There’s a special dynamic between the men of Boy Named Banjo.
Unlike most, the country folk band was created more than a decade ago when most of its members were still in high school. It’s that familial feeling that gives them an extra something that other bands don’t have.
“I think we just have a special camaraderie,” William Reames, acoustic, said. “We’re all really good friends before bandmates, so I think that comes across on stage more than anything.”
The crew originated in 2010 with its OG members, Reames, Willard Logan and Barton Davies.
Two years after forming, and shortly before they graduated high school, Boy Named Banjo put out its first album, The Tanglewood Sessions.
At first, the bandmates were putting out music to just “have fun with it,” not knowing if the album would take off, or if their music would resonate with people.
“People really liked it, so we just kept playing in college,” Barton Davies told Celeb Secrets Country reporter Blakely McHugh backstage at the 2022 CMA Music Festival in Nashville last month. “Then Sam [McCullough] joined the band and we put out another album and it just kind of kept snowballing.”
That next album, Long Story Short, released in 2014.
Their fifth member, Ford Garrard, joined about two years later has been with the band for six years.
At this point, you may be asking, how the quintet got its name.
It’s a bit deceiving considering the band is made up of more than one person — none of which are named Banjo — but the “banjo does play an integral part in this story.
It involves the stringed instrument, Nashville, a drunk tourist and the banjo player himself, Barton Davies.
Keep scrolling to read our full Q&A below and let us know what you think of Boy Named Banjo by either leaving a reaction at the bottom of the post or by sending us a tweet at @CS_Country.
Celeb Secrets Country: Give us a little bit of background on how the band was formed.
William Reames: “So we we’ve all known each other a long, long time. The band itself was formed, I believe in 2010 in high school with, Willard, Barton and myself. We started out as a string band and just kind of kept growing from there. I think Ford’s our newest member and he’s been with us for six years
Ford Garrard: “I was an occasional member in like year one.”
CSC: How did you get roped back in?
FG: “I was like the only guy in town that played upright bass. And so by default. I went away to college and so I missed that little chapter but I came right back.”
CSC: When the original three of you formed, was the idea to have this take off and be your career, or was it something fun that you all did together?
WR: “It was just a cool new thing for all of us. We were just having fun with it.”
Barton Davies: “We put out an album right before we graduated high school and that was, maybe going to be the end of it, but people really liked it. So we just kept playing in college and Sam joined the band and put out another album and yeah, it just kind of kept snowballing.”
CSC: What a unique experience. How special is that? What do you think that history together give you guys that’s different from others?
BD: “I think we have just a special camaraderie. We’re all really good friends before bandmates, you know, so I think that comes across on stage more than anything. We’re always just having a good time on stage. And then if you’re hanging with us backstage, you’re having a good time back there too.”
CSC: How did Boy Named Banjo come about?
WR: “When we were in high school, Barton, Willard and I would go down to lower Broadway and just play on the sidewalk. One day just a very drunk tourist or bar goer went up to Barton’s face and started waving money in his face and told him to ‘play the banjo faster boy, play it faster’ and kept yelling at him. He just played faster, faster. Then he gave him a nice tip and I went home that night and just thought of Boy Named Banjo. We’ve just rolled with it.”
CSC: Being together for so long, what kind of growth have you seen in each other?
BD: “Back when it was just the three of us we had never played for anyone before. I certainly hadn’t and I was terrified just to open my mouth and sing. So especially William and I just have gotten more natural singing in front of people and being on stage. At first, we were nervous wrecks every time we walk out.”
Sam McCullough: “Going through the college circuit and playing for a lot of fraternities teaches you a lot of things really fast because there’s a lot of people heckling and yelling and not listening. Your goal is to make them listen, you know, like entertain them and win them over. We really learned how to perform, I think from that experience. It’s little moments where you’re like, well, we really have to overcome this one. Let’s uh, let’s get better. Real fast.”
CSC: It’s been a little while since we got new music, so what’s going on? Are we working on new music?
BD: “So our thing is like, we’re constantly working on new music. and just trying to dial that in as much as possible. Once everyone on our team feels like we have what we need we’ll put it out there. So I think it’ll be coming soon.”
SM: “I think we’ll start with a single or two and then definitely work into a bigger project after that but we’ll see. It’s still in the works.”
CSC: What do you like about being in a group?
WR: “We’ve known each other a long, long time. For me, you know, touring is really difficult, especially we’re in a van. So to be so close with these guys, it just makes that whole process more fun. Everyone’s bought in to the band, you know? No, one’s a hired gun, so everyone’s working towards that common goal and is very committed.”
BD: “It’s like you have a support group for everything you do. Right. Like even this interview, I couldn’t imagine doing an interview by myself. It doesn’t sound very fun.”
CSC: Are there any secrets about each other or your recording/writing process, maybe some fun facts that fans don’t know about the band?
SM: “Every once in a while, when we’re playing recording a really, up tempo hype song Ford and I record shirtless and get real sweaty together.”
CSC: Is this a real thing or are you joking?
FG: “It’s true.” — Ford Garrard
SM: “If we’re like a couple takes in and need some energy, we’ll just turn the air conditioning off and take our shirts off and just sweat it out.” — Sam McCullough
WR: “That’s really weird man.”
SM: “They asked for secrets!”
FG: “That’s not what I was prepared to say.”
BG: “Ford, what were you going to say?”
FG: “I don’t know! I’m kind of— give me a minute.”
WR: “We have a Nintendo switch in our van. We might not look like gamers, but we’ve played a lot of hours of Super Smash Brothers and we are very good at it.”
Willard Logan: “We just hit our 4000th game of super smash brothers lat week.”
CSC: If you guys are out at a party, who’s where? Who is on the dance floor, who is grabbing snacks, who’s at the bar?
BD: “Sam’s definitely at the bar.”
SM: “I’m a bartender, let’s clarify. So I’m more intimate with drinks than other people I suppose. Probably Barton is on the dance floor. He has some quirky little moves.”
BD: “Only if I’ve had a few drinks. My wife calls It the ‘Bardi Bop’, it’s not great.”
CSC: Do you have a go-to food you’re ordering when you’re in the studio recording?
BNB: “Mexican food!”
FG: “We’re always eating Mexican food. If we’re in California we’re stoping at a burrito truck. We’re kind of all over the place.”
CSC: Who dislikes listening back to themselves the most?
BD: “I honestly like listening back to our music. I used to not, but I’ve grown to enjoy it.”
FG: “I think once it’s done and it’s out and you can’t change anything, I like to listen to it.”
WR: “I guess before it’s out, you’re always thinking about what you could do to make it better.”
CSC: Who’s saying, ‘let’s go one more hour?’
BNB: “I would say Sam.”
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