Frances Mooney & Fontanna Sunset

Bluegrass Music

The Band

BAND MEMBER BIOS

 

Frances Mooney

Frances Mooney, Bass & Vocal

Frances Mooney, Bass & Vocal

Imagine the soul of the North Georgia mountains and the legacy of generations of family and friends who play country and bluegrass music. Put these in the hands of somebody with undying love of bluegrass and vocal talent to match, and you have singer Frances Mooney. Soul and heart, and a commitment that has taken her down bluegrass roads over 41 years, make Frances somebody people stand up and pay attention to, and it happens wherever the band plays.  Frances isn’t afraid of the emotion that makes a song poignant, lonely, or up beat.  For over 40 years she’s led Georgia-based groups to regional popularity, and with Fontanna Sunset, Frances wants to shoot toward the moon.”  Louisa Branscomb

Band Leader and Atlanta Country Music Hall of Famer, Frances Mooney says, “We feel our approach is unique for many reasons, we’re not afraid of challenges, driving rhythm and power vocals.  Then too, we aren’t afraid to vary the style, and arrange old country, maybe a little old rock & roll to our shows.  We add a few original songs, written by the award winning Louisa Branscomb to every show, they are traditional yet creative, with gorgeous melodies that allow for gripping harmony singing and crowd-pleasing. “Frances is a veteran, having been in music over 48 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 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 of Kentucky, 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 songwriter joined Fontanna Sunset.

After a few years of membership changes and refining the bands sound, we now have what we need to take us down the road to success!

Frances has been known for her evocative, soulful voice, and her ability to move from the poignancy of a country ballad to the joy of an up-tempo gospel number to traditional bluegrass, always keeping the heart of the audience in her hand.  Some players have the ability to capture and hold your attention. A few others have the magic to put you under a spell. This is singer Frances Mooney,” said Louisa Branscomb, Songwriter

To contact Frances fontannasunset@bellsouth.net

Phone:  770-715-8270

Rickey Rakestraw

RICKY RAKESTRAW

Rickey is a lifetime residence of Dallas Georgia.  He tarted playing Banjo in 1968 and began his first band with Jerry (Jughead) Rogers around 1973.

Over the next years, he performed with: The Betty Fisher Band where he got to perform at the Grand Ole Opry; Hood N Wylie; Indian Summer Band with Frances (Mundy) Mooney where they performed festivals and venues all over Georgia, Florida and even took their music to Shanghi, China; Born Gypsy with Louisa Branscomb, The Little Roy & Lizzy Show where he got to be with friends with the legendary, Earl Scruggs.  Over the years he got to play shows with Patty Loveless, Emory Gordy.

In 2011,  Rickey rejoined with Frances Mooney & Fontanna Sunset where he currently plays Guitar and shares the lead and harmony vocals with Brian Morgan and Frances Mooney.

For the past 42, years, his family has run the Raccoon Creek Bluegrass Festival.  Rickey is the proud Daddy to two beautiful daughters, Shylah and Alaina and three Grandchildren, Ethan, Hollis and Lilly.

 

Glen Crain

Glen Crain

Glen is from Westminister, SC and has been around music all his life. He started playing drums as a child, and as a teenager learned to play bass. At the age of 25, he started learning Dobro (Resophonic Guitar) and Lap Steel guitar.  Glen has performed with numerous bands over the years and enjouys all types of music; but his passion is bluegrass. Glen played with several South Carolina based bluegrss bands, most notably, New Dixie Storm from 2000-2010, winning the South Carolina Bluegrass Band Championship at Renofest in 2006.  In 2014 – 2015 he was a member of
Adkins and Loudermilk.  In 2016-2017 Glen was with the Edgar Loudermilk Band featuring Jeff Autry.  While Glen appreciates all the new styles of Dobro (Resophonic), his favorites remain Josh Graves, Mike Auldridge and Jerry Douglas.  Glen plays “Old Hounds” by Pitt Resophonic Guitars.

January 2018 Glen joins up with Frances Mooney & Fontanna Sunset playing Resophonic guitar singing Bass & Harmony vocals.

Joe Kimsey

 

 

Joe Kimsey

Joe joined Frances Mooney & Fontanna Sunset in February 2012.  He plays Banjo and sings Bass vocals.

 

 

Brian Morgan

Brian Morgan

Brian is from Dacula, GA He joined Frances Mooney & Fontanna Sunset in 2009 and plays Mandolin and sings Lead & Harmony vocals.