The Band

BAND MEMBER BIOS

Frances Mooney

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Frances Mooney

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 50 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 45 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 and southern gospel to our shows.  We even add a few original songs, written by the award winning Louisa Branscomb, Lorraine Jordan, Lisa Schaffer and others keeping them traditional yet creative, with gorgeous melodies that allow for gripping harmony singing and crowd-pleasing. “Frances is a veteran, having been in music over 50 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 Bluegrass Generation albums.  Another well-known member of the Bluegrass Generation was the late 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 an all female bluegrass band was still new to the bluegrass circuit,  Cherokee Rose soon began to get busy performing at bluegrass festivals, clubs and other music venues and the traveling became very hard for Frances as a single parent raising two young boys so she chose to leave the band, one of the hardest decisions she had to make in the music business but was much more important to be a mother to her little boys.  “Playing bluegrass is a passion I can’t shake, “playing bluegrass is such a part of who I am, so I found 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 years of membership changes and refining the bands sound and instrumentation, we now have what we need to take us on a bluegrass journey down the road!

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

Frances is proud to be endorsed by D’addario, HP 610 Helicore Pizzacate Medium tension strings

To contact Frances fontannasunset@bellsouth.net

Phone:  770-715-8270

RICKY RAKESTRAW

Rickey 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; (1981-1996) Indian Summer Band with Frances (Mundy) Mooney where they performed festivals and venues all over Georgia, Florida taking their music all the way 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.  (Rickey has shared the stage with Frances more than 25 years)

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.

Rickey is proud to be endorsed by GHS Corporation, VN-M, Acoustic Guitar Vintage Bronze medium strings

Glen Crain

Glen Crain

Glen is from Westminister, SC and 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 enjoys all types of music; but his passion is bluegrass.

Glen played with several South Carolina based bluegrass 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” and proudly endorsed by Pitt Resophonic Guitars.

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

Glen is proud to be endorsed by GHS corporation, TS1600-Tim Scheerhorn signature and CR1600-Americana resonator Regular strings

Brian Morgan (banjo and mandolin)

Brian Morgan

Brian grew up in a family of musicians. He started playing banjo at the age of five. It wasn’t long until he heard Doyle Lawson and fell in love with the mandolin. Brian was a regular at the Everett Music Barn in Suwanee Ga. It was there he met Jeff Autry and they formed their first bluegrass band as teenagers. At the age of 13, Brian started playing upright bass with Bluegrass Incorporated.

After graduating from high school Brian began playing banjo with the 3rd generation “Skillet Lickers”.  In 2009 Brian was fortunate enough to join “Frances Mooney and Fontanna Sunset”. The band has fostered the reputation of delivering stellar instrumentation arrangement and unbelievable harmony vocals. Fontanna Sunset has proven to deliver a powerful  performance that is enjoyed by all ages.

Brian is proud to be endorsed by GHS Corporation, LSB250, Silk & Bronze strings