Rockin' Acoustic Circus

Rockin' Acoustic Circus


Turning heads with astounding talent & musicianship beyond their years, this regional favorite is quickly morphing into a group with nationally recognized aspirations. With acoustical fused music influenced by bluegrass, to jazz & even rock-n-roll, makes them an incredible listening experience!


Throughout the 60 plus year history of bluegrass music, several young people started breaking musical molds at an early age –Ricky Skaggs, Sam Bush, and Chris Thile to name just a few. It appears the Rockin’ Acoustic Circus is one such group pushing these musical boundaries in their youth. Turning heads with an overflowing talent pool and musicianship beyond their years, this six-piece ensemble comprised of five teens and one musical veteran are wowing crowds and critics alike. Quickly morphing from a well-received regional favorite into a group with nationally recognized aspirations, they’ve already blown away folks at award winning music festivals and shared the stage with well-known artists like Sam Bush, John Cowan, Darol Anger and Byron Berline. Next on the horizon appears to be one small step for bluegrass, but one giant leap for RAC.
“This band is open to all styles of music and they are hardworking,” says veteran musician, Rick Morton, guitarist and leader of the Rockin’ Acoustic Circus. Morton once made a career out of fighting four-alarm fires, but now, as “ringmaster” of RAC, is fanning the flames of one of Oklahoma’s hottest up-and-coming bands. “We really don’t talk much about where it all might lead. If we play on a level that’s consistent, exciting and fun, then where we play and when we play and how far we’ll go will take care of itself.”
Morton’s an outstanding instrumentalist - playing fiddle, guitar and mandolin, has already had quite a musical career. He won a national talent contest with Ronnie Dunn just before Dunn hit the big time with partner Kix Brooks. He’s also worked with such artists as Ricky Skaggs, George Strait, and Kathy Mattea. In 1994, he recorded and played fiddle with The Tractors on their debut album, which was Grammy-nominated and sold more than three million copies.
The rest of this young band members may not have had the years of experience as Morton, but all have spent a good portion of their young lives playing music. Defining the groove with his “Dawg-inspired” mandolin chops, Sterling Abernathy, is an accomplished player with a couple of contest championships under his belt and Iron Chef of the eight-string. He makes older mandolin players so jealous their F-styles turn green. Eric Dysart’s impressive list of fiddling achievements includes being a finalist in the Nashville-based Grand Masters Fiddle Championship. His fiddle playing is virtuosic with his left hand as smooth and unyielding as his bow hand. Voted “best hair in the band,” and playing banjo for only a few years, Carson Clemishire has licks to spare and banjo rolls to be reckoned with, plus, he’s already earned a first place contest finish. Emma Hardin, “bluegrass cellist” for RAC is not only an accomplished young classical cellist, but is breaking ground by innovatively chartering a journey into new musical territory with the “bluegrass cello.” Watching Emma’s brother, Zac Hardin (also classically trained) play bass, is like watching a man wrestle a bear, but kidding aside, that bear is not going to win. Young Zac can really plunk the stain off that bull-fiddle and rounds out the group as if the bases were loaded and Hank Aaron was up to bat.
The Circus caught the attention of Oklahoma bluegrass legend, Bryon Berline, a three-time national fiddle champion and director of the Oklahoma International Bluegrass Festival. Berline says the thing that impresses him the most about RAC is they strive for originality, bringing their own distinctive style to bluegrass standards. “They step out and do traditional music their own way,” he says. “They’re not copycats and you see copycats all the time in bluegrass. They bring their own style and feel to the music.”
Now, these powerhouse teens – along with their musical mentor – have merged into one impressive band. As they continue putting a unique mark on their music and writing more originals to add to their already impressive repertoire, listening to their acoustical fused music influenced by bluegrass, jazz, classical, swing, blues and even some rock-n-roll, make them an incredible listening experience.

John Wooley, author of “From the Blue Devils to Red Dirt: The Colors of Oklahoma Music,”
Bob Xang, contributing writer for “The Current” magazine and Scott Wigton, writer for “Oklahoma Today.”


Filly and a Pack of Mules

Written By: The Late-Ron Wiggins

~Ron Wiggins wrote this song for the Circus about the Circus. It is a great tune about who we are and where we're from. Ron lost his battle with cancer and passed away in May of 2008. He will be missed.

Out on the wide, wide prarie, dancin' while the moon is full,
We're kickin' up our heels in the cool night air, a filly and a pack of mules.
We like to run together, we're livin' by a common rule; we stay close when the storm clouds gather, a filly and a pack of mules.

Chorus: Way down by the Grand River, to out where the crude oil pools, don't think we've been on the farm too long, believe me we're nobody fools.

This filly she's feelin' pretty and we mules are just naturally cool, we're taking this CIRCUS to the big bright city, this filly and a pack of mules.


The Tracker

Written By: Rick Morton

The wind beneath the Texas stars, strumming chords on my guitar
If I don't see my love, I think I'll cry.
Rollin' smoke, foldin' maps, looking for my baby's tracks
If I don't find him soon, I think I'll die.

Following the trail of tears, it's telling me that he still cares
but the trail dried up a hundred miles ago. Texas moon shining bright, please tell me where he sleeps tonight tell the wind to rush me to his door.

The morning breaks, the rooster crows, I roll my bed and shake my clothes, I'm headed to a place they call LA. He told me once that he could go, he'd love to see the ocean roll - I'll bet you that he's headed out that way.

Ooh, cold coyote sneakin' cross the road.
Ooh, did you lose your darlin' too?
Ooh, this old coyote's out tonight,
so downhearted, howlin' at the moon.

Oh, Lord, give me the strength to pray and help me find the words to say, to tell him I can't make it on my own.
And if he listens patiently, you think that I might make him see -
He's all I've ever needed, he's my own.


To date- two recorded CDs: The 1st-"Stay Tuned" -recorded in 2006,; band ranged in age from 11-14 years; includes traditional bluegrass and vocals.

The 2nd-"Tribute" - recorded early 2008; includes an assorted acoustic blend of original music and uniquely arranged cover songs/instrumentals.

3rd CD-anticipated release - fall 2009 to include original work w/an emphasis on unique vocal and instrumentally driven arrangements.

Set List

An RAC music set is generally 50-60 minutes in length, but is dependent upon venue schedule and contract stipulations. Set typically includes 13-17 songs with a mix of original music and originally arranged music of both vocals and instrumentals with a strong emphasis on instrumental solos. The following is a sample song set listing one might expect to hear in an RAC music set: (Set is adjusted according to venue environment & audience.)

Wolf Tone (original instrumental)
Sittin' on Top of the World
Love for an Angel
The Tracker (orignal vocal)
Dancin' with the Angels
Opus 38
Doin' My Time
White Freightliner Blues
Good Woman's Love
Shillelagh-(original instrumental)
Last Train to Clarksville
One Way Track
Cracker Jack
Norwegian Wood
Filly and a Pack of Mules (original vocal)
Swing 51
Come Into My Kitchen
Green River
How Many Times
Bethany (original instrumental)
When You Love (original vocal)
Norwegian Wood
Bringin' in the Georgia Mail
Old Age