Dobro player Bryce Thompson adds another layer of sound that seems to expand the sound that was already there. Bryce was born in 1967 in Perth Amboy, New Jersey he plays dobro, guitar, and bass. His eclectic style comes from influences like James Taylor, Alison Krauss, Led Zeppelin, and Jerry Douglas. Bryce’s songwriting is an asset. When asked Bryce said “I have found such a love for bluegrass music. You have to have good songs and be able to play well, because there are no electronics, its truly pure music.”
Lead and Harmony Vocals /mandolin/fiddle/guitar
Victoria has performed with several bands throughout Florida and including Blue Angel which performed across the Country. Additionally, Victoria has recorded numerous Projects and Music videos for two labels. She was last signed by BMG Critique Records as a Country Artist , recorded, traveled the Country extensively and was played world wide as Victoria Hawkes, with a number one single in the late 90’s. Fate and family grounded the Country music career just as it was beginning. Things seemed to point to continuing her music in a less demanding nature so Victoria then returned to complete the Blue Angel CD. She co-produced this project and with a small amount of promotion it led to opportunity and much enjoyment playing Festivals and venues for a number of years to come from Florida to New England and West as far as Montana.
After an absence from performing this style of music with a band for several years, Victoria has found musical companionship long awaited by joining in on a number of appearances with the Manatee River band.
Banjo player, Rich Ziven has been performing bluegrass music for over 30 years. Beginning his musical career in the band Union Hill originating in Wisconsin, Union Hill was awarded 1st place in the bluegrass band contest, judged by the New Grass Revival at the first annual Mole Lake Bluegrass Festival in 1976. For 2 years, Union Hill toured the Midwest, the East Coast, and the state of Colorado. In 1982, Rich performed for 18 years with The Rounders, one of the Midwest’s premier bluegrass bands. The Rounders toured extensively in the U.S. and Europe and performed at venues such as: “Bean Blossom”, “The Festival of Bluegrass”, “Mole Lake” and the “SPBGMA” circuit. The Rounders were awarded the title: “Best Bluegrass Band” for 5 consecutive years by the “Wisconsin Area Music Industry”, (W.A.M.I.). Rich was also an office manager for a Wisconsin talent agency that managed and booked artists such as: the Nashville Bluegrass Band, Tony Trischka and Skyline, The Jethro Burns Quartet, etc. Rich has been playing with the Manatee River Bluegrass Band for over a year. In his spare time, Rich instructs people to play banjo, guitar, and mandolin.
In 1976 John formed the Wooden Nickel Band with an old high school friend to perform with the Polk County Bicentennial Touring Medicine Show. The group played county fairs and bicentennial events across the State of Florida, as well as a Festival in Perry Florida with the Bluegrass legend, Bill Monroe. After the group disbanded, John joined Bluegrass Southern Style as a vocalist and guitarist. The band performed at many Bluegrass Festivals in Florida and won an audition for a USO Tour in Germany in 1980. The group recorded the album Rosewater Mountain of which the title cut was written by Moody. After completing graduate school at UVA with a degree in Landscape Architecture, John returned to Bradenton and established a business and a folk and acoustic group called “From the Heart”. The band, which included current mandolinist Greg Turner, enjoyed local success performing local restaurants and community events. John plays a Collings D-1 rosewood guitar.
- January 23rd- Manatee County Fair 3-4pm and 5-6pm
- February 20th-Cortez Commercial Fishing Festival-11am
- February 27th-South Florida Museum Benefit 4-8pm
- March 4th- The Back Alley-Bradenton Beach-6:30-9:30pm
- March 18th- Ezra Cafe- Bradenton-7-10pm
- May 26th-Ezra Cafe-Bradenton-7-10pm
- June 5th- WSLR Bluegrass Benefit 7:30 pm-Sarasota WSLR
Doug’s interest in music began with his Mother playing piano at their home and church, as well as his Dad’s huge collection of country: Johnny Cash, Buck Owens, Merl Haggard. His guitar playing started with the Beatles era, resulting in formation of a rock band in the mid-60′s. Watching the Flatt & Scruggs tv show every Saturday led to a love of bluegrass music. Doug’s first bluegrass band,The Henderson Bluegrass Band, with his brother David playing bass, was formed in the mid-70′s, when he was introduced to Leon Poindexter, uncle to the great Rice Brothers: Tony, Larry, Ronnie, and Wyatt. Doug became good friends with them, and eventually the Southern Comfort Band was formed, which included Doug on guitar, Larry on mandolin, Ronnie on bass, Wayne Lewis on fiddle, and Jim Thornton on banjo. Progressive as well as traditional tunes were performed, even to the point of occasional use of drums. While attending law school in Houston, Tx, a 3 piece band was formed, with Doug now learning the ropes on bass, which he plays to this day. Singing lead & harmony vocals is one of his strong points, having been influenced by the styles of Tony & Larry Rice, as well as the classic country & bluegrass legends. Doug also plays bass guitar in a Scottish Piper Band & a local oldies rock band.
Bruce started playing banjo in the mid 70′s with a band in Virginia called Bluegrass Construction Company. He moved to Greensboro, NC in 1980 and began playing with Southern Comfort. They made an album in 1984 and he stayed with them for 5 years. He did not play much from 1985 to 1995 but then late in 1995 he got back into the music and began attending music camps, seminars, IBMA, Nashcamp, etc. In 2001 Bruce joined with Never Too Late in Oak Ridge, NC. They completed an hour television show for public TV and two CDs. He left Never Too Late in December of 2002 and retired to Florida. He currently plays a 1931 Gibson Granada, a 1935 Gibson TB 3 and a Stelling Golden Cross. He sings lead, baritone and tenor parts. Here in Florida, he has been playing with the Manatee River Bluegrass Band and a gospel group called Simple Faith, both located in Bradenton.