Born of a jam session in West Columbia, Texas during the 1990's - The Pet Rooster Band first took the stage at one of the second Saturday shows produced by the Brazoria County Bluegrass Association. As the story goes, Jay was jamming with a few folks behind the building when the emcee (Clinton Caroon) stuck his head out the back door and announced they were going on next and needed to know the name of the group. Without missing a beat, the guitar player (David Mintz) blurted out "Pet Rooster" and thus began the group!
Founding members of the band included Jay on banjo, his better half Cathy on the upright bass, David Mintz on guitar/lead-vocals and Britt Keane on mandolin. The group gained an instant following with their tight harmonies, a mixture of traditional bluegrass tunes and selections outside of the genre, Jay's hard-driving 5-string work and Britt's unique approach to the mandolin.
As mentioned on our home page, we are a bluegrass band whose repertoire includes a mixture of traditional tunes along with a few variations outside of the genre. This includes classic country, western swing, Americana and even some jazz standards. We'd like to thank you for visiting our web site and the sections below provide additional information on the current members of The Pet Rooster Band.
Cathy has been surrounded by music all of her life including "hootenannies" with family and friends. She started singing in the "folk choir" at church but found her own voice singing along with such vocal greats as Emmylou Harris, Linda Ronstadt and later, Alison Krauss.
She met Jay in Athens, Georgia where he was playing banjo with the Southern Crescent band and loved singing with him at wild and crazy jams. Although she took guitar lessons from Ned Bridges, the guitar player for Southern Crescent, she considers her voice to be her primary instrument.
When Cathy and Jay moved to Texas it was understood they would look for bluegrass music. They discovered it at the monthly Brazoria County Bluegrass Association show where they found David Mintz singing amazing vocals and Britt Keane playing a fine mandolin. As the original Pet Rooster Band was being formed, Cathy was recruited to play upright bass and sing high harmony against David's great lead vocals with Jay's smooth baritone line completing the sound. Over the years, Cathy said she had a blast playing and singing with the band and created many friendships and memories along the way.
The current version of The Pet Rooster Band is allowing Cathy to relearn the guitar and expand her repertoire of songs. In addition to singing lead on many of the tunes on a given set list, she also provides amazing harmony lines when supporting other lead vocalists.
In addition to playing straight ahead Scruggs and JD Crowe stye banjo, Jay is equally adept at applying the instrument to genres outside of bluegrass music. Originally from Georgia, he transferred to Brazoria County in the 1990's with his wife Cathy and they immediately set about looking for other bluegrass musicians.
As a founding member of The Pet Rooster Band, Jay has assumed 5-string duties through each iteration of the roster and is an excellent harmony singer as well.
Born in Tennessee and raised in central Kentucky... R. Lynn migrated to The Republic of Texas as soon as possible back in 1986!
Originally a keyboard player, he drifted into bluegrass in the early 1980's when several co-workers invited him to attend The Festival of the Bluegrass at Masterson Station Park in Lexington, KY. Perched on a lawn chair in front of the stage - he was captivated by the sounds of JD Crowe and the New South, The Seldom Scene, The Country Gentlemen, Ralph Stanley and Bill Monroe.
Initially drawn to the 5-string banjo, he developed enough proficiency to play lead in a couple of bands but always found himself drawn to the sound of "steel." He purchased his first reso (Dobro 60-DS) in 1987 after a jam session at "Danny D's Guitar Shop" and was soon invited to play the new guitar with The Flatland Bluegrass Band. As the years progressed, he decided to make the reso his primary instrument and eventually set down the 5-string around the turn of the century. His early influences on reso included Don Eggers (local Houston talent), Josh Graves and the legendary Mike Auldridge (formerly of the Seldom Scene). He considers his playing a fusion of Scruggs/Crowe style banjo playing, the harmonized scales so often associated with the instrument and a good dose of the blues thrown in for fun!
Most recently R. Lynn has become a student of Western Swing music, American jazz standards and the Gypsy Jazz popularized by Django Reinhardt during the early 20th century. He now keeps an eight string reso in E13 tuning for playing swing tunes with the band and added a Herb Remington double-neck 8-string non-pedal steel guitar to the mix for gigs where tube amplifiers are permitted! To better understand the structure of jazz and swing, R. Lynn is also learning his way up and down the neck of an archtop acoustic/electric guitar in his spare time.
