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Hank Erwin

Hank Erwin

Hank Erwin on the Spirit Room stage – Photo by Jan A. Bruso

 

I left the Merchant Marines in 2014. As I packed my bags, I was overcome with the feeling that I wouldn’t be coming back. My brain screamed and my heart pounded. Once I hit the road, I drove with such a fury that I didn’t even realize a bad snow storm had set in and the roads were getting very slick. I was snapped out of my trance when I began to slide out of control. I regained traction and looked down to see I was going about 100mph. The roads steadily worsened but I refused to stop – I couldn’t get far enough fast enough. My breath was still heavy and I sweat uncontrollably, dripping from my nose onto the tattered remains of my Carhartts. I was making an escape. A desperate escape. 

I’d been trapped on the boat for years. Merchant Marines aren’t sworn into service for a specific amount of time, Merchant Marines are sworn (as I did at the Toledo headquarters in 2004) to obey their superior officers while on-board. The boat grew to dictate everything in my life. I had no control of my schedule whatsoever and I found out the hard way that requesting a date off even a year in advance didn’t ensure anything.

I’d worked my way up from deckhand to wheelsman. My favorite memory of wheeling the ship was late one night when the ice was so thick in Green Bay that it completely stopped our movement. The mate called the captain who appeared from his quarters and ordered me to give her a hard left, hard right, back and forth until a crack appeared in the ice. “Now follow that crack,” he said. The crack widened as the ship entered. It then turned and twisted in varying directions as we gained speed. With increasing heart rate, I maneuvered the ship through this small avenue as it developed in front of me. It was like a video game. The screen was the windows of this old wheelhouse, the picture illuminated by spotlights the size of my torso. One morning I wheeled the ship past Mackinac Island when the fog was so thick I couldn’t see the water from the where I stood at the helm.

I still have dreams about being back on board. Sometimes the ship’s driving through city highways at 60mph, jumping through the air from one ramp to another and fishtailing. One time I was unpacking and arguing with a shipmate as the ship moved down a conveyor belt in some sort of processing plant; I admitted to him that I was nervous. He said everyone was. Sometimes the dreams are just business as usual, except I’m on board and happy to be back. Sometimes I’m running around the deck, barefoot with rolled up jeans, the sunset blazing in the distance, the captain hollering at me to get back inside the forecastle – where it’s safer to travel into eternity.

But I wake up happy to be back on dry land; my guitar lying on the bed next to me, random papers of song lyrics strewn about, my grandma’s old suitcase bearing her maiden name on the floor, an old Fender amp sitting in front of boxes filled with copies of Hank Erwin – Million Miles. These boxes are the reason I left the boat.

My father and grandfather were Henry Erwin Nuelsen Jr. & Sr. Dad went by Hank, grandpa went by Erwin, or Er to those who knew him best. Er was an unusually intelligent man who spoke 12 languages. My grandma once told me that out of sheer stubborn curiosity (a personality trait I inherited), he sat down with a pencil and paper and used algebra to figure out how many times you’d have to shuffle a deck of cards to shuffle it back into order. He crossed the Atlantic to the US alone when he was 12 years old, two months after the Titanic sank. He had an office job in World War II which is where he met my grandmother, Maggie, a lifelong world traveler who worked in the Red Cross. I have a picture of her splitting wood with an axe, dated 1936. I would watch her split wood into her 80s.

Previously told she couldn’t have children, Maggie & Er were a bit surprised when my father was born almost nine months to the date following their wedding. Er was 47. Convinced Henry “Hank” Jr. would be a prodigy, they were again surprised when he dropped out of college his first semester and decided to become an auto mechanic. He worked at a dealership until I was two, then drove an 18 wheeler. Er died of cancer when I was seven. Maggie was shattered and cried constantly. Maggie died of cancer when I was 14. Mom told me that dad cried that day but I never saw it. Dad died of cancer when I was 19. I still cry.

