HOT TUNA

Hot Tuna
(Jorma Kaukonen and Jack Casady)

A Living Legend in American Music

The name Hot Tuna invokes as many different moods and reactions as there are Hot Tuna fans — millions of them. To some, Hot Tuna is a reminder of some wild and happy times. To others, that name will forever be linked to their own discovery of the power and depth of American blues and roots music. To newer fans, Hot Tuna is a tight, masterful duo that is on the cutting edge of great music.

All of those things are correct, and more. For more than four decades, Hot Tuna has played, toured, and recorded some of the best and most memorable acoustic and electric music ever. And Hot Tuna is still going strong — some would say stronger than ever.

The two kids from 1950s Washington, D.C. knew that they wanted to make music. Jorma Kaukonen, son of a State Department official, and Jack Casady, whose father was a dentist, discovered guitar when they were teenagers (Jack, four years younger, barely so). They played, and they took in the vast panorama of music available in the nation’s capital, but found a special love of the blues, country, and jazz played in small clubs.

Jorma went off to college, while Jack sat in with professional bands and combos before he was even old enough to drive, first playing lead guitar, then electric bass.

In the mid-1960s Jorma was invited to play in a rock‘n’roll band that was forming in San Francisco; he knew just the guy to play bass and summoned his old friend from back east. The striking signature guitar and bass riffs in the now-legendary songs by the Jefferson Airplane were the result.

The half-decade foray into 1960s San Francisco rock music was for Jack and Jorma an additional destination, not the final one. They continued to play their acoustic blues on the side, sometimes performing a mini-concert amid a Jefferson Airplane performance, sometimes finding a gig afterwards in some local club. They were, as Jack says, “Scouting, always scouting, for places where we could play.”

The duo did not go unnoticed and soon there was a record contract and not long afterwards a tour. Thus began a career that would result in more than two-dozen albums, thousands of concerts around the world, and continued popularity.

Hot Tuna has gone through changes, certainly. A variety of other instruments, from harmonica to fiddle to keyboards, have been part of the band over the years, and continue to be, varying from project to project. The constant, the very definition of Hot Tuna, has always been Jorma and Jack.

The two are not joined at the hip, though; through the years both Jorma and Jack have undertaken projects with other musicians and solo projects of their own. But Hot Tuna has never broken up, never ceased to exist, nor have the two boyhood pals ever wavered in one of the most enduring friendships in music.

Along the way, they have been joined by a succession of talented musicians: Drummers, harmonica players, keyboardists, backup singers, violinists and more, all fitting with Jorma and Jack’s current place in the musical spectrum. Jorma and Jack certainly could not have imagined, let alone predicted, where the playing would take them. It’s been a long and fascinating road to numerous, exciting destinations. Two things have never changed: They still love playing as much as they did as kids in Washington, D.C. and there are still many, many exciting miles yet to travel on their musical odyssey.

The Musicians

Jorma Kaukonen

In a career that has already spanned a half century, Jorma Kaukonen has been the leading practitioner and teacher of fingerstyle guitar, one of the most highly respected interpreters of American roots music, blues, and Americana, and at the forefront of popular rock-and-roll.

Jorma graduated from high school and headed off for Antioch College in Ohio. There he met Ian Buchanan, from New York City, who introduced him to the elaborate fingerstyle fretwork of the Rev. Gary Davis. Jorma was hooked.

A work-study program in New York introduced the increasingly skilled Kaukonen to that city’s burgeoning folk-blues-bluegrass scene and many of its players. He would leave college and undertake overseas travels before returning to classes, this time in California.

There he earned money by teaching guitar. A friend who taught banjo mentioned to Jorma he and another friend were thinking of starting a band — was Jorma interested? Though he was less interested in rock than in the roots music that was his passion, Jorma decided to join. It would turn out he would even have something to do with the naming of the band. An acquaintance liked to tease his blues-playing friends by giving them nicknames which parodied those of blues legends. Jorma, he had decided, was “Blind Thomas Jefferson Airplane.” When the new band needed a name, Jorma mentioned this, and thus the Jefferson Airplane was christened.