Over the years R. Lynn has been a member of several Texas Bands including Flatland Bluegrass, Blue Bayou, Austin Colony and now The Pet Rooster Band. He's also been active with the Bay Area Bluegrass Association over the past 28 years serving as a current board member and considers the club his home base.
Although Phil is still working on his PhD at The University of Houston, we already refer to him as "Doctor Phil" given his mastery of the mandolin and other stringed instruments. With roots in the Tri City area of Tennessee and southern Indiana, he spent most of his formative years in southeastern Idaho before attending undergraduate school in Montana.
Given the long winters in that part of the country, many superb musicians develop during the indoor months and Phil certainly fits in that category. In addition to playing clean and fast on the mandolin he also spent time working for the Weber Fine Instrument Company performing final setup of their mandolins prior to customer shipment.
After making a detour through Anchorage, Alaska and Salt Lake City with Brandy his wife - Phil arrived in Houston and met The Roosters at the 2013 Fire on the Strings festival in League City, TX. Shortly thereafter, he was recruited into the band and does an amazing job with instrumentals and vocals alike.
Growing up in Oklahoma, Mike didn't get much exposure to bluegrass music in his early years. He grew up on Loggins and Messina, Jim Croce and was in college before he saw his first bluegrass show (Mountain Smoke featuring Vince Gill). That - lit a fire.
Mike joined his first bluegrass band after college while living in Denver and enjoyed playing the ski resorts on weekends. Skiing by day and playing bluegrass by night - that was the life!
Joining The Pet Rooster Band represents a return to bluegrass music - after twenty years of involvement with ministry in the church playing guitar and bass in the Katy area. He loved the opportunity of combining a passion for making music with serving the Lord.
Mike is thankful for those years of music in the church and the new opportunity to play with the musicians of Pet Rooster. This represents his transition to the doghouse bass and... nobody explained the headaches of toting such a thing around!
Serving southeast Texas and beyond, The Pet Rooster Band is available for your next event including:
Please drop a note to email@example.com to find out more about our music and how we can help!
We're often asked questions about the instruments we play, our choice of accessories, setup preferences, practice techniques and what our idea of a "dream instrument" would be. As such, we decided to devote a few pixels on your web browser to answer some of these questions and we hope you'll find this section informative!
Although the Dobro is a particular style and brand of resonator guitar (often called a "reso"), the term has become a generic reference for any guitar built with metal cones - or resonators - to amplify the volume of the instrument. These guitars can be assembled with either a round neck and low string action for finger-style playing or a square neck with raised strings for noting with a steel bar. The round neck guitars are often played with fingers and a bottle slide on the fret board with Delta Blues being a genre that makes use of this technique. Often times, performers will refer to this approach as "playing slide."
Artists involved with bluegrass, country and Hawaiian music usually prefer the square neck resonators with raised strings and play them "lap style." That is, the guitar is held horizontally while the left hand notes the strings with a steel bar (assuming a right handed artist!). The term "playing steel" simply means the act of noting any stringed instrument with a steel bar - the term is not strictly limited to pedal-steel guitar as many people often assume. For example... you could lay a mandolin flat on your lap, note the strings with a metal bar and tell the world you're now a steel player!
Having said that, R. Lynn's primary resonator guitar is a custom Dale Mitchell flatop constructed from birds eye maple.
This instrument is in open G bluegrass tuning (G-B-D-G-B-D low to high) and his current preference in strings is the Elixir Polyweb 80/20 bronze set for resonator guitar. His preference for other accessories include: 1) Sammy Shelor Stainless Steel Fingerpicks - Narrow Band; 2) BlueChip JD Crowe Resonator Thumbpick; 3) Ergo 925 Steel; and 4) Elmer Bradley Capo.
In terms of setup, it's important that the top of the strings be level (across the fret board) at both the nut and the spider bridge to minimize the pressure required on the steel to note a full chord without string buzz. Beyond that, he tightens the tension screw on the spider bridge about 1/2 turn beyond the first feel of resistance.
For performance on stage, R. Lynn likes using a single Shure SM57 microphone and positions the bottom of the cover plate about one inch away from the mic during lead breaks. While playing backup he moves the instrument about six inches off the microphone and plays at reduced volume.
Whether you enjoy Bluegrass, Old time Country or Western Swing the Lonestar State provides plenty of venues for playing acoustic music and listening to live music. Take a moment to visit our Links page and learn more about the associations and business owners supporting string music in Texas.