MICHAEL HAMILTON was born in Dallas, Texas, in October of 1952.
At the age of thirteen, Michael played The Black Garter Club in Dallas with trumpeter Johnny “Scat” Davis. By the late 1960’s, he was booking his rock band at places like LouAnn’s, The Studio Club, The Gingerbread House and The Box. By 1970, Michael had performed with such artists as Fats Domino, Sam The Sham, Little Richard and The Coasters.
Joining midwestern legends The Fabulous Flippers, Michael played venues like The Surf and Roofgarden ballrooms with Wayne Cochran, Poco, Pure Prairie League, White Trash, Waylon Jennings and many others.
In 1972, Michael signed with ABC and played a series of trio gigs on the East Coast in places like Hilton Head, Myrtle Beach, Richmond and Portland, Maine. He then joined former Louis Prima guitarist Floyd Dakil playing casinos and the then thriving Playboy Clubs. In 1976, he joined rock group Savvy, at Club Savvy, in Fort Worth, a town that is still his home.
Michael joined southern rockers Point Blank in the late 1970’s and enjoyed unprecedented success through the early 1980’s, first opening for ZZ Top, Journey, Loverboy, and Night Ranger, then headlining their own shows at the Dallas Convention Center and The Summit in Houston. Before being derailed by legal troubles, Point Blank played nearly every major concert venue from coast to coast.
Michael returned to DFW in 1982 and played five days a week at The Palms, a notorious Dallas pressure cooker, while playing nights with The Roosters, Hill City and Alibi. By the 1990’s, he had begun playing the more lucrative super clubs of North Dallas and Addison, and The Mansion on Turtle Creek.
In 2002, Michael was the keyboard player on THE RAY PRICE TOUR. He is currently in demand as a keyboardist, vocalist and bandleader.
Michael passed away in 2011, but all GRO tunes and tracks are dedicated to his memory.
MARYANN PRICE the voice behind Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks, is a successful solo artist in the fertile Austin music scene. Her talents shine as leader of her own quartet. She appears with Dan Hicks in the Gene Hackman film, CLASS ACTION and co-produced the reunion of the Hot Licks, drawing more than 2,000 at Austin’s Paramount Theater. The show culminates in an appearance on Austin City Limits, with unprecedented viewer response, according to ACL producer Terry Lickona.
After singing commercials in her native Baltimore (beginning at age 17) and Latin jazz in Las Vegas, Price moved to San Francisco. At a time when female singers were aping Janis Joplin or Grace Slick, Maryann possessed the most individual vocal approach on the scene. She is part Chet Baker, and part Lambert, Hendricks & Ross, with touches of Anita O’Day, Keely Smith and Modernaires vocalist Paula Kelly, along with a lot of wit and style that can only be described as Maryann Price.
Maryann’s fresh take on Johnny Mercer’s “I’m An Old Cowhand” (from Hot Licks’ Striking It Rich) redefined the term hip; her version of “Sweetheart” (from Hot Licks’ Last Train to Hicksville) inspired Maria Muldaur on Waitress in
a Donut Shop.
Maryann formed The Girtones with former Hot Licks guitarist John Girton. The group expanded on the Hot Licks’ brand of eclectic swing, and Maryann, already a serious percussionist, added the cocktail drum to her arsenal.
Longtime fan and leader of Asleep at the Wheel, Ray Benson, hired Price and Maryann logged countless road miles with the Wheel.
Price moved to Austin and embarked on her busiest period to date. In addition to her many live and studio dates, Maryann sings on pianist Floyd Domino’s acclaimed children’s recordings, The White Album, The Four Tots, and Peggy Sue.
Maryann Price’s first of many solo outings--Etched in Swing—runs the gamut from samba to boogie, from ballad to bebop. Whatever the song or style, the unifying element is the one-of-a-kind voice of Maryann Price.
