Mercer & Johnson + The Busted String Band

Mercer & Johnson

Mercer and Johnson are Brock Johnson and s.mercer. The duo put their first recordings online for free in June of 2010. They immediately took off to find places that would let them play, as often as possible. Logging thousands of downloads and well over 100,000 miles, the pair has continued to record and tour.

The band has shared stages with, or opened for established acts and up and comers like... Billy Joe Shaver, Hayes Carll, Sara Watkins, the Turnpike Troubadors, Robbie Fulks, Mike McClure, Mountain Sprout, J.P. Harris and the Tough Choices and the Ben Miller Band. They quickly found out nobody in the business cares who you’ve opened for.

The band uses a mix of traditional string-band instrumentation on their recordings, to craft songs that vary in origin from traditional style ballads and up tempo numbers, to songs influenced by singer-songwriters and modern indie rock.

Live, the two feature mostly mandolin and bass in a stomping shouting manner that people find enjoyable, yet puzzling. The puzzle is the mandolin, which they often mistake for a wide variety of other instruments.

The two have released several recordings, an out of print cd e.p. called “Oregano", the digital-only release “Road Noise" and an initial release available only on this website, that was untitled.

In the summer of 2012, they made the short hop to Independence, Mo and in less than 48 hours recorded 10 songs with Johnny Kenepaske of Adam Lee and the Dead Horse Sound Company. The self- titled recording was released in January of 2013.

In early November of 2013 Mercer and Johnson went to Lafayette LA and did 4 songs in a private top secret location, to be
released in early 2014. They continue to tour as often as possible.

The Busted String Band

Purveyors of fine handcrafted footstompin' Missouri musical gumbo. Mark Twain would have endorsed this band had he lived to hear them. (probably)

A hodgepodge assembly of musicians that came together at Truman State University circa March of 2011 and named as such for their attempts to incorporate string band ideas into not so string band arranging, their collective financial status (or lack thereof) and the inordinately high number of strings broken by lead singer Matt Kennedy. The Busted String Band has been described as putting on high energy, versatile and footstompingly raucous performances by critics and people they know. Since their birth in Kirksville, the BSB (no...not Backstreet Boys....) has shared the stage with a variety of acts including Iron & Wine, Jason Boland & the Stragglers, Brandon Jenkins, Matt Stell & the Crashers, The Damn Quails, Brett Eldredge, No Justice, Cashman, Mercer & Johnson as well as a lengthy roster of top notch North and Central Missouri bands including Billy McDow & the Bootleggers, Johnny H & the O Town Tuffs, Dandelion's Roar, Schuyler Prenger & the Dirt Road Junkies and many more

AJ Gaither

Everything is better when it’s home-made. And it don’t get more down home or DIY than AJ Gaither. From the building of the instruments to the writing of the songs and making of the albums, everything about this “one man junk band” is lo-tech and hands on.

The sound is cold lonely bars and old empty barns, highways and heartaches. From raging high octane foot stompin’ brag songs to slow and soulful songs about struggle and being homesick, every bit of it is drenched in whiskey and hard living.

The instruments are old cigar boxes and scrap lumber, spare bolts and wood screws. Each is one unique in tone and appearance. A large feed bucket and a wooden mallet provide the kick drum, accompanied by a junk snare drum rigged to be played by foot. All built by the same hands that play them.

Often referred to by his peers as “the hardest working musician in Kansas City”, you will be hard pressed to find any solo musical performer that plays as many shows a year and exudes so much energy on stage night after night. The love for his craft is blatantly apparent.

Born in southern Arkansas AJ spent his early childhood in a rural community known as Locust Bayou. After growing up while moving around northern Arkansas and Memphis, at age 18 (to avoid arrest in the previously mentioned states) he found himself living in Kansas City KS. After 13 years of knuckle busting on old cars to make a dollar he formed the hillbilly two piece The Fall Down Drunks, who after releasing one album, “13 Shots”, and a brief amount of touring disbanded in the end of 2011.
In an effort to bring as much energy, sound and originality as he could while performing solo, he chose the path of a DIY multi-instrumentalist. Marking this transition was the release of his first solo album “Half-Lit & Whole Hearted” in 2012. He currently travels back roads and haunts biker bars, honky-tonks and dives of the South and Midwest, or anyplace with a good supply of whiskey and folks to lend an ear.

Look for the brand new album “Home Made” to be released Spring of 2013.



MINORS: Please be prepared to pay a $2 surcharge at the door in addition to the purchase price of the ticket.

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Upcoming Events
Rose Music Hall


Mercer & Johnson + The Busted String Band with AJ Gaither

Sunday, July 28 · Doors 7:00 PM / Show 8:00 PM at Rose Music Hall