Making Wayne County Music History
By Anita Miller
Alyson Greene is only fifteen, but has led a full life. She is proficient at many instruments, including guitar, mandolin and fiddle, and has written fifty songs and recorded several CDs. She has already graduated high school, since she was homeschooled, and has been offered a full scholarship to a music school in Kentucky.
Born with a gift for music, Alyson first performed at a church at the age of three years. When she was six, she sang at the Gospel Barn in Somerset, KY. Her dad, Clarence Greene, says she received three standing ovations there.
By the age of eight, the young girl says, “I was watching gospel Channel 18, located in Adamsville, TN.” Around that time, she was speaking to others of her love of bluegrass music. Inspired by the singing and playing of recording artist Marvin Morrow, Alyson called him. He sent her VCR tapes of himself performing gospel music. She also became friends with The Isaacs, a family group from Hendersonville, TN.
Alyson lived in Clifton, TN for ten years, off and on. With two friends, Austin Ricketts and Drake Letson (son of local musician Jeff Letson), Alyson was co-winner of a school talent contest in Clifton.
As a young girl, she took guitar lessons from Kelbie Howell of the regionally known Howell Family and the Family Music Center in Waynesboro. “I learned to play mandolin and fiddle by ear and by reading chart,” Alyson relates. She now lives in Camdenton, MO.
Alyson wrote her first song when she was eleven, on her way to Grinder’s Switch Hour in Centerville, TN. She has done paid performances all over the east coast, in Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, West Virginia, North and South Carolina, Missouri, Kentucky, Indiana, Arkansas, and Michigan. “I began playing for tips and love offerings,” she says.
When asked about her career, Alyson replied, “I’m plugging away. You have to be there at the right time.” She has performed at the Smith Family Theatre in Gaithersburg, TN, and at the Starvey Creek Festival in Conway, MO, where she performed with Melvin Goins, Rhonda Vincent and Larry Sparks. Alyson has also done sessions and performed with The Daltons.
Alyson has played in a few bands, but is now performing solo. “I love being on the road,” she explained. She has played lead and rhythm guitar with several bands and has played fiddle for a country band and several gospel groups, including Kentucky Mountain Trio. “I’ve been offered a recording contract already,” the teen said. “I want to wait – not be tied down.” She recently met Rhonda Vincent, the “Queen of Bluegrass,” and has sent her some recordings for review.
Alyson has a new manager, Doug Deforest, who previously played with Mickey Gilley until Mickey retired. He has also played with Pam Tillis, Ray Price and Sammy Davis, Jr. and produced for other musicians. He can be seen on the weekly TV show “Downtown Houston After Hours” on KOZL channel 27 in Springfield, MO. Doug is now helping Alyson develop into a modern country singer and she is opening for Chris Cagle and Collin Raye. She performed at B. B. King’s Blues Club during FanFair 2014.
She says her dream is to “make a good living and have fun.” Her favorite memories are doing festivals and visiting Georgia. She said there was “stuff to see, nice weather and the people were nice to me.”
Alyson recently completed a music video “Certified Country” at Berry Hill Studios and has a YouTube video of her performing “Leaning on the Whiskey,” which she wrote. She performed at B.B. King’s Blues Club during the Country Music Awards. She can be seen on FaceBook, YouTube, Twitter and Tumblr.