Antoine Sanfuentes (Drums)

Antoine Sanfuentes is an accomplished drummer and percussionist. He's recorded and performed with many local musicians and national acts for the last two decades. Antoine is also an Emmy-award winning media executive and documentary photographer.

Pete Ragusa (Drums)

For thirty-five years Pete Ragusa was the driving force on drums with The Nighthawks. In January of 2010 Pete left the group to pursue other musical interests and has become one of the most sought after sidemen in the Washington, D.C. area and continues playing drums for a number of groups and artists., producing and writing songs as well as playing percussion with The Arlington County Symphony.


In a Washington Post review of a Nighthawks live show Pete was described as
"... the Rock Of Gibraltar"

 

Andy Rutherford (Guitar, Slide)

Andy is another veteran sideman of the DC scene. He has played with Ruthie and The Wranglers, Little Pink, The Hula Monsters, J.P. McDermott & Western Bop and Zydeco Crayz among others. Andy has been nominated for several WAMMIEs as well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

John Previti (Bass)

Award-winning bassist John Previti grew up in the Southern Maryland-D.C. area during the early sixties, immersed in the region’s bubbling cauldron of musical styles: swing, country, jazz, R&B, soul and the roots of rockabilly. In fourth grade he was strongly drawn to classical oboe and pursued it for five years.

By high school, the lure of rock and roll was too great. Electric bass was the rock instrument that spoke to him and within a year, John was playing in his high school’s stage band and getting his first paying gigs. In college he was drawn to the upright bass, seriously studying both jazz and classical bass at Prince George Community College.
In 1976, jamming on electric bass at a guitar shop in his hometown of Clinton, MD., he met guitar great Danny Gatton. Danny liked his playing so much he invited John to join the band he was just starting. That group went on to make guitar history and, with one hiatus, John played with Danny for the next eighteen years.

In addition to Danny Gatton, John has played with a number of amazing musicians. The list includes Paul Simon, Doc Cheatham, Charlie Byrd, Joey DeFrancesco, Buddy Emmons, Herb Ellis, Les Paul, Emmylou Harris, Arlen Roth, Johnny Winter, Buddy Charleton, Chick Hall Jr., Dale Watson, Bill Kirchen, Billy Hancock, Big Joe Maher,Brooks Tegler, Jim Stephanson, Joe Walsh, Greg Bissonette, Barrett Deems, T-99 Nelson, Floyd Dixon, Jimmmy McCracklin, Lenny Breau, Bill Watrous, Steve Abshire, Bernard Sweetney, Alan Vache', John MacCutcheon, Rick Whitehead,Barry Hart, and Junior Watson.

John performs today with a number of groups, including Big Joe Maher's Big Three Trioand Big Four Combo, and the Rick Whitehead Trio. In a labor of love, he leads theMingus-Monk Tribute Big Band, which performs highly original arrangements of Mingus and Monk classics in monthly appearances. He's also part of the groupTriplicity, along with former Gatton drummer Timm Biery.
His first recording as a leader, “Swinging Lullabies For My Rosetta” (Mapleshade 09632)) has received tremendous reviews. Other recent recordings include a Tribute to Danny Gatton with Big Joe Mayer and Joe Stanley (Mapleshade 03852), and a swing session with John Cocuzzi, Alan Vaché and Big Joe (Wildchild! 06652).

Over the years, John's won a number of awards for his rare talent. These include WAMA "Wammie" awards for Musician of the Year, Instrumentalist of the Year, and Album of the Year.

 

 

 

 

Andy Hamburger (Drums)

Don't try an Internet search on award-winning drummer Andy Hamburger unless you've got a lot of time. Andy's one of the busiest working drummers in the Mid-Atlantic region, and with good reason: he does it all.

From rock to funk, jazz to new age, blues to latin, Andy has covered an amazingly wide range of musical styles for more than 20 years, and does it so well that he's in high demand by band leaders and recording studios. He has credits on several dozen albums, and well over a hundred local and national commercials and movie trailers.

Andy's performed or recorded with Side FX, the Junkyard Saints, the Natty Beaux, Op-Critical, the Mary Ann Redmond Band, Cathy Ponton King, Al Williams and Friends, John Palumbo's Cruel Shoes, Big Cam and the Lifters, and Field Day, as well as The Temptations, Harold Melvin's BlueNotes, The Ink Spots, Tim Eyerman, Patty Reese, The Coasters, Drifters, The Platters, The Marvelettes, Chick Willis, Jacques Saxman Johnson, Little Margie Clark(from James Brown and The Fabulous Jewels), Julia Nixon, and too many other bands
and headliners to list.

