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The Carl Towns Band Merges with Barefoot Nellie & Co.

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Barefoot Nellie & Co.Barefoot Nellie & Co. is proud to announce that they, and the Carl Towns band are merging. The husband and wife team of August and Eric Bruce will be joined by Carl Towns on Mandolin, Elliot Varner on Guitar and Brett Martin on Banjo. August plays Fiddle and Eric is on bass.

Carl, a singer-songwriter from Rising Fawn, Georgia has been involved in the music industry for over 40 years. In the 80s, his family formed “The Bluegrass Harmoneers”, traveling across the eastern portion of the United States they shared the stage with many of the top bands of that time, as well as hosting The Dillard’s Music Park festival in Rome, Georgia, for many years. Carl began crafting songs and developing that skill at the age of 10. Since that time, Carl has penned hundreds of songs. Of note, was “Midnight Train”, later recorded by Mike Bentley & Cumberland Gap Connection.

“Misty Mountain Morning” recorded by Rob Mashburn of Pinnacle Boys fame. Several other songs made their way onto minor charts. It is the songwriting and his voice that won him publishing/recording contracts as Carl grew up, out of the family band, traveling overseas in the late 90s, performing in various venues. He returned home and to his first love, Bluegrass Music. It is then that he formed the band, Cherokee Wind, performing for 5 years, up until his mother got sick, and could no longer travel.

She passed shortly afterwards, and the music seemed to die within him. Two years later, in 2008, the music within him was revived. With the desire and dedication to carry on, he began developing the Carl Towns band. After an earlier configuration and recording, he found Elliott Varner, a magnificent guitarist from Fort Payne, Alabama, and banjo picker Brett Martin in the Auburn, Alabama area along the way and they became key members of his band, with Clay Varner, Elliott’s dad as a member of the band as well.

Barefoot Nellie & Company came about after August and Eric Bruce met 16 years ago, when Eric began taking fiddle lessons from her. August, from Kansas City, Missouri grew up playing in her family’s band, The Bluegrass Brigade, where she honed her skills as a Fiddle player and singer. Eric is originally from High Point, Georgia and a Captain in the Chattanooga, Tn Fire Department. He and August married in 2004 and formed BFN&CO in 2007 and have performed since then in various configurations.

Based out of Chattanooga, Tennessee, the group has had some fantastic milestones since its birth. In 2010 BFN&CO released their debut CD South River. In 2012, PBS TV Series "Song of the Mountains", Season 7, Episode 5 featured BFN&CO. 2014 was an extra fun year with Bluegrass band contest wins at Uncle Dave Macon Days in Murfreesboro, TN and Bluegrass on the Plains in Auburn, AL where the band won recording time at Mountain Fever Studios in Willis, VA. Since that time BFN&Co has continued moving forward…

August & Eric and Carl had met many years ago and their friendship blossomed. At various times, needing members to fill in their individual bands, they attempted more than once to form a band or join together in their respective band, but the timing was off a bit it seemed. In early October 2017, the universal clock finally fell into place. Carl was contacted by August and Eric about playing mandolin, after their most recent configuration didn’t work out.

The gears of time and space aligned as Carl was on hiatus from performing and redeveloping as well as recording some new music. The timing was perfect. Looking to reform, Carl suggested Elliot Varner and Brett Martin to fill the other positions. Their initial meeting clicked immediately and it was a mutual feeling that they could make it work. So the Carl Towns band joined Barefoot Nellie & Co. and it seemed to be somewhat of a modified Charles Dickenson novel. The Tale of Two Ditties. It was the best of times, it was the worst of was the best of times again!

For all that is going on with BFN&CO visit and find their Facebook Page and other social media content from the website. To book Barefoot Nellie & Co. contact August Bruce at (423)618-8711 or email

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