My parents were both forced to take music lessons when they were kids and both hated it. So one of their first pacts of courtship included agreeing to never make their kids, should the have them, take music lessons. When I begged them for a guitar at age seven, after having my life changed by the video of “Cult of Personality,” they tried to talk me out of it but eventually caved and bought me a red Series 10, from a pawn shop in Covington, Kentucky.

25 years later my debut record release show in Austin was double booked when the club hired new management. They gave me another date and then refused to pay me when not enough people showed up.

I played another release show in my hometown in Kentucky in a beautiful venue that had been converted from an old church. An hour before showtime, over a foot of snow blanketed the rolling hills. Every other band on the bill cancelled. It took us an hour to get one mile to the venue, during which time I emotionally prepared myself to play to an audience of zero. I walked into a room packed full of old friends who had risked life and limb to support me and it was one of the greatest moments of my life.

I put my album up online and sent links with booking inquiries to thousands of venues around the country. I got a couple responses. It was enough, so I hit the road. I couldn’t afford to take a band, so I went solo and learned a lot about myself and what I was trying to do with music. I had some money set aside from the boat in case I got in a bind. Things went real good.

2015 saw me dumped, evicted, down 50 pounds, diagnosed with cancer, operated on, and back on tour by June. Having cancer and recovering from surgery was great. It was a distraction from the severe depression. I had more help and support than I knew what to do with, at first. Six months later, I was homeless, nearly depleted of the last of my savings from the freighter, and crippled with depression. I didn’t have the energy to book tours. I didn’t have the energy to sing. I wondered if this bout of cancer was just the tip of the iceberg and I was likely to go out like the rest of my family, at an even earlier age. I reflected on my life and came to the interesting conclusion that it felt extremely complete and in hindsight, I’d done some pretty awesome shit. At 34 I felt I’d made peace with mortality. I felt ready to die.

But then I didn’t die. I crash landed in a tiny town in the mountains of Northern Arizona where I had a couple good friends from years back. The whole town seemed to chip in to help me put my life back together. The next year would become my busiest up till then, second only to the year after that – this year.

I’m in the process of getting a new album together and plan to spend all of 2018 on tour. Keep in touch and I hope to see you soon! 

https://www.hankerwinmusic.com/

 

Sister & the Sun

Sister & the Sun flyer

Sister & the Sun – Spirit Room

 

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Emily

Vocals, Acoustic Guitar

~ Bio: Emily (vocals, guitar) grew up with wide open spaces in Big Sky Country. She landed in Sedona, AZ in 2011 after traveling the world over looking for a place that felt like home. Her musical endeavors began with singing around campfires during the early years, and later expanded to include studying at Berklee College of Music and performing live at open mikes, festivals, and venues across Northern Arizona. She draws inspiration from the red rocks, mountains, creeks, and beauty all around her.

Emily currently plays a Luna Flora Lotus Acoustic Electric Guitar

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Mynzah

Trap Set, Cajon, Bongo Cajon, Djembe, Bongos, Congas (Percussion)

~ Bio: Originally from California, Mynzah moved to Arizona in 2011 after a spiritual awakening in 2008 and within days began playing percussion after attending his first drum circle at the Oak Creek Brewery, in Sedona.  The next day he purchased his first drum and began his drumming journey. On December 11th, 2016, Mynzah was recorded professionally for the first time with the band Lucky Lenny on the track “Crazy“, for their debut album, “Going Home“, released February 10th, 2017.  Follow the link to take a listen to the track and the album.  Mynzah continues to grow as a drummer with the intention of adding a trap set to the growing percussion assembly.

~ Musical influences: Hank Williams Sr., Bob Marley, Jimi Hendrix, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, TOOL, Motley Crue, ACDC, Black Sabbath, Alice In Chains, Nine Inch Nails, Nirvana, Metallica, A Perfect Circle, Ronnie James Dio, Rhythm Keepers, Valerie Bhat and Randy Kiunke of Voodoo Julia, Stephen Herrington of Full Belly, Chris Beers of Gumbo le Funque, the Aristocats Band, AmitahbaAcoustic Star Blend, Super Funk, Lucky LennyHeartwoodAcoustic Star BlendMystic Harvest, Sugarman, Blue Moon Triothe Unofficial American Beauty, Moondog, Johnny Lingo TrioSweet Baby Ray, Lounge Dragons, Trigger T and White DovePickin in the Pines Bluegrass and Acoustic Music Festival

