Depending on the show, Jelly Roll Mortals are some or all of (clockwise from lower left):
Scott McKnight: Acoustic and electric guitar, Vocals (The Neighbors, Naughty Pine, Kevin Johnson & the Linemen, Last Train Home)
Bill Williams: Guitar, Mandolin, Ukelele, Harmonica, Vocals (Naughty Pine, Kevin Johnson & the Linemen, Last Train Home)
Arch Alcantara: Acoustic and electric guitar, Vocals (Wes Tucker & the Skillets, Billy Coulter Band, Exit 10, Lianna)
Kentucky Jim Faris: Upright, electric, and uke bass (Charlie Chesterman & the Legendary Motorbikes, Dave Sammarco Band)
Steve Woehrle: Drums (Naughty Pine, The Neighbors)
Four decades in the making.
- Scott and Steve start playing together at Fort Hunt High School in Alexandria, VA. Two acoustics at school, Scott on electric guitar and Steve on drums at keg parties.
- Still in grade school in Pittsburgh, Arch takes up trombone for school band, but listens more to his big brother playing guitar and to his big sister playing piano. Trying to be different and struck by Steve Martin’s banjo prowess on his comedy album Let’s Get Small, he takes banjo lessons, but grows impatient after a year and starts to sneak into his brother’s room to play his guitar.
- Scott and Steve play bass and drums, respectively, in Punch Me Judy and The Neighbors.
- Arch, in high school and consumed with improving his guitar skills by copping every Van Halen lick he hears, plays lead guitar in a Top 40 cover band, about twenty years before playing 80s covers finally becomes okay to do.
- Scott and Bill play acoustic together; Bill becomes lead guitarist for Kevin Johnson & the Linemen.
- Scott, Bill, and Steve form Naughty Pine with Tony Flagg on bass, playing (mostly Scott’s) originals and some kooky covers.
- In Chicago after college, Arch brings his deft lead guitar to Monster, The Falling Wallendas, and Peatmoss, entirely missing a boat that sailed in the 90s named ‘alternative.’
- Scott takes Bill’s place in the Linemen after Bill starts Last Train Home with Eric Brace. Later, Scott briefly subs for Bill in LTH, then sticks around after Bill’s return.
- Arch starts taking sideman and session gigs, finding the variety and lack of full investment in a single project appealing. Perhaps unrelatedly, his first marriage ends.
- Arch moves to the DC area in 2002 and meets Scott in the Usenet group alt.guitar.amps (now a Google Group). For a few years, they only go to see each other play, but after Arch’s band Lianna dissolves in 2005, they decide to join forces and play some covers as an acoustic duo.
- Kentucky Jim moves from Boston to the DC area in 2006, looking for gigs through mutual friend Kevin Johnson.
- Bill, ending his tenure as a regular LTH member, releases his debut solo CD Handful in 2007. Scott and Steve contribute performances on the recording.
- Merging Scott’s songs from Naughty Pine, covers from the Scott & Arch duo, Bill’s songs from his CD, Jelly Roll Mortals forms in early 2007.