Hot ‘n’ Cole was recorded live at the Cactus Cafe at The University of Texas at Austin on Cole Porter’s birthday, with a band that features the very best jazz and swing players in Texas, guided by Maryann’s cool, upbeat and sensual vocalization, creates a seductive, swingin’ style of music.
In 2000, after her induction in the Texas Music Hall of Fame, Maryann released and received critical acclaim for Jazzland (Catfish Jazz Recordings). Her recent big band recording project is entitled Lone Star State O’ Grace. The Real Deal features George Strait’s Rick McCrae and Terry Hale playing jazz! Her special guest is Ray Benson.
Maryann’s first book, Singing For Fun and Profit, is almost ready for publication, and she is currently writing her true short stories from her experiences on tour:
Off-the-Record; On the Road. She continues to receive attention in the Jazz Vocal Genre on mp3.com, and her songs are available for digital download on nimbit.com. Maryann produces her own projects as well as those of up and coming vocalists and songwriters.
On the heels of Dan Hicks and the Hot Licks’ Birthday Bash featuring the Quintessential Hot Licks at Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco, Price is tickled
to be featured on the new Great Recession Orchestra’s Americana release DoubleShot: The Forties in Ft. Worth/ Shakin’ the Sheiks produced in Dallas by
FLOYD DOMINO brought home his BEST KEYBOARDS trophy from the 2010 AUSTIN MUSIC AWARDS to keep company with the two GRAMMYS that he had already won for featured work with ASLEEP AT THE WHEEL.
Floyd has recorded and played with MERLE HAGGARD, GEORGE STRAIT, THE TEXAS PLAYBOYS, WAYLON JENNINGS, HERB ELLIS, KELLY WILLIS, BRUCE ROBISON, MONTE WARDEN, DON WALSER and others. His boogie-woogie styling is known to audiences around the world, and has even been heard in outer space by way of George Strait’s Number One hit ACE IN THE HOLE which was beamed up to the crew of the space shuttle Columbia in a wake-up call.
A native of California, Floyd was introduced to Western Swing by way of the musicians who had migrated from Texas and Oklahoma in the 30’s and 40’s. Through Asleep at the Wheel producer Tommy Allsup and master fiddler Johnny Gimble, he met Texas Playboy original Al Stricklin, and Al became Floyd’s teacher. Floyd joined Asleep
at the Wheel at the age on nineteen and was featured on their first Grammy-winning recording ONE O’CLOCK JUMP. Seven years and a million miles later, he went to New York to play in the Broadway hit, BEST LITTLE WHOREHOUSE
Following that, he recorded and played for five years with The Crickets and Waylon Jennings. As a session pianist, Floyd can be heard on numerous recordings—over 50 US CD’s as well as some international releases. Floyd played on five albums with George Strait and won two Grammys. His most recent Grammy was awarded in February 2000 for Best Country Instrumental as a featured performer with Tommy Allsup, Larry Franklin, Vince Gill and Steve Wariner on the Asleep at the Wheel recording RIDE WITH BOB.
In 2002, Merle Haggard’s album TWO OLD FRIENDS, with Al Brumley, Jr., was nominated for a Grammy in the Gospel field. Besides playing piano on that, Floyd performed on Merle’s television special, FOR THE RECORD, which was broadcast live from the Las Vegas Hilton. In July 2002, Floyd won the WILL ROGERS COWBOY AWARD from the Academy of Western Artists for Western Swing Instrumentalist of the Year.
In 1986, on Al Stricklin’s 75th birthday, Floyd was a special guest on Al’s live album recorded in Fort Worth.
Between his musical gigs, Floyd served as musical director (and sometimes co-host) of Jim Hightower’s nationally syndicated radio broadcast.
Floyd has released six albums of his own. Among them are HIGHTOWER BOOGIE WOOGIE and five highly rated recordings for children: BABY ROAD, THE WHITE ALBUM, THE FOUR TOTS, PEGGY SUE WITH BUDDY HOLLY’S ORIGINAL CRICKETS and SLEEPY IN SEATTLE.
