Authentic Unlimited Band
IBMA Award-Winning Bluegrass Band
"This energetic band is on the cutting edge of
bluegrass music and will leave their audiences
wanting more!" Milton Harkey, Bluegrass
"The key to longevity for a band is creating a
distinctive sound of music. Authentic Unlimited
is doing just that and with the wealth of talent
among these five men, they are destined for a
bright future!" Doyle Lawson
2023 winners of two International Bluegrass Music Awards (Vocal Group of the Year and New Artist of the Year), the Authentic Unlimited Band brings a powerful and energetic approach to bluegrass music and gives a genuine East Tennessee feel to this musical genre.
Jerry Cole, Eli Johnston and Stephen Burwell were members of Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver until Lawson announced his retirement. With Lawson’s blessing and guidance, the three decided to pick up the torch and carry it forward.
Meet the Band
John Meador, from East Tennessee, plays guitar and is one of the lead and harmony vocalists. John says he began singing before he was walking. His father began teaching him to play the guitar when he was 12 years old. John joined his first band (Kentucky Just Us) at the age of 14, along with his younger brother. When he was 16, he was offered a scholarship in music that he completed while he was still in high school. John is married to wife Grace and they have a daughter, Bethany.
Jerry was born in 1974 and raised in Sharps Chapel, Tennessee. He has been around music his entire life. At the age of 6, his father taught him to play guitar. Jerry Lee sang with The Betterway Quartet for nearly 30 years. During Jerry Lee's practice sessions at home, young Jerry learned to sing lead and harmony. He began touring with Cody Shuler and Pine Mountain Railroad, recording two albums with the band. He later joined Russell Moore and IIIrd Tyme Out where he stayed for 3 years. In December 2018, Jerry joined Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver where he stayed until Lawson's retirement in December, 2021.
Eli was born near Branson, Missouri and was raised in southeastern Kansas after his father had taken a job at the hospital there as a surgical nurse. Eli's grandfather, Joe Riker, bought his first guitar when he was 11. Seeing that his son had a love of music, David would drive Eli all over the country, attending festivals. Eli joined his first band, 'Nothin' Fancy' while he was in high school. Later, he became a member of Pine Mountain Railroad. In 2013, Eli joined Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver. During his time there, two of Eli's songs were recorded by the band. Eli is married to wife Keasley and they have two children, 3-year-old Huxley and a newborn named Boone.
Jesse hails from Kentucky and grew up in a musically inclined family and began singing at the age of 7. At 8, he learned to play the fiddle but soon decided that he was better suited for the mandolin. His first experience as a band member was with his family. Since then, he has performed with some of the top acts in the industry. His efforts were recognized in 2009 and again in 2015 as he was awarded IBMA Mandolin Player of The Year. Jesse is married to wife Kristine.
Stephen, from Lake Jackson, Texas, learned to play fiddle when he was 8. In 2014, he moved to North Carolina where he auditioned for Doyle Lawson only a few days after the move. He was made part of Quicksilver on October 1, 2014. He describes Lawson as "the best boss ever" and contributes much of his dedication to the craft to the years spent in Quicksilver. Stephen is also a recording engineer and has a studio located at his home. Stephen is newlywed, married to wife Haley in September 2021.