He sent word back to Washington, where his teenage musical partner Jack Casady had taken up electric bass. Did Jack want to come to San Francisco and be in a band?

The Kaukonen-Casady duo created much of the Jefferson Airplane’s signature sound, and Jorma’s lead and fingerstyle guitar playing characterizes some of the band’s most memorable tracks. The two would often play clubs following Airplane performances. A record deal was made and Hot Tuna was born. Jorma left the Jefferson Airplane after the band’s most productive five years. Hot Tuna had become a full-time job.

Jorma has also had a succession of more than a dozen solo albums, beginning with 1974’s “Quah” and continuing through “Blue Country Heart” in 2002, the much-anticipated “Stars In My Crown,” followed by the touching and very personal “River of Time.” In February, 2015 Jorma releases “Aint In No Hurry” on Red House. Ain’t In No Hurry, show Jorma at the top of his game. Playing with a confidence and a touch that come from a lifetime spent writing and performing.

Along with his wife, Vanessa, Jorma operates and teaches at Jorma Kaukonen’s Fur Peace Ranch Guitar Camp. Here, on a sprawling and rustic yet modern campus, musicans and would-be musicians come for intensive and enjoyable workshops taught by Jorma, Jack and other extraordinary players like G.E. Smith, David Lindley, Steve Kimock, Bob Margolin, Chris Smither, Peter Rowan and more.

In addition, Jorma started BreakDownWay.com, a unique interactive teaching site that brings Jorma and Jack’s (and a host of other outstanding musicians) musical instruction to students all over the world.

Jack Casady

Few musicians have the opportunity and skill to create an entire style of playing, but Jack Casady has done exactly that with the electric bass. With roots as a lead guitar player, Jack broadened the range and scope of the bass, taking it out of the rhythm category and bringing to it a world of complex and complementary melodies.

The son of a Washington, D.C.-area dentist, Jack fell in love with music at an early age and took full advantage of the wide cultural experience the city had to offer, from classical and jazz concerts to the strong southern musical influence to the small blues and jazz clubs not normally populated by children.

“One night I’d be down at the Howard Theater seeing Ray Charles,” he remembers, “and the next night I would be at the Shamrock Tavern in Georgetown, hearing Mac Weisman, Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs, and other bluegrass people. And the next night it would be jazz — people like Eric Dolphy and Roland Kirk.” He took up guitar and became friends with an older boy, a guitar novice named Jorma Kaukonen.
Together they explored the area’s music scene.

When Jorma went to college, young Jack continued his methodical study of guitar, often sitting in with local club bands. One night he was asked to play the bass, and thus began a love affair with the instrument that has endured for close to a half century.

Jack has played bass with numerous groups and legendary performers, from Jimi Hendrix to Government Mule and beyond. His signature bass sound was front and center in his critically acclaimed solo CD, “Dream Factor.”

The inventor of the Jack Casady style of bass playing devotes much of his time to passing on what he has learned and invented, by teaching several times each year at Jorma’s Fur Peace Ranch.

Over a decade ago, Jack designed The Jack Casady Signature Bass in collaboration with Epiphone. This bass is the culmination of years of experimentation playing with the Jefferson Airplane and Hot Tuna. Jack simply wanted to find an instrument with superb, balanced electric tone and the response of an acoustic bass.

With three very different models available, this bass continues to be one of Epiphone’s hottest selling instruments and is played by some of the worlds most inventive bassists like Flea (Red Hot Chili Peppers), Chris Null, Josh Ward, Glenn Five aka G5 and Dominic Davis. The Epiphone Jack Casady Signature Bass is as unique as Jack, with a vibe, tone, and innovative features all its own.

GE Smith

One of the most in-demand blues/rock guitarists in the world is a mysterious character who goes by the name of G.E. Smith. Millions of TV viewers know his face -- and the shock of unruly blond ponytail that was always falling across it -- from his 10 years (1985-1995) of fronting the Saturday Night Live band.

For G.E. (George Edward) Smith, a soulful guitarist, composer, singer and bandleader, it all began in rural Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, where he was just about born with a guitar in his hand. "I started playing guitar around age four, and started getting good at seven," he says.

