"Bridging the Gap Between Rock and Country" Before Country was cool, Young Country was heating things up in the music world with their own brand of "farmer-tan, country-boogie music". Original members Bernie Kvamme and Robert Lewis joined forces in 1975 with rockers Jim Casey and Bob Letheby, to form one of the most unique sounding bands to come out of Nebraska. Young Country was described by long time fan, Rick Hippen, of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, as .."A cross between Merle Haggard and The Rolling Stones,...way ahead of their time!" One Montana newspaper called them, "A 1000 lbs. of musical dynamite, resembling the front line of the Dallas Cowboys. This band of 200 pounders has a following from Texas to Canada, ranging from bankers to bikers!" Traveling extensively throughout the Midwest, Young Country scored a regional hit with their burning version of, "Ghost Riders in the Sky", with the flip side," Blind Willie Harper", co-written by Shel Silverstein and Young Country lead player, Jim Casey.
Young Country rode this recording popularity into three successful years of touring, sharing the stage with Pure Prairie League, David Allen Coe, Wayne Cochran, and many others. This three year run also marked the departure from the band of Jim Casey, who left to spend more time with his growing family. Casey was replaced by Dan Witte, a popular guitarist & fiddle player from Winside, who fit like a glove. The band continued touring and opened up for many national acts such as the Flying Burrito Brothers, Hank Williams Jr., Jerry Jeff Walker, Roy Clark and Gatemouth Brown, including sold out shows at the legendary Cain's Ballroom in Tulsa, Oklahoma, while working with Joe Hupp and the Jim Halsey Agency. In 1978, Young Country recorded their album Ballroom Blues, which contained original songs by band members, as well as songs by Norfolk singer-songwriter, Nick (The Stick) Leland. Young Country regrouped in 1980 as "The Y.C. Critter Band", and continued their touring until the band was officially "put down" in 1982. The Young Country sound was a bottom rich, rock n roll flavor put to country songs. Lead singer Bernie Kvamme is still considered one of Nebraska's finest vocalists. He was back up by a mighty rhythm and vocal section of "Rotten Robert" Lewis on drums, Bob Letheby on bass, with Jim Casey on the electric guitar. Remembers Kvamme, "We loved real country music, but we couldn't help it if we had to rock it up a bit. It just came naturally. Looking back on shows and concerts we did, most of those faces out there were young rockers who had never had a taste of country music. We dressed it up like rock, and they loved it!"
Ghost Riders/Blind Willie Harper Gabriel
LP Album 33 1/3 Vinyl -
Barroom Blues Lost Records 1978
Jim Casey - Guitar/Vocals