Larry Brantley

Larry’s musical interests stem from his upbringing in a household where everyone, all nine children, and his mother, had musical abilities.

There was always a piano, guitars, drums, and various other instruments around the house. His mother served as organist at the local church. He remembers band practices by various groups that included his brothers and their friends, from the time he was four or five years old. They were playing some of the music that he still enjoys playing today. Although then, those songs were top 40 and in the regular rotation on mainstream radio. He remembers his brothers bringing home new releases of many of the records and albums that make up much of what is considered classic rock today. Larry’s brother Mike, would later go on to become a bluegrass musician, playing bass, in the popular Del McCourey Band. All of this exposure to music inspired Larry to climb onto the piano bench or pick up a guitar at a very young age.

PWB opened for Lynyrd Skynyrd in Pittsburgh at  El Dorado, 1989. Larry with Billy Powell.

A few years passed, and one of his brothers brought home the albums, “Pronounced Lynyrd Skynyrd” and “One More for From the Road”, both by Lynyrd Skynyrd. Listening to those albums, Larry heard a piano style unlike any he had ever heard. This inspired him to emulate that classical/honky tonk style piano by Billy Powell. After many years of practice, he honed that style, combined with classic blues and rock, into his own style that now falls naturally under his fingers, and he’s still improving on to this day. At the same time, he began developing that Hammond organ style so prevalent in classic rock music.

As more years passed, and Larry’s friends began to gain an interest in music, he, along with them, started to put those different sounds and each one’s chosen instrument together.
Larry lived with Tim Beal. And they would go on to form The Bounty Hunters, along with Kenny Bryant (now of Moonshine Blind, with Johnny Gereny and Larry), Bob Pfister, Jeff Mengel, and Jeff Shifflett.

Along with Tim, Larry also lived with Charles Beal (Tim’s brother), and Johnny. During the earliest days of The Bounty Hunters, Larry, Johnny, Charles, and Tim, had forged a musical kinship, and would get together with talented friends, including Chuck McKinney, who would join Johnny and Charles in the first incarnation of the Poison Whiskey Band, establishing its roots.

Both bands would support each other in the early days, playing the same venues together from time to time. Even though Larry was committed to the Bounty Hunters, Johnny would invite him out to fulfill keyboard duties on some of the bigger shows. Later on, when the Bounty Hunters broke up, Larry joined Kenny, Bob and Jeff, to form the short lived, but fantastic sounding Night Crawlers.

Time went on….

Poison Whiskey was now established as a mainstay on the regional music scene. In 1989, Johnny invited Larry to play a show in Pittsburgh, PA, opening for Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Dixie Allstars. It would have been amazing, just meeting (and drinking) with all those great musicians that had inspired us in the first place, all those years before. But we also got to share the stage as well, with some of our biggest musical influences. Billy Powell even used Larry’s stage rig to play all of those classic Skynyrd songs, giving Larry’s Yamaha baby grand a whole new kind of value.

Time went on…..

Larry later joined Johnny’s brother Alex, along with Tim, Charles, Jeff, and Dave Okutman (of Poison Whiskey with Charles and Johnny), to form the Cry Wolf Band. Cry Wolf established itself as a popular local band, enjoying thirteen years of success, playing classic and southern rock to large crowds throughout Maryland and Pennsylvania. At various times Johnny would invite Larry out to join Poison Whiskey on some of the bigger shows. At one of those shows, opening for Molly Hatchet at the Thunderdome in Baltimore, Larry was asked to fill in with some keyboard work for Molly Hatchet, who’s touring keyboard player had quit the night before. He was then invited by Molly Hatchet, to play a show the following night in Norfolk, VA. This resulted in an invitation to audition in Jacksonville, FL for the job of Molly Hatchet’s touring keyboard player. But after some careful consideration, Larry decided that a 300 night tour schedule, which included Europe, would not fit into his family lifestyle at that time.

Time went on……..

In 2016, Larry joined Moonshine Blind, after Johnny’s first annual fall party, where all of the friends who have played together for all these years, get together, and play again. It was during this time, that Johnny decided to put a Poison Whiskey reunion tour together, and asked Larry to join him for those dates, as a member of Poison Whiskey.

Larry looks forward to playing the upcoming tour, which will feature the highest quality production and sound. But more importantly, just to get together once again, with some of his long standing musical soul mates, keeping the music alive, for now, and who knows?

Time goes on……