The Trailblazers are a group of people who love the old Western music from the Silver Screen cowboy era: the Sons of the Pioneers, Roy Rogers, Gene Autry and others. We not only love the music but like to share it with others. The group was originally formed in 2008 and now consists of 6 members. The group performs in and around the Research Triangle area of NC.
We really enjoy singing together and have performed at assisted living facilities, nursing homes, churches, vacation Bible schools, Mule Days, senior centers, the McKimmon Center at NCSU, Charlie’s Barn in Siler City and about anywhere anyone will have us. Most of our music is western but all of our members have very strong convictions rooted in Christianity so we also do some gospel songs.
All of our members have a close affiliation with the Cowboys for Christ.
Shelton Bass lives in Lucama, NC and played in rock bands as a youngster. Today he is lead guitarist for the Rocky Cross Country Band of Rocky Cross, NC but also plays the dobro for The Trailblazers. Shelton’s skills on the dobro add real depth to the songs The Trailblazers sing.
Kenny Canady lives is Clayton, NC. In his early years he performed in rock bands as a bass guitarist. As of late, he has joined in with The Trailblazers as a tenor singer and bass and acoustic guitar player. A far stretch from his rock band days, Kenny enjoys the cowboy music and always performs enthusiastically.
Bob Crane lives in Raleigh, NC and is a long time employee of IBM. Bob spent some time studying music in college in his early years and then played for a rock band in the night scenes for many years. Now Bob sings tenor and plays bass guitar for The Trailblazers. He observed The Trailblazers singing at Mule Days one year and told them they needed a bass guitar and tenor singer and that he was that person. Until that time, Bob had little exposure to cowboy music but now he loves it.
Billy Johnson lives in Clayton, NC and spent his professional career as an accountant for the state and as a minister for the Church of God. As a child, he was greatly influenced by the B-Westerns and loved the music of the silver screen cowboys. He sang in a Western Band, The Riders of the Carolina Sage, with his aunt and uncles for several years but as his relatives “aged out” of the band, Billy formed a new band named The Trailblazers.
Jerry Sprague plays the guitar and sings lead for the group. He grew up under of the influence of TV in the 1950′s when Gene Autry, Roy Rogers, the Lone Ranger, and Hoppalong Cassidy frequented the screen. His love for horses, cowboys and cowboy songs results from this exposure. He spent 30 years on the research faculty for the College of Forest Resources at NCSU, picking up an MS in Counselor Ed. and Psychology along the way. But one day he realized that he still wanted to be a singing cowboy when he grew up, so he retired and started working with horses at a nearby stables and brushing up on his guitar skills.
Until recently,Tom Westbrook resided in Clayton, NC but is originally from Arkansas. He spent his working days in the Southwest and other parts of the cowboy country. He managed a cattle ranch in Texas before moving to NC. He has always loved cowboy music and performed it for people. He joined The Trailblazers after hearing them perform at a horse clinic in Clayton and has added a new dimension to the group. He plays acoustic guitar and sings bass. Unfortunately for The Trailblazers, Tom just moved back to Arkansas so his future involvement will consist of “guest appearances”; and many of them, we hope.