Left Photo: Standing - L to R: Jack Daniels (guitar) and Curtis Stone (bass/vocals). Sitting - L to R: Paulette Carlson (original 101 lead girl singer) and Cliffie. This photo was taken at a recording studio in Nashville and Cactus Moser (vocal/drums) had not arrived yet. Right Photo: Cliffie and Curtis discussing a musical arrangement at Jerry Fuller’s “Footprint Sound Studios” during Curtis’ free time from his Highway 101 tours. Edited excerpts from Cliffie’s music books: “Because of my diversified music career, all of my children (Linda, Steve, Curtis and Jonathan) were exposed to country, western, hillbilly, bluegrass and pop music during their formative years. Curtis was a naturally gifted musician and he truly loves performing on stage with a band. As a teenager, he started out playing the guitar, writing songs and singing in a folk trio called the ‘Folk Swingers.’ Then he seriously started to learn and play the bass. Even though I told him he could work until he was sixty if he went into the country field, he chose the rock ‘n’ roll genre. So I turned him loose in the universe because everyone has to chart their own course in life. He became a member of several rock ‘n’ roll groups - one was called the ‘Lounge Lizards.’ Then Curtis saw the light of day and he changed course and began working with local musicians in local country bands. Among these musicians was John Hobbs (who is now one of the most sought after studio recording keyboard/piano players in Nashville). Another was Billy Joe Walker, Jr. (one of the most gifted guitar players I’ve ever met who is also on the musicians’ A team in Nashville). I practically adopted these two guys because they were always over at my Rolling Stone Ranch rehearsing and hanging out with Curtis. They were so much fun and I used all of them on numerous album projects. Each of them struggled for years, and to see their individual successes and dreams come true makes me so proud! During the urban cowboy era, Curtis met Jack Daniels, another unique guitar player. They immediately hit it off and started playing in bands together around town. In this time frame (for three consecutive summers), I had my ‘Showdown U.S.A.’ shows at a fun-filled, family-oriented venue called Alpine Village in Torrance, CA. I hired Curtis to be the band leader of my house band and he hired many of his buddies to play in the band. Because of their previous leanings toward rock ‘n’ roll, I suggested to Curtis that they call themselves the ‘Electric Cowboy Band.’ One of the guitar players and singers who appeared on my show with Curtis’ band from time to time was Vince Gill (who got a record deal with MCA about six years later and he became a major star). Later, Curtis and Jack hooked up with a drummer by the name of Cactus Moser, who hailed from Denver, CO. He, like Curtis and Jack, also worked with many rock ‘n’ roll and country bands. A very special bond and friendship formed between the three guys, which held them together through some pretty lean years while they honed their rhythm section. They played for scale (and sometimes less) in many small clubs and honky-tonks all over Southern California just to stay together as a unit. Sometimes it was barely enough to keep food on the tables for their respective families. One day Curtis got a call from Cactus, who had just spoken on the phone with a friend of his from Denver, Chuck Morris.” (Note: Chuck was and continues to be a dynamic positive force in the Colorado music community. He started Chuck Morris Management in 1986, and, at that point in time, his clients included the California-based band called the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band.) “Cactus told Curtis that Chuck was looking for several musicians to form a country band and work with a country lead singer, Paulette Carlson, who once had a record deal with RCA Records. It took foresight and guts for Chuck to put a country girl singer with basically a rock ‘n’ roll band. So Chuck got the four of them together to rehearse a few tunes. Curtis, Jack, Cactus and Paulette clicked from the get-go. After Chuck saw and heard the musical chemistry between them, he fronted the money and had them record at Amigo Studios in Los Angeles. Then Chuck shopped their product in Nashville and he got them a record deal with Warner Bros. Paul Worley, one of country music’s most talented ACM award winning producers , whose track record includes Gary Morris, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Desert Rose Band, Collin Raye and the Dixie Chicks) was the main producer of Highway 101’s hit albums on Warner Bros. With Curtis on bass, Cactus on drums and Jack on guitar, they became the driving force and very foundation of Highway 101’s great rhythm sound. Jack is probably one of the most dangerous guitar pickers in Nashville in that he plays such original guitar licks; I’ve watched Cactus doing his thing and I think he’s one of the most high-energy percussionists ever to work on a stage; Curtis is not only a great bassist, he also has tremendous charisma, which is displayed every time he steps on a stage. Magic happened when Curtis, Cactus, Jack and Paulette combined their individual talents. You see, these three guys were always sidemen who backed up singers. But with the birth of Highway 101, all three of them took center stage with Paulette. Not only did they have a great rhythm section, their individual charismatic personalities and vocal harmonies became an integral part of the act with the lead singer, Paulette. You couldn’t have one without the other for all the parts equaled the whole. The rest is country music history."