Meet The Band Members:

Darlene Nelson-Band Leader, Vocals; acoustic rhythm guitar and fiddle. Darlene began singing at the age of five! She performed music all through her childhood and onto high school where she landed the lead role as Laurie Williams in the musical Oklahoma.

During college, Darlene auditioned for a singing spot in the popular Western Wisconsin band “Stampede”. She won the audition singing “Country Roads”. She remained with Stampede from 1983-1985. While she was a member of Stampede she met her future husband, Kenny Nelson. They were married in June of 1987. Together they formed their own band “Showdown”along with Darlene's dad, Pat Krings. This very successful band remained together from 1987-2000. Other significant members include: Jeff Doyone-drums; Ray Shoemaker-bass guitar and Steve Schmidt-vocals and bass guitar.

In the 90's, Kenny recorded demos of Darlene and then pitched them to various music industry people in Nashville. One of those persons was David McCormick of the Ernest Tubb Record Shop Midnite Jamboree radio show broadcast on 650WSM Nashville. Darlene went on to appear on several Midnite Jamboree shows through the years, sharing the stage with many stars of the Grand Ole Opry. 

Another demo was mailed to the producer of “Be A Star” a nationwide talent show that was part of TNN (The Nashville Network). Darlene appeared on “Be A Star” and won her weekly  show , thus advancing on. Following her appearance on “Be A Star” she recorded an entire (10) song album at Hilltop Studios in Madison, Tennessee with steel guitar ace and former band leader for Grand Ole Opry star Whispern' Bill Anderson-Mike Johnson performing on and producing the project. This album is still a popular item at Darlene's shows!

Darlene appeared on the Shotgun Red Variety Show at the Texas Troubadour Theater in Nashville (broadcast nationally on the RFDTV Network). She has performed at countless music venues throughout Nashville, such as: The Nashville Palace; Tootsie's Orchid Lounge; The Famous Saloon; The Opryland Hotel, The Nashville Nightlife Dinner Theater and many more.

Darlene's talent also brought her to stages in Branson, Missouri!

Today, Darlene Fronts her band-Darlene And The Boys performing all across Minnesota, Wisconsin; Upper Peninsula Michigan, for fairs, summer concerts, casinos, private parties and more! Winters take the band to the Rio Grande Valley of Texas with numerous shows all around the area!

You can also catch Darlene And The Boys on the Midwest Country Show broadcast nationally on the RFDTV Network. Their music can also be heard on KCHK radio, New Prague, Minnesota and other radio listings.

Darlene enjoys going to church, reading the Bible, outdoor activities, and performing in Senior Communities with her husband Kenny. They reside in Cottage Grove, Minnesota with a winter home in Mission, Texas.

Kenny Nelson-Lead guitar (acoustic & electric), live sound & recording engineer

Kenny began playing guitar at the age of nine. His parents bought him his first guitar, a Sears Silvertone Danelectro-amp/case combination from the Sears store on Rice Street in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Kenny had a wonderful guitar instructor for about 1,5 years,  named Larry Thorne, who came to the Nelson home.

Some of the first songs that Kenny learned was: Folsom Prison Blues, I walk The Line; The Wildwood Flower and Guitar Boogie-between the ages of nine and ten! During this time he would bring his guitar to Grove Elementary school to perform for the staff and students.

Fast forward to 1981, Kenny got a big break when he auditioned for Larry Schorn a very popular classic country singer/entertainer from River Falls, Wisconsin. Kenny became the lead guitar player for Larry Schorn And The Schorn Side Of Country band from 1981 until Larry's passing in 1986. 

in 1987, Kenny and Darlene were married and the band “Showdown” was formed.  (1986-2000).

In 2005, Kenny met and performed in concert with one of his all time guitar pickin' heroes-Bob Wootton (Johnny Cash's lead player for thirty years.) This took place at the Turner Hall in New Ulm, Minnesota. Kenny and Bob hit it off immediately and remained friends up to Bob's passing in 2017.

Today, Kenny picks lead guitar for Darlene And The Boys band and as Darlene & Kenny “The Nelsons” performing for numerous Senior Communities across Minnesota, Western Wisconsin and performing  as they travel to their winter home in Mission, Texas where they join up with other members of Darlene And The Boys band for many dates!

