Bryan England began Custom Inlay after quitting his factory job at General Electric in 1987. By hand, he cuts inlays and adds them to banjos and other string instruments for clients including Gibson Guitars and Bluegrass musician Bobby Osborne. “I couldn’t just sit down and quit,” Bryan says of his work that keeps him moving at age 71.
The bridge pins, hand-shaped and built by Bryan inside his shop, are made of various types of ivory, including fossilized woolly mammoth from Russia and walrus from Alaska. “The custom inlay is always something different,” Wilbur says.
Photos of Bryan’s father (top left) and his mother (top right), along with Bryan and his four brothers, hang on the wall in his shop beside the instruments played by family members. In her photo, his mother is playing the guitar hanging on the wall at right.
Megan Luedke settles her daughter, Brynn, in her baby carriage as her husband, Jason, (sitting at left) chats with his brother-in-law Dylan Snyder after dinner at their grandmother Faye’s house. Faye (far left) and Bryan have one son and two granddaughters. Faye hunted the deer on the wall on their property.
From his favorite chair, Bryan chats with his granddaughter Lauren Snyder, who holds her daughter, Luca, Bryan’s great-granddaughter.
After buying a used banjo in the 1970s, Bryan fixed banjos for a friend and eventually began building guitars for Gibson Guitars, a large manufacturer. He displays photos and the stringed instruments he and his family used over the decades at this shop.
On his way to a performance, Bryan stops to chat with Carla Wynn, holding a baby carrier, on McDonald Road. Bryan and Faye as well as several other family members live along the dead end road outside Leitchfield.
Members of the McDonald Road Band, Leon Davis (from left), Myron Wedman, Bryan England, and Roger Dermitt, sing together before their performance at the Old Judicial Building during the Grayson County Bluegrass Opry on a Friday evening. “We met at (my house) every Tuesday night for 22 years and they started calling us McDonald Road,” Bryan said.
Every morning Bryan goes for a walk on his land outside Leitchfield.