Co-producer GARY BRISTOL is an accomplished performer, bassist, and musical director. He was born in Dallas, Texas, grew up in Midland, and attended T.C.U. and the University of North Texas. Gary now lives in New York City with his wife Susan, son Noah, and dog Sparky.
As a musician, he has played and recorded with numerous artists including: Dr. John, Maria Muldaur, Shawn Colvin, Nicolette Larson, Henry Gross, Lee Greenwood, Warren Ham, Bonnie Raitt, Lee Ann Rimes, Tania Tucker, Delbert McClinton, John Leventhal and Jim Lauderdale, just to name a few. Gary is familiar with the Broadway stage, starting with THE BEST LITTLE WHOREHOUSE IN TEXAS which led to PUMP BOYS AND DINETTES, LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS, Randy Newman’s FAUST, LONE STAR LOVE, The Who's TOMMY, and Elton John/Tim Rice's AIDA. Gary's Broadway career has led him to play with the likes of Elton John, Brian Johnson, and Pete Townsend.
Gary has also worked on theatre projects and in the recording studio with the Red Clay Ramblers. He received Grammy nominations for his work as a producer for the Ramblers' It Ain't Right and the soundtrack to Sam Shepard's A LIE OF THE MIND. Another project had Gary working with Sam Shepard and Jack Herrick of the Ramblers to produce the soundtrack to the movie, Far North.
Gary has worked with Steve Satterwhite at NewTex studios, recording and co-producing, in both New York and Texas, for more years than either will admit!
MIKE CHAPMAN played the bass on SHAKING THE SHEIKS.
Mike has played on thirty-two #1 singles.
The records he’s worked on have sold over 160 million copies. Mike has played with Garth Brooks,
Martina McBride, Hank Williams, Jr., George Jones, Brooks and Dunn, LeAnn Rimes and many others.
Mike is also a veteran of the famous Muscle Shoals recording scene.
MICHAEL HOLLEMAN is a drummer and singer who has performed and recorded with many national acts.
VISIT Michael’s My Space page for his list of particulars.
Michael first became a part of the NewTex music family in the 1980’s when he began recording on projects at the old NewTex Studio on Fourth Street on The Lower East Side of NYC. At the time, Mike was the regular drummer for THE BEST LITTLE WHOREHOUSE IN TEXAS on Broadway. At the studio we were working on recording projects for Henry Gross, Jim Lauderdale, Billy Marlowe, Nick Holmes and other artists, sessions that included Lynn Frazier, Floyd Domino, Tony Garnier, Kenny Kosek, Stephen Gaboury, Lincoln Goines, Augie Meyers, Shawn Colvin, Warren Bernhardt, Gary Bristol, John Scholle and many other musical greats who were then based in NYC.
At one session, Michael returned to his car to find that his battery had been stolen, so for the next session he showed up at the door with his new battery in his arms. Pretty funny. But after that session, he returned to his
car to find that the angry thieves had returned and slashed his tires! Ah, the romance of the music business!!!
VISIT Michael at http://www.myspace.com/hollemonster
DAVID "Davy" CROCKETT
Fort Worth legend DAVID “Davy” CROCKETT is the drummer on the SHEIKS tracks.
Davy has recorded and toured with Dwight Yoakam, Natalie Cole, Carlos Santana and many others.
He is currently touring with Rusty Burns, another Texas musical icon.
JIMMY "J.D." SMITH
JAMES D. SMITH—or “JD” to fans and friends—was born in 1960 in Ruidoso, New Mexico, but he grew up and lived in Alamogordo until he graduated high school.