Kenny also enjoys attending church, studying the Bible; recording sessions in his home studio, drawing; photography, and partaking in music jams at Creekside Community Center in Bloomington, Minnesota and also at Bobtown Bar & Grill-Roberts, Wisconsin “MOM” (Monday Open Mic). Pickin' with his buds wherever the music takes him! “On The Road Again”….

Jim Hanson-Keyboards, Bass, Vocals

Jim is an incredible talent! He received his BA in Music Education from Washington State University and taught vocal and instrumental music in public schools for several years. While teaching, he performed with dance bands and nightclub groups eventually becoming a full-time working musician performing in many genres of music including Rock & Roll, Blues and Classic Country.

His first public performance, at the age of 7, was playing accompaniment on the piano while his grandfather and friends performed Scandinavian dance tunes on their fiddles. Through his teens, Jim studied classical piano and played bass, guitar and keyboards with friends in local Rock & Roll bands.

Jim is a huge asset contributing his music talents to Darlene And The Boys band! His incredible gift with music arrangements, piano fills and solos and vocals (both lead and harmony) add another dimension to the sound of Darlene And The Boys.

Jim resides with his lovely wife, Lynn in Brainerd, Minnesota and winters in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas.




Mike Peterson-Drums & Vocals

Mike is a veteran of the music scene. He has performed with numerous top bands around many areas of Minnesota , Wisconsin including Nashville North and Alan Godage and Sundown to name a few.  Mike is also in high demand throughout the Rio Grande Valley Of Texas!

The “Human Metronome” is what he's called in the Darlene And The Boys band. Consistently laying down the groove to every single song on every single performance date! Plus, Mike adds some wonderful high harmony that really compliments the bands' sound! And he always has a big smile!

Mike goes above and beyond assuring that his drum mix is the absolute best it can be. A true professional!

Mike and his lovely Wife, Donna reside in Webster, Wisconsin and they winter in South Texas,



The lovely Lynn Hanson-Front Of House Sound Engineer  extraordinaire! Lynn is totally entrusted to create a most pleasurable sound for the band and the audience. Lynn resides with her husband and band member, Jim Hanson, in Brainerd, Minnesota and they winter in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas.

The following multi talented musicians are utilized on performance dates that may require  an additional augmented sound or are used to fill in upon an absence:


Ed Schmidt- Vocals, pedal steel guitar, guitar, saxophone and accordion.

Ed is an incredible musician! He is in such high demand that Darlene And The Boys have to act quickly to secure him on certain dates!

He has backed numerous country music stars and has appeared many times on the RFD TV Network's “Midwest Country Show”.

Ed and his lovely Wife, Joanne, reside in Fox Creek, Wisconsin.


Duane Nelson-Pedal steel guitar, guitar, vocals

Duane is a monster musician! This guy has been a major part of many very successful bands around the Western Wisconsin area. His steel guitar talent took him all the way to “Music City” Nashville, Tennessee- pickin' all around Broadway and beyond!

Duane and his lovely Wife, Vicky reside in Martell, Wisconsin


Danny Roussin-Drums

Danny “Roo” is one of the first calls when Darlene And The Boys need a fill in drummer! Steady as a clock with a wonderful personality and stage presence to go with it! A very highly sough after drummer!


Don Nustad-Drums

“Dangerous” Don has performed with many top notch national performers through the years! He is truly a consummate professional who brings so much joy to every performance! Don and his lovely Wife, Corinne, reside in West Fargo, North Dakota


Roger Judeen-Drums

Roger brings so much fun and professionalism to the stage! A long time Minnesota friend of Darlene & Kenny who now resides  full time with his lovely Wife, Connie in Weslaco, Texas.


Mike Wendolek-Drums

Mike can simply play it all! From polkas to traditional country and everything in between! Plus, he adds some great vocals too! He and his lovely Wife, Susan reside in Dassel, Minnesota and winter in Mission, Texas.




Ed Schmidt at Nelson Recording Studio. Also pictured, the very talented Kevin Barnes-bass guitar and vocals.

Duane Nelson

Danny Roussin

Don Nustad-Drums

Roger Judeen

Mike Wendolek

Darlene On The Shotgun Red Variety Show Nashville