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Brush Arbor Revival is a gospel band made up of four veteran musicians (guitar, dobro, banjo and upright bass) whose single purpose is to praise and glorify our Lord Jesus Christ in music. Our music is a combination of Country, Bluegrass and Southern Gospel. It is our honor to lead folks in praising our Lord at all events and worship opportunities.

 

Brush Arbor Revival was founded in 2007 by John and Peggy Craig.  We are an Arizona bluegrass gospel band that has traveled the Western United States performing gospel music.  We have played in churches, county fairs, bluegrass festivals, RV parks, retirement homes, private parties, etc.  Performances have included everything from providing special music in church worship services to being responsible for an entire Easter service and everything in-between.  We are particularly grateful for the opportunities to present gospel music in an increasing number of non-religious settings.

 

The band plays monthly for the Pioneer retirement home and the Prescott Opry at the Elks Theater in Prescott, Arizona.  The band has also appeared on local television and can be seen on several YouTube websites.

 

The band’s performances are part of a ministry that is primarily funded by free will offerings and donations received through the sale of recorded live CD’s.

 

 

Meet the Band

John Craig - Guitar / Vocals / Dobro

 

John Craig has been playing traditional bluegrass music since the late 50’s with such bands as Stoney Creek, Backporch Bluegrass, Gospel Express, Bluegrass Brethern and Trusting Hearts. John has been with Brush Arbor Revival since its beginning, John sings lead and harmony as well as playing guitar and dobro.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Peggy Craig - Bass

 

Peggy Craig (along with husband John) has been with the band since its inception being both a musician and the band’s promotor. Her rock-solid bass playing is the “glue” that holds the band’s timing together. Her joyful stage presence is infectious to all around her.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cindy Smelker - Rhythm Guitar / Vocals

 

Cindy grew up in a musical family as her brother Steve was a guitar player and singer and her Dad and Aunt played accordian, plus her grandma was a very well known piano player in the area. Cindy played clarinet in the school marching band and she met Jerry Smelker when her brother Steve and he formed  Country Roads, a very succesful country band in the Hastings Michigan area. She and Jerry got married and because the current Country Roads bass player was going to have heart surgery, she set about learning the bass. When it was apparent that the old bass player would not be back, she joined the band to play bass, and really found that she enjoyed singing as well as playing. She also learned to play some guitar, but her first love was the bass.

 

See Jerry Smelker's bio as she says  from that point, she was just along for the ride!!

After deciding to settle in the Prescott area, Cindy and Jerry played and sang at several jams and evidently Cindy caught the attention of the Craigs. Peggy and John were looking for a female singer and also were about to lose both banjo players that they had been working with.

Cindy now holds down the rhythm guitar chores and vocalist with Brush Arbor Revival.

 

Jerry Smelker - Banjo / Guitar

 

Jerry grew up in a very musical family as his Dad played guitar and his two brothers also played. Richard played guitar and bass, and Tom played guitar.

During and after high school, Jerry played in several bands and worked extensively with a local bluegrass band. There he honed his bluegrass skills and played guitar and mandolin plus did a bunch of studio work as a player.

Jerry played with several local groups including his own and worked with many musicians and played a lot of different venues. During that time he also thought of forming his own band. Jerry met Steve Malcolm, a local country singer with a really good looking sister named Cindy.  It wasn't long before they formed a very successful local band, Jerry and Cindy got married and Cindy became the bass player. The band enjoyed lots of success both locally and became the first country band to play the lounge at the Riverside Casino in Laughlin Nevada.

The band kept very busy and backed up and opened for many Opry artists including George Jones, Johnny Russell, Moe Bandy,  Bobby G Rice, Kenny Dale, Kenny Starr, Jack Greene, Jeanne Seely and Narvel Felts. The band broke up in 1986 and Jerry continued to work at Pro Co Sound, a mic/speaker/instrument cable manufacturer until retiring in 2006.

Jerry and Cindy hit the road in a motor-home and traveled the US coast to coast playing music at various campgrounds and seeing the sites. During that time Jerry taught himself to play the banjo, and realized then how much he missed the bluegrass music that he had played years ago,  After being “fulltimers” for several years they began to look for a place to call home again, and happened to pull into the Prescott,  Arizona area in 2013 and decided this was the place to settle. More pickers per square miles than you could shake a stick (or pick) at.

As luck would have it, the same day that Jerry and Cindy signed on their house, John and Peggy Craig called and asked them to join Brush Arbor Revival.

 

 

 

 

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