Piece of Cake
Audey Ratliff- Biography Audey Ratliff's first musical memory is of being carried backstage on his father's shoulders to meet Uncle Josh Graves at a Flatt & Scruggs concert in the early 1960's. Born in Portsmouth, Virginia on August 2, 1957 and raised as a government brat, Ratliff spent his youth living in many varied locales from Alaska to the Panama Canal Zone. His father Tom Ratliff, a talented dobro player, worked for the Federal Aviation Administration. The family moved around quite a bit during Audey's formative years before finally settling down for good in the musically rich region of East Tennessee in 1970. Ratliff first played guitar in local bands, then picked up acoustic bass before finally settling on the mandolin as his instrument of choice. In the 1970's he was a founding member of the Kingsport, Tennessee based bluegrass group The Boys In The Band, which at various times also included such renown musicians as Tim Stafford, Barry Bales and Adam Steffey. Ratliff holds the distinction of being the first person to give mandolin lessons to Adam Steffey, who has been named IBMA Mandolin Player Of The Year five times. For a summer in the early 1980's Ratliff was the bass player for Whetstone Run, a well known band from Pennsylvania. During this time he recorded an album with that group titled Time Sure Flies. Other session work includes recordings by The Larkins, The Ball Sisters, Tennessee Skyline and guitarist James Alan Shelton's 2002 Song For Greta album on Rebel Records. Ratliff's latest recording is his first ever solo release A Piece Of Cake on his own Dream Team Records. The project was produced by James Alan Shelton. Being left handed, Ratliff always had to have a custom instrument built and that experience led to his interest in lutherie. From his first homebuilt instruments in 1982, he has built Ratliff Mandolins into a world renown mandolin business with sales not only in the United States but in Europe, Africa and South America as well. His one man shop is located in a former garage building in Church Hill, Tennessee, the town where he now resides. Some of his clients include Jimmy Gaudreau, Norman Wright, Adam Steffey, Shawn Lane, Tammy Rogers, Billy Panda, Stephen Cagle, Emory Lester, Jennifer McClain and Dino DiGiacomo. With a mandolin style that is traditional yet creative, Ratliff strives to play with an ear to the melody and a desire to compliment the song as tastefully as possible. In addition, his unique vocal phrasing gives him a singing style that is all his own. His performing instruments are a Ratliff R-5 mandolin and a mid seventies D-28 Martin guitar. For the past thirty five years, Audey Ratliff has been professionally involved in music as a performer, teacher, studio musician and luthier. He currently divides his time between building mandolins and performing with three regional groups: Tennessee Skyline, Savannah Vaughn & Fall Creek and The Laurel Duo.