"Eventually, the girlfriend of one of my uncles bought me a Martin, a real good guitar, in 1959. Then when the folk music scene came around and Bob Dylan's first album came out in '63, and Peter, Paul and Mary all those people were performing, I got really into that." By chance, he attended a taping of the television show Hootenanny in Princeton, New Jersey, and saw the legendary Odetta and Josh White perform, further inciting his musicality.

On his 11th birthday G.E.'s mother bought him his first electric guitar, a Fender Telecaster, a model that dated to his birth year - 1952 ("I still have that guitar, and there's no sound that I can't find in it. It's so friendly to me, so warm.") By then he was already supporting himself as a musician, playing in numerous situations — Poconos resorts, high school dances, you name it -- often with musicians more than twice his age.

After accomplishing all he could in the bar-band scene as a teenager, Smith left the Poconos to conquer new worlds in the New Haven, Connecticut area, quickly establishing himself as a "top gun" guitarist and hooking up with the legendary Scratch Band, which scorched clubs up and down the east coast during the early to mid-70s.

In late 1977 G.E. got his first break, in the form of Dan Hartman, fresh off his hit "Instant Replay". He hired the guitarist to front his band for a "lip-synch tour" of Europe and the US. Upon his return to the East coast Smith moved to Manhattan and became the guitarist for Gilda Radner's 1979 Broadway show "Gilda Live". Radner and Smith became friends; shortly afterward they got married.

During that period of Smith's life another big break took place when the blue-eyed soulsters Daryl Hall and John Oates came calling. Not only was Smith hired to play lead guitar for Hall & Oates, he stayed for six years (1979-85) constantly touring and recording with them, racking up hit after hit with songs like "Private Eyes", "Man Eater", "Kiss On My List" and others. "It was insanely fun," he recalls. "We were so big that one year, we decided we would perform during summer -- all year 'round! We toured the northern hemisphere in the summer and the southern hemisphere during New York's winter."

Another fortuitous event was the Live Aid and Farm Aid benefit concerts in early '85. "At the Live Aid concert the Hall & Oates band ended up being the house band. I ended up being the de facto music director for a lot of what went on, as we backed Mick Jagger, Tina Turner and whoever didn't have a band.

G.E.'s hard work earned him a commanding position in the music industry as a first call blues/rock guitarist, sought out by major recording artists like Jagger, who, shortly after Live Aid, called Smith to work with him on his first solo album, She's the Boss. ( Smith also played on Jagger's Primitive Cool.) During this period Smith also did a few one-off recordings and concerts with David Bowie, and Peter Wolfe, among other notables.

When Hall & Oates decided to take a long break from the music scene, Smith was chosen to be musical director for Saturday Night Live. "The way it happened was, I knew Howard Shore, the show's original musical director, and producer Lorne Michaels, from my stint with Gilda," says Smith. "In '85, when Lorne returned to produce the show again, he asked me to be the musical director. And I was thrilled to take it."

Leading the SNL band for 10 years (1985 - 95) - it was arguably the best late-night band on television at the time - and G.E. won an Emmy. "I definitely grew a lot from playing with those world-class musicians, especially the horn section. I really had to learn to play in time and in tune. It was a great education."

The SNL roster of guest musicians read like a Who's Who of contemporary music: Eddie Van Halen, Keith Richards, Rickie Lee Jones, Al Green, Bryan Ferry, et al. In fact, many of the best musical (surprise) moments came when G.E. invited guitar heroes to play with the band, unannounced. Eddie Van Halen was the first, followed by an amazing roster that included David Gilmour, Lonnie Mack, Dave Edmonds, Johnny Winter, Buddy Guy, and others. The Buddy Guy visit eventually resulted in the 1996 Grammy-nominated Buddy Guy - Live CD, with G.E. and the SNL band. "I've been so lucky to get into these fantasy situations... that happened over and over on "SNL". I got to play with everybody . "

SNL also provided Smith with a songwriting opportunity when Mike Meyers asked him to help write a tune. "Mike had this bit, called 'Wayne's World', and he needed a theme song. Aerosmith was the musical guest that week, so Mike and I sat down and wrote a song that Aerosmith could sing and play along with." Of course the "bit" became a hit film, the soundtrack (and song) a platinum-selling smash hit.

