T   H   E     B  A   N   D

Eldred Hill mandolin, lead and harmony vocals.

Eldred was first exposed to bluegrass while growing up in Richmond, Virginia. Reno & Smiley had an afternoon television show that was broadcast on a nearby Petersburg station and Eldred was intrigued by the speed and drive of the music, and the entertaining antics of "Chicken Hotrod" (Reno's comic alter-ego). The folk music revival brought an acoustic guitar into the house. Eldred's father took some lessons for a while, but the guitar soon found its way into a closet. At the age of ten, Eldred pulled out the guitar and learned some chords from a Mel Bay instruction book he found in the case.

Eldred started playing bluegrass while attending college at American University in Washington D.C., where Gary Henderson hosted a radio program on the college radio station (WAMU). Henderson was generous enough to let a college kid hang around the station and learn about the music. Washington was rich in live bluegrass music, and after being exposed to several area mandolin players including John Duffey, Jimmy Gudreau, and Doyle Lawson, he took up playing the mandolin.

Eldred is also a gifted songwriter, writing many of Patent Pending's songs through the years, including a number of well received gospel songs and several new ones that are on the latest CD, Not a Day Goes By.

 

Rusty Williams - rhythm and lead guitar, harmony vocals.

Rusty's instinctive rhythm guitar playing has long provided the solid foundation of the group sound. Raised in Annapolis, Maryland, Rusty took up the guitar as a teenager and was initially drawn to folk music and blues, and later to bluegrass. His earliest influences were Doc Watson, Jimmy Martin, and the Stanley Brothers.

Rusty's first band work was in the casual settings of southern Maryland clubs. A college transfer took Rusty to Morgantown, West Virginia where he joined the band Mountain Grass. There he began playing with banjoist Jim Steptoe; their association lasted over three decades, and sadly ended when Jim passed away in August of 2009. In the late 1970s, Rusty and Jim relocated to the eastern panhandle of West Virginia and began their 30 year tenure with Patent Pending.

 

Leigh Taylor-Kron - bass, lead and harmony vocals.

Leigh Taylor-Kron, originally from Albuquerque, New Mexico, moved to the Washington, DC area when she was a young girl. Leigh began following bluegrass music with her family when her mother, Barbara Taylor, became close friends with Charlie Waller of the Country Gentlemen. Leigh's family began frequenting bluegrass festivals all along the east coast in the late 1970s.

Having taken up lessons on the bass violin in elementary school, and having grown up listening to bluegrass, she somehow "forgot" to bring her bow to her fifth-grade recital. A few years later she took up the bass again playing bluegrass exclusively. Leigh credits her bass influences as Ed "Boom Boom" Ferris, who used to refer to her as, "Little Boom Boom", John Palmer of Reno & Smiley and the Shenandoah Cut-Ups, Bill Yates of the Country Gentlemen and Tom Gray of the Country Gentlemen and The Seldom Scene. As her left hand grew sure and strong and her right hand more nimble she, like so many others who love and play our music, gained the confidence to abandon the turntable and join in pickin' sessions.

After several years of strictly instrumental work from Leigh, in her early teens, she opened her mouth to sing to the surprise and delight of her friends and family. The Virginia Songbird had left the nest and has never looked back. On the band's Straight from the Heart album, Charlie Waller wrote of Leigh's singing: "She has a clear tenor voice that is complimentary, not overpowering… that is how a tenor should be." Leigh is a great admirer of Hazel Dickens and Virginia's own Patsy Cline and strives to bring something of the strength, clarity and "heart" of their voices to Patent Pending.

Leigh joined Patent Pending in her mid-teens and grew to become an integral part of the full range of the Patent Pending sound, taking her place with the others to fill the subtle or the soaring parts in sacred music and love songs, or contribute to the hard, edgy harmonies of a tragic waltz-time ballad, singing harmony vocals and occasional lead.

Leigh played with Patent Pending through most of the 1980s and when time and circumstances allowed rejoined the band in 2008. She's thrilled to be back and the band is thrilled to have her. Leigh, her husband, Ed Kron and stepdaughter Kathryn, now reside in Arlington, Va., in the family home where Leigh and her two brothers were raised.

 

Keith Dill - fiddle, lead and harmony vocals

Keith Dill had a guitar in his hand by the time he was six years old. He is a multi-instrumentalist, and has won numerous awards. Keith was a member of the original configuration of Patent Pending, playing fiddle with the band before departing for Ferrum College in Franklin County, Virginia, where he took the opportunity to learn old time fiddle tunes from local musicians. Keith moved on to MCV in Richmond, Virginia, where he played with Randy Waller's band Silver Saddle.

Keith's musical style ranges from Appalachian old-time to Louisiana bayou funk. He is frequently featured on CDs and recording projects across the Washington, DC metropolitan area including David A. Alberding, Carey Colvin, the String Dusters, and others. Keith and his wife Viqui can also be found performing with their group, The Dill Pickers.

Keith re-joined Patent Pending in December of 2008. His outstanding fiddling is a key element in the band's sound.

 

Joe Zauner - banjo.

Joe' been picking the banjo since 1973, and much like several of his new bandmates in Patent Pending, cut his bluegrass teeth playing in Washington, DC area clubs in the late 1970's, including the Red Fox Inn and the Birchmere. Over the years he has done stints with several celebrated local bands in the Washington and Baltimore area.

Over the past serveral years, Joe has been seen on banjo with the Roland White Band, the Dixie Beeliners, the Valerie Smith Band, and most recently in a string of festival appearances with the Jeanette Williams Band in 2013.

Joe has composed and performed banjo tunes that have been featured in programs on the Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, the History Channel, NatGeo and PBS.

Joe has also worked behind the scenes, serving as stage manager for IBMA “Fanfest” performances in Nashville from 2005 to 2012, and working backstage as an artist coordinator for the Grey Fox and ROMP festivals. He says his banjo heroes are Earl Scruggs, Ben Eldridge, Eddie Adcock, Jim Mills and Bela Fleck.