~ The gear that he currently utilizes are a Yamaha Custom Birch trap set,  Alex Acuna Special Edition Cajon by Gon Bops…A Bongo Cajon also by Gon BopsPearl Primero Congas and BongosREMO 12″ Djembe…Finger shaker by Meinl percussion…Foot tambourine by LP percussion…Wahun cymbal with a Meinl sizzler attachment…Vater Monster Brush’s, and Vater 5A sticks.

Combo Deluxe

combo deluxe in front of the spirt room bar in jerome az

Photo by Susan A. Johnson

A local favorite! Rock n’ roller Lllory McDonald & COMBO DELUXE. Catch Combo one weekend per month at Spirit Room for all your long time favorite tunes & some of Llory’s rockin’ originals too!

 

Llory McDonald

Musical Background –   Llory started her musical career on Clarinet at the age of 6, playing in the band until 8th grade, when her brother threw his guitar in the garbage and she rescued it.

She joined her first rock band in high school, playing guitar, slide guitar and singing at dances and proms in Phoenix. She started playing the clubs in Phoenix at age 17 and formed her own band, The Llory McDonald Band in 1979. They opened for Paul Butterfield, Deep PurpleIggy PopJerry Riopelle and others.

They were playing concerts and clubs throughout the state of Arizona until 1984, when she moved to Los Angeles. There, she was playing in her own band Odds and Ends and in Jerry Riopelle’s band as a sideman.

She signed to Arista Records in 1988. She recorded a single which appeared on the “1988 Summer Olympics” album, along with various other artist including Eric Clapton and Whitney Houston. She also sang background vocals on Lita Ford’s 1988 release “Lita” on Dreamland Records. She signed a 3-year music publishing contract (1988-1990) with Blue Rider Music, where she sang on various singles and demos.

Dropped by Arista in 1989, she left the music business for the film industry, working as a production assistant and driver on films such as “The Dark Wind” with Lou Diamond Phillips and “When a Man Loves a Women” with Meg Ryan. She moved back to Arizona in 1994 and helped form Combo Deluxe.

Musical influences – Slide guitar players, Bonnie Raitt, Lowell George, also Ry Cooder, Linda Ronstadt, John Lennon, Paul McCartney and soul music of the late 60’s and 70’s were a big influence.

Favorite Artist – Linda Ronstadt, Deborah Harry, Sheyl Crow, Shawn Colvin, Patty Griffin, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, David Bowie, Marvin Gaye. She could go on and on …

Equipment – Fender Telecaster and Stratocaster guitar, Fender Hotrod Deville 212 Amp, EV mic, Nady cordless unit, various slides.

Hobbies – Golf and pondering

Likes – Margaritas, Mexico, funky soul music, good films and N.P.R.

Darryl Icard is a bass player/singer/songwriter. He has been playing and singing professionally since 1983 in every kind of setting imaginable.  He has performed and played all types of music from rock to reggae to punk and country.  He has also been writing and recording his own music since music came into his life.

While performing and learning his craft in live situations, he also attended college for theory and performance.

Darryl has recorded and performed music with Jesse Valenzuela, Gin Blossoms, Stevie Nicks, Marshall Crenshaw, J.D. Souther, The Rembrandts, Tommy Keene, Major Lingo, Poet’s Corner, and Los Guys and many other national and Arizona based acts.

Recordings performed on, to name just a few.

Gin Blossoms- No Chocolate Cake

Stevie Nicks-Enchanted the works of Stevie Nicks

Jesse Valenzuela- Tunes Young People Will Enjoy and Hotel Defeated

Major Lingo- All through My Body

Burning Sky-Enter the Earth

Darryl Icard is living in Scottsdale Arizona, and has begun a New Journey in the band Llory McDonald and Combo Deluxe.  An Arizona based band from Jerome, Arizona and is sure to take music to a new place with one of Arizona Legendary artist.

