Cains BVB Onstage Cowboy.jpgThe Brazos Valley Boys have never cared about fitting into any musical category.  Just playing good music is the only thing that matters.  Morey Sullivan, leader and longest tenured member of the Brazos Valley Boys will admit, “people have tried to put us in one musical box or another but when they hear how we swing and the energy we play with, they get over it quickly.  We’ve heard we are too country for jazz but too jazz for country. Living on that edge is interesting”.

The band members come from different musical environments but as Morey put it, “we all have a common love for the great masters of swing: Hank Thompson, Count Basie, Bob Wills, Duke Ellington and some others that might not be household names like Johnny Gimble,  Eldon Shamblin, Jay McShane and other great musicians.  Our mission is to hold on to and honor the music of HankThompson and others while moving forward and including new audiences that don’t remember those pioneers”. 

MEMBERS of the Brazos Valley Boys

Morey Sullivan

Morey Sullivan, vocals, bass, BVB band leader

Morey comes from a musical family and started in his dad’s professional band when he was thirteen.  He began as Hank Thompson’s band leader and bassist about 1979 and was honored to work with Hank from then until Hank's passing. Morey has worked with the Oak Ridge Boys, Ronnie Milsap, Don Williams, BJ Thomas, Merle Haggard, Texas Playboys and countless others.   He’s worked in many venues and festivals including Lincoln Center, major casinos and arenas around the country.

During the Russian Glasnost period, then Kansas Governor Finney chose Morey be the performing arts lead for the Kansas/Russian Cultural Exchange.  He travelled to Russia to audition Russian folk musicians/singers/dancers to tour Kansas, and then Morey produced and directed the musical variety show that toured Russia, performing in 17 Russian cities.  The live stage event show-cased native indigenous dancing and drumming, cowboy music, western swing, gospel, Broadway, jazz and classic rock--all American art forms. The cast and technical crew numbered about 50. 

Travelling and big names aside, Morey loves to play good music and entertain people. “Hank wanted me to carry on the Brazos Valley Boys and that’s what I’m going to do-and have fun playing our music,” Morey stated.  He belongs to the Seattle WA Western Swing Hall of Fame; Sacramento CA western swing music Hall of Fame as well as the Halls-of-Fame in Kansas the Oklahoma/Texas organization.  Additionally Morey was inducted into the Kansas Music Hall of Fame in 2021. 

Rob Loren

Rob Loren, fiddle, mandolin

Rob Loren inherited the violin gene from his father. He studied classical music all through school and through college in New Mexico. But was hearing other music than just classical that he wanted to get involved in and play.

So, he left college to pursue the music he’d been missing out on. He played professionally, in many different musical styles in New Mexico for about 15 years and worked and toured the Southwest.  Rob was asked to join and go on the road with Ray Price and the Cherokee Cowboys. After a few years, however, he decided it was time to go back to school and get a degree in music education.

Through networking in Kansas, he met Morey Sullivan and joined the Brazos Valley Boys. He continues to perform with the Brazos Valley Boys and is also in demand around the Wichita area.  Morey said of Rob, “he is a talented fiddle player that can play swing, jazz, bluegrass and then go do a classical gig-- any music you want and do it well”.

Mike Moore

Mike Moore, trumpet, vocals

Mike started playing trumpet and other brass instruments as a young man in grade school.  Born in Mississippi, but raised in Tulsa, he was influenced by Bob and Johnnie Lee Wills and other jazz greats.

Mike said that from college on, the Tulsa music scene was so rich he worked with a long list of nationally known performers including Eldon Shamblin, Johnnie Lee Wills, The Four Tops, Ray Charles, Natalie Cole and the Temptations and many others.

Mike started with Hank Thompson and the Brazos Valley Boys about 20 years ago.  He played on Hank’s last released recording session, “My Favorites”.  Mike said, “It is one of the highlights of my professional career.  Hank wanted Morey and all of us to keep the band and western swing alive and I’m proud to be a part of this.” 

Mike continues to keep an active teaching schedule and as a jazz clinician across the country.  Mike has a doctorate in music from the University of Oklahoma.

Joe Settlemires

Joe Settlemires, guitar

Joe has been a member of the Brazos Valley Boys for over 20 years.  He began playing professionally at 14 and has worked and toured with Bob Wills (he is the youngest Texas Playboy), Willie Nelson, Red Foley, Tex Ritter.  He has also played behind Bob Hope, Della Reese, Loretta Lynn, Howard Roberts and so many others.

Joe is known as the “go to” guitar player for western swing and jazz.  Several times each year he travels to Nashville for session work.  He partnered with the great Harold Bradley on many of those sessions.

Joe is in four music Halls of Fame around the United States.  In 2006 the Oklahoma State Legislature recognized Joe for his 50 years of contribution and dedication to both the Oklahoma music industry and music education in the private and public sectors.

Gary Sullivan

Gary Sullivan, drums, vocals

Gary was born, raised and lived in the Tulsa most of his life.  This means he was exposed to western swing music from day one.  He remembers when he was 5 his parents took him and the family to see Leon McAluliffe and the Cimarron Boys including guitar legend Eldon Shamblin. Gary sat in on drums for a few numbers.  He's been in love with western swing music since that time.  

Gary has been operating Sullivan Sound Studio in Broken Arrow, OK for many years. Not only is he a world-class drummer/percussionist he is a first-call studio engineer and producer.  Gary has been on literally hundreds of recording sessions as a drummer/engineer/producer.  He is the Producer of many regional and national music artists recording projects. 

Gary is also a music educator and teacher.  He is in demand as a percussion adjudicator, judging percussion competitions.  He has a full complement of percussion students.  Gary says teaching gives him much joy and satisfaction by passing along his skills to younger musicians.

Gary has worked and shared the stage with countless nationally known performers/musicians including a two-year stint as Reb McEntire's drummer. He has been with the Brazos Valley Boys for over 25 years.  Gary is excited about the future of western swing and the Brazos Valley Boys.  Gary shared, “western swing is an exciting, energy filled music---everyone likes it after they have heard the beat.  We want to open our music to everyone—of all ages—and give the folks some great American music—western swing”.

JD Walters

JD Walters, pedal steel guitar

Born in Mississippi, JD has been playing music since a kid.  As a teenager he liked Hank Thompson and the Brazos Valley Boys so much he travelled from his home in southern Mississippi to New Orleans to hear Hank at a venue there.  Because of his age he was not allowed to enter the building.  So…he stood outside and listened all night!

JD is one of the finest swing/jazz steel guitar players anywhere.  He has done session work in Nashville and was Freddie Hart’s steel player for many years. He also worked with Billie Jo Spears during her busiest years.  He moved to Tulsa and started working with Johnnie Lee Wills and other western swing performers.  JD belongs to the Southwest Western Swing Music Hall of Fame, the Kansas Swing Western Swing Hall of Fame and to the Seattle Western Swing Music Association's Hall of Fame.

He began with Hank and the Brazos Valley Boys about 30 years ago and has been working with the BVB since then.