When JD was six-years-old, he got a bad case of the Hong Kong flu and was ill for several days. While he was sick, his dad tried to keep him entertained by playing stacks of records. JD became obsessed with Ray Price and The Cherokee Cowboys, requesting Ray's music so much that even his dad almost got tired of it. From that time on, JD was hooked on the fiddle, and Ray Price. JD studied violin in high school, but soon got crosswise with his teacher because he wanted to play fiddle, not violin.
In his junior year, JD and three friends formed the Travelin’ Countrymen band with JD on fiddle, Damon Gray (vocals & guitar), Tracy Turbeville (vocals & bass), and Mark Gray (vocals & drums). They were trained and often accompanied by Tracy’s father, CALVIN TURBEVILLE, who was a world-class steel player and an original member of
Faron Young’s COUNTRY DEPUTIES. The Countrymen played rodeos, Elks clubs, high school dances, and many other regional clubs and stages. After high school, JD left New Mexico and toured further afield with several bands, often with Tracy, playing his music on a circuit that ran from Canada to West Texas.
During the 1980’s, JD migrated to Reno, Nevada, to join Stu Stewart’s band at Baldini’s Casino. Soon, he became a busy freelancer, touring with various bands throughout Nevada and California. JD backed up many stars and was in Johnny Lee’s touring band for two years. JD was especially thrilled to backup his childhood hero, Hank Thompson.
By 1995, JD had a daughter, Jessica, and a son, Travis, so he moved to Fort Worth to take care of his kids. Soon he became a part of the Fort Worth country music scene and is still a sought-after and award-winning regional musician.
JD recently accomplished a lifelong dream by gathering some of Fort Worth’s finest country musicians and creating an instrumental album called Gypsy Moon.
WARREN "Bubba" STEPHENS
On December 31, 1967, Warren Stephens was born in Kingman, Kansas, but his dad, the champion fiddler Gene “Tex” Stephens, wasn’t at the hospital to greet him. “You see,” according to Bubba, “Dad had a New Year’s gig and didn’t want to leave the stage.”
However, when Bubba’s birth was announced at the club, the entire audience raised a drink and cheered; before the night was over, most of them eventually found their way over to the hospital to welcome Bubba to the world.
In 1969, the Stephens family moved to Bakersfield, and their house was often the site of jam sessions that included his father’s musical friends. At his father’s “urging,” young Bubba was soon banging away on an acoustic guitar and backing up every fiddler who came through the door, often for hours at a time. Sometimes when his hand began to cramp up from “having too much fun,” he often handed his instrument to Dean McKinney, another left-handed guitarist who, along with her sisters, was a vocalist for Bob Wills; Dean was married to Tiny Moore of The Strangers. Musically, these were crazy-good days in Bakersfield for Bubba. Buck Owens and Merle Haggard were family friends, always around and working with their bands. Musicians Jana Jae Greif (from Buck’s band), Mack Magaha (from Porter Wagoner’s band) and bluegrass great Byron Berline (who played with everybody) were regular visitors and mentors.
Then the family moved to West Texas in 1977, and Bubba’s dad always had a swing band or was playing in one. Starting at age eleven, Bubba played in his dad’s bands, playing drums, bass guitar, rhythm, lead guitar, singing harmony—whatever was missing from the lineup. Since his dad was a Texas State Champion Fiddler and an all-around musician himself, Bubba’s dad would simply go down to the local pawn shop and get whatever instrument he needed for the current band; then he would sit down and show Bubba how to play it. Simple!
After high school, Bubba wanted to play lead guitar like the new country pickers were playing—chicken-picking and bending strings—so he quit his dad’s swing band and went on tour with a country group called CROSSBEAT out of Wichita, Kansas. The steel guitar player in this group was Jimmy Powell from The Best Lil' Whore House road show. Because of his swing background, Jimmy was able to teach Bubba a lot of cool twin stuff to play with him, and together they were a highlight of this group. Over the next 10 or 11 months, they toured 28 states and opened for just about every country act in the mid-1980’s. On the road, Bubba met Lenny Bowman, a good singer, who was going to Nashville to work on a new project. Since Bubba was a good guitar picker AND a good bus driver, he was invited to come along for the ride. While in Nashville, Bubba also played lead guitar on two other projects with Ray Flacke and Buddy Spicher. At night he would go out to The Demon’s Den and play guitar with Phil Baugh and Thumbs Carlisle. But Bubba was only 19 or 20 and soon got homesick, so he came back to Texas. He made swing/fiddle music in Texas with his dad until his father died in 2007.