Steve Botterweg is a native Arizonan and has been performing on drums in bands professionally since he was 13 years old.  In high school he started playing in experimental bands playing drums, marimba and synthesizers…arranging, producing and recording. One of the bands, Poet’s Corner (signed to Placebo Records) created a buzz in the early days of the punk scene with live shows in Arizona and California that had US and international radio air play.  He has performed on stage with the Red Hot Chile Peppers, Los Lobos, Derrick Trucks Band and many other performing artists.  Steve is also the co-owner of Ghost Town Recording Studio in Jerome Arizona.  He has recorded and produced many bands and artists.  He has worked in the studio with Pete Sears (Jefferson Starship, Hot Tuna), Steve Kimock (Steve Kimock Band)and a few other well known artists.  More recently he had a twenty year run as the drummer with Major Lingo, a popular Arizona highway band.  He is now playing drums with Llory McDonald, another well known and respected Arizona musician, as a member of Combo Deluxe along with a musical cohort of many years, Darryl Icard, on bass.

Combo Deluxe

combo deluxe in front of the spirt room bar in jerome az

Photo by Susan A. Johnson

A local favorite! Rock n’ roller Lllory McDonald & COMBO DELUXE. Catch Combo one weekend per month at Spirit Room for all your long time favorite tunes & some of Llory’s rockin’ originals too!

 

Llory McDonald

Musical Background –   Llory started her musical career on Clarinet at the age of 6, playing in the band until 8th grade, when her brother threw his guitar in the garbage and she rescued it.

She joined her first rock band in high school, playing guitar, slide guitar and singing at dances and proms in Phoenix. She started playing the clubs in Phoenix at age 17 and formed her own band, The Llory McDonald Band in 1979. They opened for Paul Butterfield, Deep PurpleIggy PopJerry Riopelle and others.

They were playing concerts and clubs throughout the state of Arizona until 1984, when she moved to Los Angeles. There, she was playing in her own band Odds and Ends and in Jerry Riopelle’s band as a sideman.

She signed to Arista Records in 1988. She recorded a single which appeared on the “1988 Summer Olympics” album, along with various other artist including Eric Clapton and Whitney Houston. She also sang background vocals on Lita Ford’s 1988 release “Lita” on Dreamland Records. She signed a 3-year music publishing contract (1988-1990) with Blue Rider Music, where she sang on various singles and demos.

Dropped by Arista in 1989, she left the music business for the film industry, working as a production assistant and driver on films such as “The Dark Wind” with Lou Diamond Phillips and “When a Man Loves a Women” with Meg Ryan. She moved back to Arizona in 1994 and helped form Combo Deluxe.

Musical influences – Slide guitar players, Bonnie Raitt, Lowell George, also Ry Cooder, Linda Ronstadt, John Lennon, Paul McCartney and soul music of the late 60’s and 70’s were a big influence.

Favorite Artist – Linda Ronstadt, Deborah Harry, Sheyl Crow, Shawn Colvin, Patty Griffin, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, David Bowie, Marvin Gaye. She could go on and on …

Equipment – Fender Telecaster and Stratocaster guitar, Fender Hotrod Deville 212 Amp, EV mic, Nady cordless unit, various slides.

Hobbies – Golf and pondering

Likes – Margaritas, Mexico, funky soul music, good films and N.P.R.

Darryl Icard is a bass player/singer/songwriter. He has been playing and singing professionally since 1983 in every kind of setting imaginable.  He has performed and played all types of music from rock to reggae to punk and country.  He has also been writing and recording his own music since music came into his life.

While performing and learning his craft in live situations, he also attended college for theory and performance.

Darryl has recorded and performed music with Jesse Valenzuela, Gin Blossoms, Stevie Nicks, Marshall Crenshaw, J.D. Souther, The Rembrandts, Tommy Keene, Major Lingo, Poet’s Corner, and Los Guys and many other national and Arizona based acts.

Recordings performed on, to name just a few.

