Brian Fesler

Brian Fesler started playing banjo

in grade school and soon formed a band in Iowa

with his sister and cousin.


After running the gamut of family band through regional bands in his home state of Iowa, he was off to Nashville where he soon found himself an endorsing artist for the Gibson Guitar Company, travelling the country with the Gibson All-Stars, featuring master luthier and good friend always, Mr. Charlie Derrington.  Brian still plays the Granada he was given by the Gibson Company.


He spent a season on the bass with Oklahoma favorites, The Arbuckles.


Then on to Ferrum, Virginia where in 1987 he took over the banjo spot in the Lonesome River Band.  He worked under bandleader Tim Austin and co-founder Jerry McMillan, and had the honor to work with two of the finest musicians and people around, Adam Steffey and later Dan Tyminski.


The fall of 1988 brought new excitement as Brian and Adam joined with Tim Stafford, Barry Bales and Tammy Rogers in the new band, Dusty Miller. Dusty Miller immediately performed at a 1988 IBMA showcase, and began touring nationally.  Two recordings were released, the self-titled debut on June Appal records, and a project known simply as "The White Tape."



Photo by Larry Steur

After winning the 1990 SPBGMA International Band Contest, Dusty Miller toured into the summer, then played its final show to an audience at the 1990 Nashville Fan Fest.  Adam, Tim and Barry went off with Alison Krauss.  Brian played an International Dance festival in Europe with Tammy, then played shows with David Harvey (Wild & Blue), Gary Brewer & the Kentucky Ramblers, and the Charlie Sizemore band.  Brian says, "Performing with Charlie Sizemore was one of the highlights of my career.  He's one of the best singers and performers in the history of Bluegrass, and a gentleman as well."


In 1991 Brian reloacted to the Twin Cities area, where he performed with area talent such as the Christensen Sisters and Monroe Crossing.   He's been featured on numerous artists' recording projects, including Chris Silver, fiddler Brian Wicklund and Wisconsin favorite Highwater.  He has also recorded with bands outside of the traditional bluegrass vein, such as Taconite Haven, Arcana 81, Spy Mob and the Lorie Line Pop Orchestra.


In January 2002, Brian became a regular member of Becky Schlegel’s touring group, and has been on every album of hers since Drifter Like Me (2005).  Since 2007, Brian and Becky have co-produced her albums for the Lilly Ray Records label, achieving international acclaim for 2008’s “For All The World To See.”  This project was picked up by IGO Records out of Nashville.


Following the success of the latter recording project and several trips to Nashville to promote it and appear at the IBMA convention, Brian returned to Nashville, TN in the spring of 2009.  He currently teaches and is preparing for a new CD release.