Colton Powers lives nestled in the rich, musical environment of the Appalachian region of East Tennessee. He started his musical training in middle school playing trumpet in band class, and first heard Bluegrass music from his father playing nine pound hammer on his guitar. It only seemed natural that he would soon learn to play the music of his childhood.
Colton’s grandfather bought him a canjo as a gift, and he started playing the one stringed instrument every chance he got. His grandfather jokingly told him that if he got good at it, then he would buy him one with two strings on it the next year.
Colton continued to study music in high school playing assorted band instruments, until one day when he came home to find a banjo that his parents bought him sitting in his bedroom. He began attending local bluegrass jams which chiseled in stone his desire to master the banjo.
Eventually, Colton began lessons with a local Bluegrass legend, Tommy Freeman, who introduced him to the Earl Scruggs style of picking. With six to eight hours of practicing each day, he soon became proficient enough to play solos in the jams.
Upon graduating from high school, Colton enrolled in the ETSU Bluegrass, Old Time, Country and Celtic program while simultaneously playing in a band that he helped start at home. When he is not at school or performing on the road, Colton teaches music from his home. He has played with several well-known Bluegrass artists, including Brian Goins, Melvin Goins, River Road, and Kody Norris and the Watauga Mountain Boys. He has played with several ETSU Bands and instructs two of them. In addition to banjo, Colton plays guitar, fiddle and dobro. During the summer he teaches at Coda Mountain Academy Summer Music Festival and plays with his bands (Boots on the Ground and the Johnson City’s Most Wanted) full time.