invited by the China Government to Shanghai, China to perform for the Grand Portman Hotel and represent music of the United States. 

In October 1998 Frances formed her current band, Fontanna Sunset.  Members included long time friend, Mindy Rakestraw and Brenda Nation.  This would be a band with “mostly women”.   Brenda left the band around 1999 . Louisa Branscomb, a renowned singer/songwriter then joined Fontanna Sunset.

After many band member changes and sound evolutions, Fontanna Sunset has gone back in to the studio with what Frances feels is the most solid group of musicians she's ever had. They are recording a set of incredible and diverse music, compiled of original songs from recognized songwriters in the genre, as well as some traditional favorites. Stay tuned for all the release details! 

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