Steel Guitar, Banjo, Lead Guitar, Acoustic Guitar & Musical Director
Gene, who serves as the Musical Director for the Rhinestone Mafia, has been a part of the Branson entertainment scene for more than 30 years. Originally from Kinmundy, Illinois, music has played an important role in Gene’s life almost from the beginning. He learned to play drums and ended up performing in his father’s band at 8 years old and by the time he was 12, Gene was playing lead guitar. It would be another four years before Branson’s premier steel guitar player took up the instrument at 16. Once he heard a steel guitarist opening for The Wilkinson Brothers, Gene decided to focus on the steel guitar at 18.
After an interesting experience performing with Country Music Legend Mickey Gilley, Gene landed a job with The Wilkinson Brothers and eventually made his way to Branson in 1981. Throughout the last 30-plus years, he’s performed in shows like Country Tonite, The Lowe Family, Ferlin Huskey, Ray Stevens, Splinter Middleton and many more. Throughout his time in Branson, Gene has been named Branson’s Steel Guitar Player of the Year, as well as Branson’s Instrumentalist of the Year.
While music has always been Gene’s first love, he also has a passion for business. “I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit because I had to if I was going to be a musician and still eat,” he joked. Gene eventually got a “Grand” idea and became owner, operator and creator of The Branson Guest Card, which is a better vehicle for couponing throughout Branson.
Gene has been married to his beautiful wife Amy for 27 years. Their son Mitchell just graduated from the University of Central Missouri and their daughter Marissa is in her first semester. When he isn’t busy picking and grinning or publishing The Branson Guest Card, Gene enjoys fishing and golfing.
Birthday: April 10
Favorite Color: Green
Favorite Food: Oyster Stew
Favorite Entertainers: Hal Rugg, Curly Chalker, Ricky Blackmore
Favorite Song: The Grand Bounce
Favorite TV Show: Shark Tank