Even more amazing, in the midst of his SNL tenure Smith toured for almost four years with the legendary Bob Dylan. "I would fly home from various places on the globe to do the SNL show," says G.E. "Both Bob and Lorne were very understanding about giving me the time that I needed. I would work with Bob during the week, then come home for Saturday's show." This setup was a true test of his stamina. "During one particularly tough period, I played a stadium concert in Sao Paulo, Brazil, flew back to New York for SNL, then flew to Rio to play several concerts with Bob, flew back that Saturday, then flew to London for a week of concerts with Bob, came back to New York, then met the band for concerts in Paris."

During his SNL years Smith was also honored to be the musical director for special events such as the 1988 Emmy Awards, the 1993 Rhythm and Blues Foundation Awards and the Bob Dylan 30th Anniversary Concert at Madison Square Garden. The latter event was another of those "fantasy situations" that G.E. keeps getting involved in. "The rehearsals for that Dylan concert you wouldn't believe. I was rehearsing with George Harrison in the morning, Eric Clapton in the afternoon, and Lou Reed at night. One afternoon, rehearsing the finale, I had Harrison, Tom Petty, Clapton, Neil Young, Dylan and Roger McGuinn all lined up and I'm saying, 'OK, George you sing here, Eric you play now, Bob you come in here...'" Smith also has written with his friend and fellow musician Jimmy Buffett. "Six String Music" appears on Buffett's album Fruitcakes.

Smith acted as musical director at the Rock N' Roll Hall of Fame Museum Concert in Cleveland.

Following his departure from Saturday Night Live in 95', Smith and his wife, singer/songwriter Taylor Barton created their new label Green Mirror Music.

Smith released his electrifying, high octane CD, 'Incense Herbs, and Oils' in 1998. Between live dates, he has been the musical director and band leader honoring Bob Dylan and Willie Nelson at the Kennedy Center Honors in Washington, D.C. . He also led bands for The Muddy Waters Tribute, and The 1998 and 1999 Mark Twain Awards honoring Richard Pryor and Jonathon Winters which aired on PBS, and Comedy Central. Smith has kept a steady presence on the national scene. Is he too busy? Smith laughs and says, "I haven't slept since the sixties." Rumors are there is a CD in the works for this fall.

Another highlight of Smith's history was hosting an interactive show on the Electric guitar over the internet, on NPR, and a live presentation at for Smithsonian Institute.

1999-2000 brought Smith back to SNL, appearing in the 25th Anniversary show and other guest appearances. He was featured on VH1 in the history of SNL, and even hosted the New Year's Eve bash inaugurating the new Rose Center at the Museum of Natural History, (formerly the Haydn Planetarium).

Smith has played with the broadest possible spectrum of artists, from Red Buttons to Allen Ginsberg, from Desmond Child to Bob Dylan and all points in between.

"I've had an incredible ride in the world of Rock N' Roll and American music," says Smith, looking back over his career. GE Smith is possibly one of the most brilliant guitarist's out there.

The Persuasions

Since those long ago days of 1962, The Persuasions have gone on to sing in concert halls and nightclubs the world over. They have released 26 albums, and opened for artists including: Frank Zappa and The Mothers of Invention, Ray Charles, Bill Cosby, and Richard Pryor. Amazingly enough, Roseanne Barr and Bruce Springsteen once opened for The Persuasions.

The Persuasions have long been the acknowledged "Kings of A Cappella." The group first came together on the streetcorners of Brooklyn, but all hail from different parts of the country. Original lead singer Jerry Lawson was from Florida. North Carolina is the birthplace of "Sweet" Joe Russell. Jimmy Hayes was born in Virginia and Jayotis Washington is from Motown, a Detroit native.
Herbert "Toubo" Rhoad, an original Persuasion and the group's baritone, passed away in 1988 while on tour. His ashes were scattered by his mates in San Francisco Bay, as per his wishes. Toubo's earthly voice may have fallen silent, but those who knew and loved him can still feel his baritone joining in whenever the Persuasions take the stage or hit the studio.