Gin Blossoms- No Chocolate Cake

Stevie Nicks-Enchanted the works of Stevie Nicks

Jesse Valenzuela- Tunes Young People Will Enjoy and Hotel Defeated

Major Lingo- All through My Body

Burning Sky-Enter the Earth

Darryl Icard is living in Scottsdale Arizona, and has begun a New Journey in the band Llory McDonald and Combo Deluxe.  An Arizona based band from Jerome, Arizona and is sure to take music to a new place with one of Arizona Legendary artist.

Steve Botterweg is a native Arizonan and has been performing on drums in bands professionally since he was 13 years old.  In high school he started playing in experimental bands playing drums, marimba and synthesizers…arranging, producing and recording. One of the bands, Poet’s Corner (signed to Placebo Records) created a buzz in the early days of the punk scene with live shows in Arizona and California that had US and international radio air play.  He has performed on stage with the Red Hot Chile Peppers, Los Lobos, Derrick Trucks Band and many other performing artists.  Steve is also the co-owner of Ghost Town Recording Studio in Jerome Arizona.  He has recorded and produced many bands and artists.  He has worked in the studio with Pete Sears (Jefferson Starship, Hot Tuna), Steve Kimock (Steve Kimock Band)and a few other well known artists.  More recently he had a twenty year run as the drummer with Major Lingo, a popular Arizona highway band.  He is now playing drums with Llory McDonald, another well known and respected Arizona musician, as a member of Combo Deluxe along with a musical cohort of many years, Darryl Icard, on bass.

http://www.llorymcdonald.com/

Garrick Rawlings

garrick rawlings performsGarrick Rawlings is an Americana artist born in Wichita Kansas, raised in Sturgis, Michigan, then Kalamazoo, LaGrange, Indiana, on to Chicago, Southern California, and now Prescott, Arizona. Rawlings began as a hard rock electric guitar player emulating the high energy rock out of Detroit then fell in love with the blues in Chicago. A move out west to play some rock and roll in L.A. somehow evolved into becoming folk legend, National Medal of Honor and Grammy award winning Ramblin’ Jack Elliott’s road manager, opener and sidekick for a few years; evolving into a singer/songwriter solo artist in the process. Elliott is widely regarded as the link between Woody Guthrie and Bob Dylan. While in L.A., G.R. had the good fortune of getting to know and open shows for world-class songwriters/guitarists Dave Alvin and Rick Shea, some of the best California has to offer. A Garrick Rawlings show is best described as Neil Young & Johnny Cash meet the MC5 riding horseback through the desert chasing Woody, Ramblin’ Jack, Townes Van Zandt, Led Zeppelin, Tom Russell, John Prine, Guy Clark and a mariachi band at some obscure and magnificent raging campfire.

https://garrickrawlings.com/

Llory McDonald Hosts Open Mic

llory mcdonald performing on an outdoor stage

photo by Susan A Johnson

Llory started her musical career on Clarinet at the age of 6, playing in the band until 8th grade, when her brother threw his guitar in the garbage and she rescued it.

She joined her first rock band in high school, playing guitar, slide guitar and singing at dances and proms in Phoenix. She started playing the clubs in Phoenix at age 17 and formed her own band, The Llory McDonald Band in 1979. They opened for Paul Butterfield, Deep Purple, Iggy Pop, Jerry Riopelle and others.

They were playing concerts and clubs throughout the state of Arizona until 1984, when she moved to Los Angeles. There, she was playing in her own band Odds and Ends and in Jerry Riopelle’s band as a sideman.

She signed to Arista Records in 1988. She recorded a single which appeared on the “1988 Summer Olympics” album, along with various other artist including Eric Clapton and Whitney Houston. She also sang background vocals on Lita Ford’s 1988 release “Lita” on Dreamland Records. She signed a 3-year music publishing contract (1988-1990) with Blue Rider Music, where she sang on various singles and demos.

In 1989, she left the music business for the film industry, working as a production assistant and driver on films such as “The Dark Wind” with Lou Diamond Phillips and “When a Man Loves a Women” with Meg Ryan. She moved back to Arizona in 1994 and helped form Combo Deluxe.

