I am very fortunate to play with some amazing folks. I’m even more fortunate to call many of these people my best friends. Music is my creative outlet and my soul needs it like my lungs need oxygen. I am a student of jazz (with lots to learn) but I focus on playing with “Americana” singer/songwriters. Here’s a taste of how I spend my time. (Some of the info is taken from bios.)
I joined Wise Old River in August of 2010. Hailing from Damacus, VA, Wise Old River blends a variety of influences and instruments that combine tradition with originality. The group features vocalist/guitarist Jamen Denton (formerly of Virginia Ground and was recognized as best male vocalist by the GoTriCities.com in 2005). Jeanne Denton provides well crafted harmony vocals and occasional percussion. Jim Denton adds acoustic lap steel, 12 string slide guitar, and bouzouki. Their sound has been described as “Eclectic-Americana.”
The group has performed on local and national television programs such as the PBS syndicated show “Song of the Mountains”, as well as other venues and events including the Bristol Rhythm and Roots Reunion, Bristol’s Paramount Theatre, Virginia Highlands Festival in Abingdon, VA, Hungry Mother Park Arts and Music Festival in Marion, VA, the Little Chicago Blues Festival and the Home Grown Show Case at the Down Home in Johnson City, TN, The Pickin’ Porch in Bristol, the Tim White Blue Grass Radio Show, Studio One (WETS 89.5 FM) at East Tennessee State University in Johnson City, TN, and many other local and regional venues.
Wise Old River recorded their first CD in 2009 entitled “De Novo” and I played on the second CD “My Land” in 2011.
Their songs speak of love, loss, good times and bad times—bouncing around the gamut between edgy Americana and folk-infused funk. And although many of their “stories” are true (like Mary’s House, the dramatic under-story behind Lincoln’s assassination, or The Black Hole, the sad tale of a coal-mining boomtown’s collapse), it’s the clever writing and simple wisdom that make them compelling.
The band’s music showcases the soulful singing and songwriting Clay Prewitt, and the phenomenal flatpicking of Blake Collins. Bassist “Doc” Marshall and Drummer Steven Reese create one of the tightest, most dynamic rhythm sections in the region. David Cate provides organic color with his keyboards. Together, the group gives rise to authentic mountain soul—and stories you can move your feet to.
Chris Dula Experience
One of my closest friends, Chris is an ETSU colleague as well as a musical partner. He has an energy like none I’ve experienced on stage. Chris has the power to make an audience do things I’ve never seen. He is 100% committed to the vibe and actively encourages participation from the audience. You never know who will show up to play at the Dula gig. That’s why I call it the Dula Experience. I love this guy and he’s an amazing human being.
The Bleeding Heart Show
I saw these guys at a benefit one night and mentioned they would sound so much better with bass. Ha! Well, they didn’t need me but I’m glad they agreed. The Bleeding Heard Show, named after our support of payless fundraising gigs is made up of Rob Russell, Tracey Berry and Chuck Leamon. I so enjoy playing them.