All the original Persuasions came from a strong history and deep background in church-based music. Their singing, style and musical inventory has always included the heavy influence of gospel, a major measure soul, and a dose of pop. Their legendarily eclectic repertoire has drawn from everything from Sam Cooke to The Temptations to Kurt Weill to Zappa; from country to blues to gospel to rock to jazz.

The Persuasions moved from streetcorners to parties to "performances" during the early 1960's, and worked with Robert F. Kennedy's Project Restoration to aid African-Americans living in the inner cities of America.
Legendary musician Frank Zappa and his wife Gail "discovered" The Persuasions in 1968. At the urging and encouragement of a good friend of the group, David Dashev (who eventually became producer and manager), Zappa listened to a tape of the group---over the phone. The result: he signed them and produced their debut album, "A Cappella," on Zappa's "Straight" label, in 1970.
The Persuasions next signed with Capitol Records and have since gone on to release a string of commercially successful and critically acclaimed recordings, releasing albums and CDs for MCA, A&M Records, Elektra Records, Flying Fish, Rounder and Rounder/ Bullseye Blues, Music For Little People, Earthbeat!/Rhino, Grateful Dead Records/Arista and Chesky Records.

The group's first ever recording specifically for children, "On The Good Ship Lollipop," was released in 1999, and won a bushel of awards from parents' organizations. In March, 2000, The Persuasions released an album in tribute to their old friend, Zappa, "Frankly A Cappella: The Persuasions Sing Zappa." At the time, Jerry Lawson of The Persuasions said, "Frank gave us our start, and this is our way of saying 'thanks'". The album was critically acclaimed in publications including People Magazine.

The Grateful Dead were next, when The Persuasions recorded a tribute album and released it in October 2000. The recording, "Might As Well: The Persuasions Sing Grateful Dead" celebrated the songs of Robert Hunter and Jerry Garcia. Both the Zappa and Grateful Dead albums were the brainchild of co-producer and longtime Persuasions friend, music journalist Rip Rense, who had also secured the deal and acted as project coordinator/annotator for "On The Good Ship Lollipop." In 2002, The Persuasions moved on to Chesky Records, where they recorded the "The Persuasions Sing The Beatles."
The Persuasions may not have invented a cappella. They have, however, carried the torch and kept the art form alive, sometimes singlehandedly, for over four decades. During the '60's and '70's, they were the only secular, pop a cappella group to get serious recognition and popularity---certainly the only a pop cappella group to sign with major record labels and to be played on FM radio along with the Rolling Stones and Beatles.

They have done this by staying true to themselves, true to the music and true to their fans. They have recorded and performed songs by artists ranging from Frank Sinatra to Sam Cooke to Bob Dylan, and from Lennon and McCartney to Rogers and Hammerstein.They have taken standards and children's classics and infused them with their own powerful style and substance. They can take any song, "Persuasionize it," and wind up with a new musical experience that often even surprises the original authors.
Through their dedication, staying power and perseverance, The Persuasions have paved the way for groups like Boyz 2 Men, Take 6, and Rockapella, all three of which acknowledge the group's influence.

During the mid 1990's, director, producer and avowed Persuasions fan Fred Parnes filmed the documentary, "Spread the Word: The Persuasions Sing A Cappella." The film has been screened at the Smithsonian Institute, and at exclusive and limited engagements and festivals in New York, Los Angeles, and through out Europe. It has garnered high critical praise from the press, including the L.A. Reader, New York Post and Hollywood Daily Variety.
What started out humbly in Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn is now a venerable a cappella institution. The Persuasions have performed for fans in Alaska, Israel, throughout Europe, and in Australia. They have appeared on stage, on record and on disc with such diverse artists as Stevie Wonder, Bette Midler, Joni Mitchell, Liza Minelli, Van Morrison, Lou Reed Gladys Knight, Patti LaBelle, Little Richard, Nancy Wilson, The Neville Brothers, Country Joe McDonald, B.B. King and Paul Simon. The group's recordings have been featured in films ranging from "Joe Versus the Volcano" to "The Heartbreak Kid," from "Streets of Gold" to "E.T."

