2nd Nature, a country/bluegrass trio based in Nashville, is comprised of three musicians who have diverse backgrounds in songwriting and performing that span more than 40 years. Don King, a fine singer and guitarist, has had success as both a major recording artist with Epic Records, and as a songwriter with hit singles by Reba McEntire and Janie Fricke. Fellow band members Brant Miller, an accomplished harmonica/mandolin player and vocalist and Dave Woodward on guitar and lead vocals, have teamed up to write several award winning bluegrass songs, one a Top 10 hit titled “As Fast As I Can Crawl” for Mark Newton. In 2007 the trio won first place in the prestigious Chris Austin Songwriting Contest at MerleFest, one of the country’s largest bluegrass festivals, where they were featured playing their award-winning original song, “The Roadkill Bill” to a crowd of over 20,000. The song has also been featured on the popular radio show, “Car Talk with Click and Clack.” 2nd Nature has performed at the world famous Ryman Auditorium, played at major conventions and county fairs throughout Tennessee, performed for the Governor and opened shows for country acts such as Blake Shelton and Craig Morgan. In 2015, 2nd Nature - 1st Adventure was awarded Vintage Country CD of the Year by the National Traditional Country Music Association. To Don, Brant and Dave, three part harmonies, along with writing and performing their songs has become “second nature.”
Brant Miller has had songs recorded by country and bluegrass artists in the U.S. and Europe, including “Somewhere Under the Rainbow,” recorded by the Danish group Cowgirls, which went Platinum in Denmark, and “Fast As I Can Crawl,” co-written with bandmate Dave Woodward, and recorded by Mark Newton, who took it to the top ten on the Bluegrass Charts. He was the writer, recording artist, and producer of a critically acclaimed collection of songs about canoeing and kayaking called "Music River - Original Whitewater Song and River Ballads,” which has songs featured on the soundtrack of the 2016 New Zealand film, “Rivering.” This CD has become a favorite among paddlers both in the U.S. and abroad. Brant, along with bandmates and co-writers Dave Woodward and Don King, won top prize at the national Chris Austin Songwriting Contest at MerleFest for their song, “The Roadkill Bill,” where they performed the song for a crowd of over 20,000. He has also been a top-three finalist five times. Brant and Dave have also been invited to perform twice at the International Bluegrass Music Association’s Songwriter’s Showcase at the organization’s annual convention.
Brant, who grew up in the small town of Croton-on-Hudson, New York, started writing songs and playing guitar and harmonica in high school. He was soon “blowing harp” with his first band, Captain Dunes and the Blue Milk. While attending the College of Forestry at Syracuse, he played guitar in another blues band, and soon was bitten by the bluegrass bug after hearing the Father of Bluegrass, Bill Monroe. Brant’s growing love of this music inspired him to write bluegrass songs, and he soon added the mandolin to his arsenal of instruments. Other important musical and songwriting influences include Bob Dylan, Little Walter, and Hank Williams.
Brant moved to Tennessee in 1982 to pursue songwriting, and was Staff Wildlife Forester with the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency from 1994 through 2014, when he retired. As a forester, he worked in tropical Honduras as a Peace Corps volunteer, and in sub-arctic Southeast Alaska with the U.S. Forest Service. He spent six years as Area Forester with the Tennessee Division of Forestry in the hills of East Tennessee, where he honed his bluegrass skills while picking and grinning with local musicians. Brant now lives in Nashville, Tennessee, with his wife, Patricia and their four cats.
Don King is no stranger to the country music industry. He recorded several albums for Epic records in the 80’s and enjoyed chart success as an artist with a half dozen top twenty nationally charted singles. During this time, he toured with his band and opened concerts for Alabama, The Oak Ridge Boys, Reba McEntire, Crystal Gayle, Loretta Lynn, Conway Twitty, Ernest Tubb and other country artists.
Don’s songwriting is what first got this Nebraska native noticed. He co-wrote Reba McEntire’s hit single, “Why Do We Want What We Know We Can’t Have,” with 2nd Nature member and long-time songwriting partner, Dave Woodward. Don also co-wrote Janie Fricke’s “You Don’t Know Love.” Both songs achieved top ten status in Billboard Magazine.
The group now known as Sawyer Brown, was originally formed as Don’s touring band in the early 80’s.
In the mid-90’s, Don began pursuing another passion, film and video production. He launched his company, Reel Image Films, and began shooting music videos and TV commercials. His award-winning free-lance work with the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency led to a full time position as Chief of Information and Education.
He and his dad, Don King Sr., currently own and operate The Cypress Room studio in Nashville, where the “First Adventure” project was recorded.
Don lives in Tennessee’s Williamson County, with his wife, Peggy and daughter, Katie.
Dave Woodward, a native of Knoxville, Tennessee, graduated from the University of Tennessee in 1972 with a degree in Forestry. He began writing songs while in college and honed the craft after moving to Nashville in 1973 to go to work for the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency. Dave retired from the agency in 2006 after 33 years of service and now pursues his musical and other creative interests full time.
It wasn’t long after moving to town that he hooked up with newcomer Don King to write a series of chart breaking songs recorded by Don and a variety of other artists. In 1983 while Don was touring and recording on the Epic label, he and Dave co-wrote “Why Do We Want”, a hit for Reba McEntire. They have forged a musical partnership that now spans four decades.
Brant Miller, the final third of 2nd Nature, has also proved to be an inspirational songwriting partner. Together he and Dave have penned a number of country and bluegrass songs, among them a top ten bluegrass hit, “Fast As I Can Crawl”, for Mark Newton and another, “Axe To Grind” which was recorded by bluegrass veteran Cliff Waldron and which also earned them an invitation to play at Merlefest, the Woodstock of the nation’s bluegrass festivals.
Dave’s introduction to the stage actually began with 2nd Nature when the group formed in 1999. Always behind the scenes as a writer, he enjoys the opportunity to perform to a live audience and experience the energy and feedback that it provides.
Dave lists his musical influences as his Uncle Don MacLeay, an accomplished steel guitar player in New Hampshire and original member of Woody and the Ramblers, arguably the hottest country dance band in the Connecticut River Valley in the 1950’s. Other musical figures making an impact were Jerry Lee Lewis, especially his early country records, Hank Williams and Merle Haggard.
Dave lives happily in Nashville with his wife, Donna.