“Nobody said, ‘You need to play five-string,’ but for stadium gigs there’s nothing cooler than hitting a low B and feeling it in your core”: Kenny Chesney bassist Harmoni Kelley on why five-strings rule for modern country players

Harmoni Kelley
(Image credit: Jill Trunnell)

As a teenager, Harmoni Kelley’s vision of being a career musician was more hard rock than Music Row. Growing up in Austin, Texas, her father’s record collection included The Beatles, The Band, Little Feat and Motown — rhythm-heavy, groove-oriented tracks that immediately drew her toward the bass.

As an adolescent, her tastes moved toward Metallica and Guns N’ Roses. At 17, inspired by Duff McKagan, she began teaching herself to play. As her skills expanded, so did opportunities, and soon she was gigging professionally in Austin’s thriving scene.

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Alison Richter is a seasoned journalist who interviews musicians, producers, engineers, and other industry professionals, and covers mental health issues for GuitarWorld.com. Writing credits include a wide range of publications, including GuitarWorld.com, MusicRadar.com, Bass Player, TNAG Connoisseur, Reverb, Music Industry News, Acoustic, Drummer, Guitar.com, Gearphoria, She Shreds, Guitar Girl, and Collectible Guitar.