With a name borrowed from a Hee Haw sketch, BR549 gained a rabid following from its nightly four-hour gigs at Robert's Western World, a bar and boot store located in the heart of Nashville's Lower Broadway area. Soon celebrities were stopping by to listen to the band's extended sets of classic and obscure country and rockabilly songs, as well as stylish original pieces. All this activity earned the band national press coverage.
In short order, BR549 -- there used to be a hyphen but not anymore -- signed with Arista Records' Nashville division and released the six-song EP Live From Robert's. BR549, the band's first studio album, won ecstatic critical praise and an opening slot on Bob Dylan's 1997 tour. They've also shared the bill with Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, George Jones and George Strait.
Despite appearances on late night network talk shows, frequent Opry appearances, a total of five albums and two record deals, the quintet failed to find a mainstream audience. In 2003, with a change in the lineup, the band opened select dates for Marty Stuart and Merle Haggard's Electric Barnyard tour. A new studio album is due in early 2004.