Musical influences – Slide guitar players, Bonnie Raitt, Lowell George, also Ry Cooder, Linda Ronstadt, John Lennon, Paul McCartney and soul music of the late 60’s and 70’s were a big influence.>

Favorite Artist – Linda Ronstadt, Deborah Harry, Sheyl Crow, Shawn Colvin, Patty Griffin, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, David Bowie, Marvin Gaye. She could go on and on …

Equipment – Fender Telecaster and Stratocaster guitar, Fender Hotrod Deville 212 Amp, EV mic, Nady cordless unit, various slides.

Llory McDonald Hosts Open Mic

llory mcdonald performing on an outdoor stage

photo by Susan A Johnson

Llory started her musical career on Clarinet at the age of 6, playing in the band until 8th grade, when her brother threw his guitar in the garbage and she rescued it.

She joined her first rock band in high school, playing guitar, slide guitar and singing at dances and proms in Phoenix. She started playing the clubs in Phoenix at age 17 and formed her own band, The Llory McDonald Band in 1979. They opened for Paul Butterfield, Deep Purple, Iggy Pop, Jerry Riopelle and others.

They were playing concerts and clubs throughout the state of Arizona until 1984, when she moved to Los Angeles. There, she was playing in her own band Odds and Ends and in Jerry Riopelle’s band as a sideman.

She signed to Arista Records in 1988. She recorded a single which appeared on the “1988 Summer Olympics” album, along with various other artist including Eric Clapton and Whitney Houston. She also sang background vocals on Lita Ford’s 1988 release “Lita” on Dreamland Records. She signed a 3-year music publishing contract (1988-1990) with Blue Rider Music, where she sang on various singles and demos.

In 1989, she left the music business for the film industry, working as a production assistant and driver on films such as “The Dark Wind” with Lou Diamond Phillips and “When a Man Loves a Women” with Meg Ryan. She moved back to Arizona in 1994 and helped form Combo Deluxe.

Musical influences – Slide guitar players, Bonnie Raitt, Lowell George, also Ry Cooder, Linda Ronstadt, John Lennon, Paul McCartney and soul music of the late 60’s and 70’s were a big influence.

Favorite Artist – Linda Ronstadt, Deborah Harry, Sheyl Crow, Shawn Colvin, Patty Griffin, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, David Bowie, Marvin Gaye. She could go on and on …

Equipment – Fender Telecaster and Stratocaster guitar, Fender Hotrod Deville 212 Amp, EV mic, Nady cordless unit, various slides.

Carol Pacey and the Honeyshakers

carol pacey and the honeyshakers perform

photo: Ben Brunno

One of the most rocking, original music bands from Tempe, Arizona, who put their music in your face, with huge vocals, guitars and drums that will get your Honey-Shaking—Guaranteed!
Never a dull moment in the lives of this uniquely tuned group, Carol Pacey & the Honey Shakers and their Upbeat Brand of All-Original Rock & Roll can be found all over the Phoenix metro area, from coffee shops to weekend music concert venues. Lead singer/songwriter, Carol Pacey describes their success in Arizona, “Our music is what music used to be like here in Tempe, when the Refreshments and the Dead Hot Workshop owned this town, albeit with a female up front doing the singing!” And Carol really peels the paint off the walls with her strong and passionate presence in the group.
Their first album, “Yeah Yeah Yeah,” released in 2014, features this bands close-knit connection to their music and to each other, as they heat up the sound waves with fast tempo and kickin’ lyrics. They are spot-on with their fans as Pacey comments, this is “music that fans quickly pick up on our choruses and rhythms, and then sing and dance right along with us.”
“When Carol Pacey & the Honey Shakers released fan favorite “One For Your Heart” as the first single from Eyes On The Prize, I knew it would live up to every bit of the Americana-thrash pop they created on their debut LP Yeah Yeah Yeah two years ago. It’s an album steeped in the alt-country sound to be sure, but there’s this amazing friendly aggression behind all of Pacey’s best songs (as well as guitarist Andy Borunda) that takes you to tempos you would never anticipate. Add to that Pacey’s speedy delivery of sharp, cynical lyrical wisdom, and you’re just waiting for each song to explode.” – Mitchell Hillman, Phoenix New Times, 2016

