The story of The Applebutter Express begins in 2004 when Kyle Biss met his future wife Shannon while working at a record store in Bradenton, Florida. Still a focused bass player, it wasn’t until 2010 that Kyle picked up a ukulele and began to write songs with the idea of singing with his then girlfriend for fun on the couch. Pretty soon the duo began making a name for themselves among the open mic community, and soon after, the entire city of Tampa as The Applebutter Express. Kyle and Shannon married in 2011, and in 2012 added Joe Trivette (fiddle) and Matt DeSear (bass) to the band. Since then, The Applebutter Express has performed at such festivals as The Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival, Hulaween, Suwannee Springfest, and many others. As of 2014, The Applebutter Express has released two full length albums and a third is in production. Their song, “Hey My Brotha” from the band’s sophomore album “One for the Home Team,” is set to be featured in Ron Howard’s film “The Good Lie” starring Reese Witherspoon in October of 2014.
Shannon Biss is a 26 year old Florida native who fronts Tampa band The Applebutter Express. Her vocal harmonies are paired together with her husband, Kyle Biss and his ukulele. She sang in middle and high school choir, and grew up in a musical family but didn’t start performing with a band until many years later. In 2007, She graduated from Johnson and Wales University with a degree in baking and pastry arts, but decided to pursue music instead. After about a year of performing with their former band, she and her husband, Kyle Biss, split off to form a duo, just ukulele and vocals, soon dubbing themselves The Applebutter Express. Now a 4-piece outfit, Shannon and the boys continue to spread their unique brand of feel good music across the country and soon the world.
Kyle Biss was born in 1986 and grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. At the age of 9, Kyle began playing drums and soon formed his first band in the 7th grade. After realizing the lack of string players in the area (and abundance of drummers) Kyle began exploring stringed instruments and soon the bass guitar became his instrument of choice. It was not until Kyle was 24 years old that he discovered the ukulele. The ukulele is traditionally a Hawaiian and Portugese instrument, but having learned to play the uke on his own, Kyle’s interpretation is anything but traditional. This is how he and his wife came to form The Applebutter Express. Their unique blend of bluegrass, funk, and classic rock teamed with the vocal harmonies created between him and his wife have made the act difficult to catogorize as anything but “delightfully unique.”
Joe Trivette, or Joecephus, as he was dubbed after a tour stop at Nashville’s Country Music Hall of Fame, is the 27 year old fiddle player for The Applebutter Express. He began playing the fiddle at the age of 11, and participated in All County Orchestra and played for the Brevard Symphony Youth Orchestra in Melbourne, Florida. He won the Musician’s Magazine Achievement Award and the National School Orchestra Award, and now is a private instructor in his spare time. He also works as a luthier under Ken Bailey in Plant City, Florida. He met Kyle and Shannon at a party while they were recording their debut album, and the next day was in the studio with them recording fiddle tracks.
Matt DeSear, of Bradenton Florida, began playing upright bass at age 12. Unimpressed, he switched to electric bass and played in various bands. Heavily influenced by Green Day, Weezer, Rancid, Steely Dan , Motown, The Rolling Stones, and NOFX. Matt eventually gave his upright bass another chance and fell in love. In 2008, Matt became a student at Florida State University. He studied jazz and music production. Before leaving Bradenton, Matt met Kyle and Shannon at a party through a mutual friend (who later became his wife). Upon graduating with a degree in commercial music, Kyle asked Matt to come play on an album he was recording. Matt now runs that studio, Audio Images, and was eventually asked to join The Applebutter Express. Matt brings his knowledge of jazz, pop, and music theory to add to the ukulele funk/Americana sound that is Applebutter. His family owns property on the Myakka River is a popular spot for the band to rehearse at and blow things up as captured by the song, “Handguns and Hammocks”.