The Persuasions are equally familiar with the small screen. Their documentary, "Spread the Word" was shown on PBS, as was Spike Lee's "Do It A Cappella," which featured the group singing Kurt Weill's "Oh Heavenly Salvation." The group has made musical guest appearances on television shows that seem to cover the entire day: Good Morning America, the Today Show, The Tonight Show, and Late Night with Conan O' Brien. Weekends were covered with appearances on Saturday Night Live!

The Persuasions continue today with original members Jimmy Hayes, "Sweet Joe" Russell, with a supporting cast including Raymond Sanders and B.J. Jones, who joined in the early '90's, longtime Jimmy Hayes friend Gil Torres, and Dave Revels, who sang with the group on its Beatles album and arranged and co-produced The Persuasions' tribute to U-2. Jayotis Washington is on extended leave, and Jerry Lawson is pursuing a solo career in Phoenix, Arizona.
The Persuasions started out as a bunch of kids hanging around singing a cappella. They have gone on to become the undisputed grand old men of the genre.

First ever all Wounded Warrior Band (formerly Warrior Spirit Band) EMPOWERED THROUGH MUSIC

The LoCash Cowboys’ time has come.
Finally, the promise shown in their phenomenal live shows comes to fruition on their first powerhouse indie album, LoCash Cowboys. What else would you expect from the duo that co-wrote Keith Urban’s number one “You Gonna Fly,” and “Truck Yeah,” a smash for Tim McGraw?
“As much as I’d like to call this Fifty Shades of LoCash, the Album,” jokes Chris Lucas, cowboy-hat-wearing half of the team, “it’s true. We’ve captured everything LoCash is about on this album. It’s all killer, no filler. With our label, Average Joes Entertainment, it’s the right fit at the right time.”
So much so that acclaimed Nashville hit maker Jeffrey Steele (“What Hurts The Most,” “My Town”) came on board to produce and co-write a number of the tracks. Says the songwriting and performing duo, “He taught us everything about songwriting. He’s our mentor and our big brother.” In fact, Steele calls himself the third LoCash Cowboy.
“Country music really boils down to the power of the song,” sums up the eloquent Preston Brust. “We wanted to broaden our listeners, to reach the older crowd, the younger crowd, and the middle crowd. And we really tried to pick songs that were the best songs we could find to define LoCash. Hopefully we achieve that in this album.”
Though the high energy, roof-raising spirit of LoCash’s live shows (and over 10 million YouTube views) tends to brand them as a party band, LoCash Cowboys, as the new album proves, are super-focused musicians and songwriters. Here, they showcase their light-hearted, fun-loving edge (“Little Miss Crazy Hot,” the redneck anthems “Hey, Hey, Hey” and “C.O.U.N.T.R.Y”), as well as their emotional side (“I Hope,” “Best Seat in the House,” Chris’s tribute to his late father, and “Keep in Mind,” a parent’s loving farewell to a child venturing into the world).
They also offer a tip of the hat to the helmsman of the highways in “Independent Trucker,” featuring the legendary George Jones.
“He sounds amazing on it,” says Preston. “He had me come into the vocal booth with him. I was really nervous to be in there with him while he was recording. But we were just cutting up, and I could tell that he really wanted to achieve a good vocal, because he was into the music, he really likes us, and he wanted to help.” It was a red-letter day for everyone, Chris remembers. “I’d never seen Jeffrey Steele act like a ten-year old boy before, but when George Jones walked into the studio, Jeff was a ten-year old kid.”
LoCash (the named is derived from a group of Preston’s high school friends) got their launch in the summer of 2002, when Chris, a high school all-star football player from Baltimore, Maryland, worked as the entertainment director at Nashville’s Wildhorse Saloon. Preston, a Kokomo, Indiana, preacher’s son who wrote his first song at age eleven on his paper route, had just arrived in town. Chris offered him a job filling in for him as a DJ.
One night they were goofing around on the mic, not even singing, when their electrifying banter caught everyone by surprise. It made Chris think about how Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin—idols of his grandfather—could hold an audience in the palms of their hands, and make them part of the show.