Andy Borunda, lead guitar

andy borunda lead guitar

photo: Ben Brunno

Andy is an Arizona native and has been playing the guitar for over two decades. He is mostly self-taught as after a couple of weeks in guitar class the instructor said, “There’s nothing more I can teach you. Go ahead and learn on your own.” Andy has since developed his sound and technique over the years and cites Jimmy Page, Ace Frehley, and Slash as his main influences on the guitar while also being immensely inspired by bands such as The Beatles, Cheap Trick, and The Replacements. Andy loves playing electrically and acoustically equally and uses Gibson Les Pauls and a Taylor 614CE acoustic for live shows and includes a Fender Telecaster for studio work. At the end of the day, Andy sums it up like this — “I’m a musical sponge…I just love playing music.”

Ben DeLuca, drums

ben deluca playing drums

photo: Ben Brunno

Ben is originally an east coast boy hailing from the D.C. area, and as a kid, he loved to make noise, learning to play multiple instruments with a special talent for banging on things. On the advice of such icons as Jim Morrison and Horace Greeley, he headed west, dug the AZ way of life, and never looked back. Ben has an appreciation for many genres and artists, and what he’ll tell you he’s learned from those who have influenced him musically, is that, “Music is a universal language that allows us to express that which we cannot by other means, it is like medicine for the soul.”

Will Gantry, bass

Will lays the low-end foundation for the band on bass guitar. A recent transplant from our

will gantry on bass guitar

photo: Ben Brunno

nation’s capital, Will is a coast-to-coast man, from playing and recording in bands in Washington, D.C. and throughout the Mid- and Southwestern states on up to Washington state. As a native of Detroit, Will listened to hard-edged and progressive rock radio as well as his dad’s jazz albums who in his own right an accomplished jazz musician, and at an early age, Will was thrown headlong into Detroit’s “Midwest hardcore”/punk scene following his brother’s punk band The Sleeves.

http://carolpaceyandthehoneyshakers.com/

Cadillac Angels

tony balbinot playing guitar with cadillac angels at spirit roomGrowing up with no computer, cell phone, Ipod or even a television, is just not that common anymore, anywhere, but for Tony Balbinot, bandleader and singer/songwriter, guitarist for the Cadillac Angels, that’s exactly how it was. Born in a small, rural farm town in Illinois, in a house without even a television, only a radio and an old record player, Tony’s connection to the big music world was limited to WLS Radio out of Chicago and used 45 rpm records from a jukebox in a diner where his single mother was a waitress.  Musical influences varied widely from Johnny Horton to Jimmy Reed, and when his small family packed up and moved to California the spectrum widened and bloomed.  With Tony’s growing interest in electric guitar, Link Wray, Dick Dale, BB King, and John Fogerty began to heat up his second hand stereo and his fingers.

Midwestern roots combined with a western migration spawned the guitar driven  musical and songwriting style that makes the Cadillac Angels music so special. Now, with over a million miles of touring, and over ten full length original CDs, the band has toured most of the USA and over seven countries in Great Britain and Western Europe. Their first recordings won them “Best Roots Demo” at Austin’s prestigious South by Southwest Music Conference, and their songs have been featured in major full length films as well as commercials.

The Gretsch Guitar Company recognized Tony’s talents and awarded him an artists endorsement. He was invited to perform at Gretsch’s 125th year anniversary celebration, where he shared the stage with legends, Dick Dale, Billy Gibbons, and Jimmie Vaughn.  Tony’s picture now hangs in the Gretsch Hall of Fame in Scottsdale, AZ right between Chet Atkins and Brian Jones. Not bad for a country boy from Illinois!

The Cadillac Angels have never caved to musical fads or commercial pressure. They have elected to remain a trio, feeling that the honest sound of one electric guitar, bass and basic drums best suits the integrity of their style…a style born out of the American heartland, traveling the world, yet still their music rings true Rock and Roll…American music.

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