Meet The Band 2017-09-12T14:19:02+00:00

Our Team

Our band members are among the best and most prestigious musicians in Cumbria with extensive experience in their field of expertise!

Andy Whitaker
Andy WhitakerLead Singer/Manager
Andy has been entertaining people with his vocal agility since 1996 in fact, that was just the start of his career! Growing up, he loved music, singing, playing and generally performing throughout his childhood.
He was a solo singer that always had a flare for performance and creating a show, started singing around the pubs and clubs of Cumbria, using agents and furthering his career. This moved on to weddings and private parties as the show progressed.
In 2002 he joined a 4 piece band and they named it Four Play, they toured around Carlisle and surrounding areas for gigs trying to make it by, Andy eventually left to continue his successful solo career.
In 2004 Andy and his old band mate David Mason got another band together, after sorting a setlist and line up out, Andy named the band and so Highly Strung was born!
His aim was to bring the entertainment and showmanship that he was successfully maintaining on solo gigs to a full band stage performance. Weddings and Corporate events were the main target audience.
He has kept the branding and momentum of the band in very high order over the years, making sure the quality of musicianship and equipment have been of the highest standard.
2017 has seen some changes in the band members including the addition of a horn section and this has enhanced the band sound no end, Jazz, Funk, Soul, you name it the brass certainly stands out! There have also purchased a brand new PA system and lighting rig this year which has improved the look and sound in every way.
“Never stand still and think you have made it, always strive for perfection” Andy says.
Alain Mayson
Alain MaysonKeyboards/Backing Vocals
Keyboard Player/Vice Captain/DMX Lighting Tech.
Over the years Alain has been the stand in bass guitar player and has also had a few years out front controlling sound and lights. “I have been playing piano and keyboards since I was a child and have been playing in public most weekends for nearly 30 years”
“The piano is often referred to as the ‘king of instruments’ and is certainly at the centre of some songs we perform as Highly Strung. However I often use the keyboard to make a range of other interesting sounds ranging from electric pianos and clavinets to strings, whistles, finger clicks and more! I also operate all the stage lighting from an iPad sat on top of one of my keyboards. Over the last few years I have enjoyed the challenge of learning how to program this and have spent many hours at home sat in front of my computer programming colour and movement patterns for the lighting”
This adds a fantastic visual to the Highly Strung ‘show’!
“My musical influences are many and varied but I love some of the funky jazz piano of such players as Bob James and Joe Sample (both sampled by hip-hop artists). I love music that makes people dance but I truly believe there’s great music in a whole range of styles.
Tom Adams
Tom AdamsSound Tech/Guitar/Backing Vocals
Sound Tech//Backing Vocalist/Guitarist and Andy’s right hand man!
“Music to me is a big deal. It’s up there with food and water as a basic human necessity – I’ve even been known to put off eating in favour of performing or recording songs. Obsessive? Probably. Passionate? Definitely. Over 35 years gigging experience in various outfits including early bands such as ‘Haze’ and ‘High Risk’, to later groups e.g. ‘Mn4’, ‘Guns 4 Hire’ and ‘Hot Flow Anomaly.’ I’ve even performed solo acoustic sets for a couple of years. If music be the food of love …
Influences include (in no particular order) – Guitar – Blackmore, Page, Schenker, Lifeson, Van Halen, Rhoads; Singing: Dio, Coverdale, Plant, Gillan; Music/Bands: Zep, Purple, Sabbath, Rush, Rainbow, It Bites, Genesis, Bonfanti, UFO, MSG
Russ Furmston
Russ Furmston Bass/Backing Vocals
Russ is very well versed in Bass guitar as well as Trombone
“I’ve playing music most of my life, starting out classically in youth bands/orchestras and moving on to Bass Guitar in my teenage years. After hearing classic rock bands like Iron Maiden, Rush and Black Sabbath I decided I really wanted to play the Bass Guitar. Over the years I’ve had the fortune of playing in many bands, shows and session gigs performing everything from Jazz to Metal all over the UK”
Lewis Ryecroft
Lewis RyecroftDrums
Lewis has a grade 8 distinction on drums and has been playing in bands all over Cumbria since the age of 14!
Some of the bands: Our Famous Dead – Ghost Hardware – 40 Hands – Sails – Brightside
Now as part of Highly Strung he has found a top class bunch of lads of the highest standard to play with and can’t be happier!
The lads all agree that Lewis “Never shuts up!”
This lad from West Cumbria has a fantastic sense of humour, although a bit rude most of the time, but keeps the lads laughing for hours!!
Danny Wood
Danny WoodGuitar
“i always wanted to play guitar since I first heard queens the works album,the only cassette tape my dad owned for nearly 10 years.ive played for over 20 years and have played in bands as soon as I was old enough to legally drink in pubs!”
Danny is the top joker in the band and spends many hours making gifs and memes with hilarious outcomes!
“I’ve become so sarcastic, I’m not sure if I’m being sarcastic anymore”
Chris Riley
Chris RileyTrombone
“I play the Trombone, and NO! YOU CANT HAVE A BLOW!!”
Alan Branstone
Alan BranstoneTrumpet
Alan started the violin aged 7, Self taught the trumpet aged 11. Became a member of the National Youth Orchestra aged 14 staying until 18 when he joined the Band of the Grenadier Guards in which he served for 24 years. Now he is an instrumental teacher and has been for the last 16 years “I’m thoroughly enjoying being part of this fantastic band, Highly Strung”
Also Alan conduct’s the Border Concert Band, plays lead trumpet with The Cliff Eland Big Band and 1st trumpet in the Carlisle City Orchestra!
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