“It’s something that came naturally to me and Preston. It’s really all about the crowd, about making them feel their lives are changing. That first day on the mike, we were both thinking, ‘Gosh, we’ve got something here, dude.’ I said, ‘I hope you sing.’ And Preston was like, ‘I do, do you?’ And that’s the way it started.”
Yet their musical backgrounds were as different as heaven and hell. Preston, whose great uncle Albert E. Brumley wrote the gospel classic “I’ll Fly Away,” grew up steeped in the blood of the lamb, sneaking into the closet to listen to the only three secular records in the house--Eddie Rabbit’s “I Love a Rainy Night,” Willie Nelson’s “Angels Flying Too Close to the Ground,” and the Oak Ridge Boys’ “Bobbie Sue.”
In contrast, Chris grew up with his ear glued to Motley Crue, Quiet Riot, and Whitesnake. “I was definitely a head banger, man. I loved ‘80s rock and glamour rock, and later R & B. Then Garth Brooks changed my life. I watched his show, and I said, ‘I want to do this.’”
What made LoCash unique from the beginning is their harmony blend. When Chris sings lead, Preston provides the low harmony, and when Preston sings lead, Chris sings high harmony, bringing variety, freshness, and a new edge to the duo sound.
Yet for years, they sat in the Wildhorse DJ booth, dreaming and wishing, watching big name artists take the stage. But soon record labels began recognizing just how much of the total package they, too, had--great vocals, world-class dance moves, a unique look, and charisma to burn, along with a wealth of experience and a work ethic that impressed everyone who dealt with them.
In 2008, they headlined the Redman/Maxim Roadhouse Tour, and in the first time they’d come back to the club, they sold out the Wildhorse.
As if in a scene out of a movie, the two reveled in the excitement and the girls crushing up next to the stage. Then right in the middle of a Jeffrey Steele song, a man with crazy hair and tattoos on his fingers fought his way to the front row and waved Preston down. Just as Preston thought, “Who is this guy? We’re gonna need security,” he recognized the wild man as Steele himself.
“We made eye contact,” Preston remembers, “and he said, ‘I get it! I hear it! I see it!’ And he just started laughing like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. He said, ‘Call me. All you need is the songs.’ And he fell backwards into the crowd and disappeared.” Though it took three months to get Steele’s phone number, the search was worth it. They met at his house to discuss their future.
“Boys, if you want to make an album that’s really different and takes risks,” Steele told them, “put your hands in on three. If you don’t, I’m not your guy.”
“Three seconds later,” says Preston, “we were a team.”
It was the break they needed, after years of near success, losing it all, and living off of mac and cheese, tuna fish, and tortured dreams. In 2003, for example, when a record label deal went south, they hooked a U-haul to Preston’s Jeep Grand Cherokee and hit the road, playing three-hour shows at clubs all across the country for five hundred dollars a night. They never broke even, but garnered tons of fan support and sold such an impressive number of homemade CDs that they knew their time would come.
“We leaned on each other, man,” says Chris. “And it’s like a healing process to be on stage, to see people smile and laugh and cry. To know we’re making an impact on people really, truly kept us going.”
However, their darkest year arrived in 2011 with numerous professional setbacks, the death of band member Ryan “Troop” Jones, and the passing of Chris’s dad, the inspiration for LoCash’s new song “Best Seat in the House.”
As Preston recalls, “It was like, ‘What is going on in our lives? Not one good thing has happened to us this year. You start thinking some kind of energy is against us.’ Then all of a sudden you get a phone call, and a voice says, ‘This is Keith Urban. I’m releasing your song, “You Gonna Fly,” as my next single.’ Talk about a light at the end of the tunnel! That’s when it started to change.”
And change it has, both personally and professionally. Chris is now married with a young son, Caden. (Preston is still single, “but looking.”) And the duo, which formerly wrote and recorded the theme song for from Tanya Tucker’s reality show “Tuckerville,” is in negotiation for a television show of their own.
Though the show will likely emphasis the entertainment side of LoCash’s effusive personality, Chris never loses sight of one thing: “We’re very serious musicians. This is our career. There is no Plan B. This is our life.”

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