Thand Union County Opry Band performing on stage.

The Union County Opry Band

In December of 2018, with early ground work beginning for the Union County Opry, Vice President, Danny Cooke began searching for talent to form a house band. With a tremendous amount of talent here in and around the Union County area, he began to summons pickers and singers for the band. Please check out each band member’s biography to learn more about them.

Photo of Craig Alan.

Craig Alan

Craig Alan is a multi-instrumentalist, singer, songwriter who has been performing & entertaining crowds for years. Originally from the Midwest & a musical family, it was that diverse background that makes up who he is. His songwriting & musical skills crossover rock, country, blues, bluegrass, & gospel. He has performed across the Midwest, the South,and farther & even a few foreign countries. Has produced & recorded a number of CDs, worked as a studio musician and has appeared on television & several radio programs. Craig is very passionate about what he does and you will feel & enjoy that when you hear him.

Photo of Mark Bills.

Mark Bills

Mark Bills grew up in a musical family that played piano and guitar. At six years old, he started taking drum lessons that continued through High school. After growing up in Anderson County, he now calls Union County his home. Over the years, he has played with multiple country, blues, and southern rock groups in local and out-of-state shows.

Photo of Allen Capps.

Allen Capps

Allen Capps, originally from Maynardville TN, started playing bluegrass fiddle at age 8, and has played for several local bands. He also plays Guitar, and Mandolin.

Photo of Jessica Cooke.

Jessica Cooke

Jessica Cooke is a Union County native and resides with her husband of 10 yrs and their two children. She has had a love for music from a young age and got her first guitar when she was nine. She started playing the fiddle when she was 15. She now plays one her daddy built in 2008. " I have respect for all kinds of music, but my favorite is true bluegrass, gospel, and classic country. I love music that tells a story and has some feeling behind it. I love that my kids love it too! I'm thankful for the Union County Opry and I hope that everyone can enjoy it for years to come! "

Photo of Danny Hutchins.

Danny Hutchins

Danny Hutchins is a multi-talented musician and singer. He currently plays keyboard for 3Dog Celebration and joined the Opry band in December 2019. With his talents and his energetic personality he has become a great fit for the Opry band.

Photo of Melinda Jessee.

Melinda Jessee

My name is Melinda Jessee. I am married to my college sweetheart Sidney Jessee Jr ,and we have two boys- Landon and Logan. I began singing at a young age at my home church with my dad, Vic Graves, and our family. My favorite genre of music is bluegrass gospel, and I play the upright bass in my spare time. (Psalms 100:2 Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing.)

Photo of Sidney Jessee.

Sidney Jessee

My name is Sidney Jessee and I am a native of Union County. I grew up in the Tater Valley Community of Luttrell and that is where my family and I reside today. Early in my life, I developed a great love and passion for music. I began taking guitar lessons at 6 years old from Doyle Collins and then Wayne Goforth. Before I could even chord a guitar, I would strum along to the Williams Family Gospel Cassette Tape every morning before school. At the age of 17, I began taking banjo lessons from Kipper Stitt, former banjo player of Pine Mountain Railroad and started learning to play the Upright Bass. My musical heroes and influences are Earl Scruggs, J.D. Crowe, Doyle Lawson, Tony Rice, Terry Baucom, Stuart Wyrick, Theodore (Ted) Wyrick, and Wayne Goforth. I’m thankful for what little talent God has given me and allowed me to share it with others.

Photo of Johnny Raley.

Johnny Raley

My name is Johnny Raley. I'm a life long Union county resident. I live on the farm my Grandparents worked with mules. I started playing in a bluegrass band with my buddies at 19 and soon found music to be a lifetime hobby. I've played bluegrass, county, southern rock, and gospel music with some great local musicians such as Jerry Cole, Cliff Flatford, and Wayne Seymour just to name a few. I currently play with a Bluegrass Gospel group at many local churches and festivals. The Union County Opry came alone just as I reached retirement age and was a perfect fit for me.

Photo of Rusty Rutherford.

Rusty Rutherford

Rusty Rutherford is a Union County native who began playing music as a child coming from a family with a strong musical heritage. Has appeared on many recordings as a session musician and decades of live performance experience. A lover of all music and true "Guitar Nerd" always open to new challenges.