Bubba says his playing style today comes from the many, many years of his Dad’s efforts to teach him his favorite music—Western Swing!
Ray Austin was born in Texas on September 10, 1950. In 1957, a door-to-door salesman knocked on his front door selling steel guitar and accordion lessons, and the rest is history.
In 1970, Ray joined up with Kenny Vernon (Capitol Records) and toured all over the western states. With Vernon, Ray was a headliner at the Golden Nugget in Las Vegas for 3 years.
Also in the 1970’s, Ray did session work in Texas, playing with Moe Bandy and other Texas artists. During the 1980’s, Ray worked in Los Angeles doing sessions for TV and films such as Who’s the Boss?, Falcon Crest, Streets of Fire, and literally hundreds of albums. He played with artists such as John Schneider from The Dukes of Hazard, Johnny Tillotson, Jerry Van Dyke, Jim Lauderdale and many more. He also worked for Disney Parks in California and Florida.
In 1990, Ray also won the COUNTRY SHOWDOWN, a national contest. He has also played the Grand Ole Opry two times.
In 1990, Ray moved back to Texas is currently a regular player with iconic Texas artist Tommy Alverson.
DAMON GRAY was born in Belen, New Mexico, the son of a dairy farmer.
Now he is one of the most respected singers in Nashville and a recording artist for Broken Bow Records.
These days, his road band often consists of Nashville stalwarts like Rusty Danmyer, Dina Johnson, Billy Johnson, and Brad Albin---and his old friend Jimmy “JD” Smith.
He lives near Nashville with his wife and high school sweetheart, Cindy Jones.
Frank Gilligan was born November 2, 1955, in Bayside, Queens, New York, so naturally a career in country music was in the cards.
In 1975, Frank moved to Beaumont, Texas, to attend Lamar University where he united with Beaumont native Rick Henderson to form the musical duo MASON DIXON. The two became three in 1979 with the addition of Colorado native Jerry Dengler. Touring Texas in the 1980’s and releasing independent records, the group gained a large fan base and managed to place nine songs on the Billboard charts. In 1985, the group was invited to perform on the prestigious New Faces Show along with future country greats Vince Gill, Becky Hobbs, and Mark Gray.
Mason Dixon was named 1987 Indie Vocal Group of the Year by Cashbox magazine.
The group signed with Capitol Records in 1988 and released their album Exception to the Rule which produced four singles, including the group’s best remembered song When Karen Comes Around which was also a Top Five video for CMT.
In 1989, Rick Henderson left the group, and Terry “Caz” Casburn stepped up to take his place.
During their career, Mason Dixon made many appearances for Justin Boots to benefit the Justin Cowboy Crisis Fund. They had the honor of sharing the stage with many of today’s country superstars at the nation’s most revered venues including the Grand Ole Opry, Billy Bob’s Texas, the Greek Theater in L.A. and many more.
Mason Dixon retired from touring in 1993, Gilligan, Dengler, and Casburn still perform two or three times a year at charity events.
GRACE TAYLOR VOGELZANG
GRACE TAYLOR VOGELZANG has done a substantial amount of professional musical theater in the New York, Los Angeles, and Dallas regions, as well as doing movies, commercials and television shows.
Currently, Grace is a busy teacher of The Arts in the Dallas area.
The Great Recession Orchestra thanks Grace for her helping hand on HARVEST MOON and her featured vocal
on TOO OLD TO CUT THE MUSTARD.