Some people may discover The Applebutter Express through their new song “Hey My Brotha,” which is featured in the upcoming Ron Howard film “The Good Lie” starring Reese Witherspoon (set for release in October), and a single from their sophomore project One For The Home Team, scheduled for release in September 2014.
However, the band’s story 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, Kyle picked up a ukulele in 2010 and began to write songs, with the idea of singing with Shannon (his then girlfriend) for fun on the couch. Pretty soon the duo began making a name for themselves among the open mic community; in no time, the eclectic, tuneful duo – now known as The Applebutter Express – were the talk of Tampa, Fl. 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 prestigious festivals as Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival, Hulaween, Suwannee Springfest, and many others.
Besides their upcoming One For The Home Team, Applebutter Express has released one prior full length album; the prolific foursome has a third album already in production.
Florida native Shannon Biss fronts the Tampa-based Applebutter, where her vocal harmonies are paired with that of her ukulele-playing husband, Kyle Biss. She grew up in a musical family, singing in middle and high school choirs, but didn’t start performing with a band until many years later. Despite graduating from Johnson and Wales University with a degree in baking and pastry arts, she decided to pursue music instead. After about a year of performing with their former band, she and Kyle 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.
Hailing from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Kyle Biss began playing drums at the age of 9, 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. Kyle graduated from the University of South Florida with a bachelor’s degree in communications, and around that time 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, make the act difficult to catogorize as anything but “delightfully unique.”
Joe Trivette (or “Joe-cephus”, as he was dubbed after a tour stop at Nashville’s Country Music Hall of Fame) began playing the fiddle at the age of 11. He performed with both the All County Orchestra and the Brevard Symphony Youth Orchestra in Melbourne, Florida, and he’s the recipient of the Musician’s Magazine Achievement Award and the National School Orchestra Award. Joe met Kyle and Shannon at a party while the duo was recording their debut album, and the next day was in the studio with them, recording fiddle tracks. When not on the road with Applebutter, Joe is a private fiddle instructor; he also works as a luthier under Ken Bailey in Plant City, Florida.
Matt DeSear is from Bradenton, Florida and began playing upright bass at age 12. Matt studied jazz on the electric bass in college, winning an award for Outstanding Music Student at the State College of Florida. Then, while a student at Florida State University, Matt studied jazz/pop on the upright bass, graduating with a degree in commercial music. It was while working at Audio Images, where Shannon and Kyle recorded their debut album, that Matt met the duo, and the bass player was invited to join The Applebutter Express.