If you hang out in Washington, DC, you've probably seen him play - he's appeared at most music venues there from the Kennedy Center to Blues Alley to Strathmore Hall. In addition, Andy's taught younger drummers at the Levine School's Summer Rock Camp and maintains a constantly crowded schedule of recording sessions and performances.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sam Paladino (Keyboards)

Sam Paladino is a legendary keyboard player in the Washington, D.C. area where he has performed with some of the region’s top pop, rock & roll, country & western, and R&B performing artists for more than six decades. Cited in Mark Opsasnick’s book CAPITOL ROCK for his outstanding work with such bands as the Off Keys, Roy Clark and the Stardusters, and the Fablons, among others, Paladino has carved out a national reputation in recent times as a versatile, dependable and immensely talented organist for a series of nationally-renowned touring and recording musical acts including guitarist Danny Gatton, Avenue Grand, Detour, and Sonny Til’s Orioles.

Paladino was raised in the shadow of the nation’s capital in Bladensburg, Maryland, where as a teenager at Bladensburg Junior High during the 1950s he became enamored with the music of pianists such as Fats Domino, Little Richard, and Huey Smith. During this time he excelled on piano and formed the Off Keys, one of the very first local bands to perform rock & roll music at area teen clubs and parties. Late in the decade as Paladino finished his studies at Bladensburg Senior High School, the Off Keys achieved lofty status for their weekly, standing room-only concert performances at the Bladensburg Fire Department, along with equally impressive engagements at the Hyattsville Armory, the Greenbelt Armory, television appearances on the Milt Grant Show in Washington and the Ted Mack Amateur Hour in New York City, and night club dates at local venues like the Dixie Pig in Cottage City, where, during the spring of 1959, they opened for, and, at times, shared the stage with Charlie Daniels and the Jaguars.

From the fall of 1959 to August 1960 Paladino was the piano player for Roy Clark and the Stardusters, a country & western and rock & roll band that worked the best night clubs in and around the nation’s capital including the Crossroads, Strick’s, the Village Barn, and the weekend country music “Town and Country” jam sessions that were held in Washington at the Capitol Arena (formerly Turner’s Arena) at 14th and W Streets NW and featured stars such as Jimmy Dean, guitarist Billy Grammer, and Dub Howington and the Tennessee Haymakers. After Clark left this band he ventured to Las Vegas where he became the lead guitarist for Wanda Jackson and went on to fame and fortune as a country music guitarist and noted personality on the television show “Hee-Haw.”

The 1960s saw Paladino concentrate on night club work in Washington, with the Rocket Room on New York Avenue becoming one of his primary stages of choice. It was there that he performed with some of the city’s top rock & roll bands including the Perry Mates, the Peppermint Stix, Little Hugh and the Embers featuring Little Linda Lou, and the Fablons, and regularly participated in jam sessions which musicians such as famed blues-rock guitarist Roy Buchanan. During the 1970s he spent time with bands such as the Classics and the Naturals, and worked frequently with local musical legends such as saxophonists Joe Stanley and Ralph McDuffie. From 1975 to 1992 he was a member of the classic rock band Reliance, and spent the 1990s working with the highly acclaimed oldies band Avenue Grand, the Young Bucks (who backed up a number of top R&B artists including the Drifters and Gene Chandler), and the American Music Company with legendary American rock guitarist Danny Gatton.

In 1995 Paladino began a ten-year run with the band Detour, a national classic rock & roll and country & western act that toured the United States, sharing festival bills and opening arena concerts for some of the biggest names in the entertainment industry including Marty Stuart, Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, Jo Dee Messina, Big and Rich, the Kentucky Headhunters, Phil Vassar, Brad Paisley, Keith Urban, Confederate Railroad, Martina McBride, Junior Brown, Blackhawk, Sammy Kershaw, Louise Mandrell, Blake Skelton, Ricochet, Aaron Tippin, Steve Wariner, and Blood, Sweat & Tears. In recent years he has also worked locally in such top-rated rock & roll outfits as the Shades, Great Train Robbery, Random Impact, The Southern Drifters, and the Dangertones.

Today Sam Paladino continues to delight and dazzle music fans of all ages throughout the Mid-Atlantic states with his dynamic piano and organ playing. Currently performing with such top-flight acts as the Paulverizers, the American Music Company, the Esquires, guitar legend Frank Shegogue, Wilson Pickett's guitarist David Panzer, the Esquires, The Jimmy Cole Band, Rebound, and Sonny Til’s Orioles (since 1990), he remains a master of his craft, a seasoned veteran of the concert stage, and a cultural living legend of the nation’s capital who enjoys a vast and devoted following of music lovers who marvel at his extraordinary keyboard skills. On October 13, 2013, Sam Paladino was inducted into the Maryland Entertainment Hall of Fame.

By: Mark Opsasnick


Tim Ford (Keyboards)

Pianist and vocalist, Tim Ford, has been a professional musician for forty years. Performing mostly in the Washington DC area, Tim has performed such venues as, The Kennedy Center, Blues Alley, Carter Baron Amphitheater. Tim performs an eclectic mix of music from early jazz, New Orleans jazz and blues, songs from The American Song Book, Jump Blues and early rock and roll as well as 50's and 60's jazz. Check out Tim's CD, I'm In The Mood For A Classic, featuring jazz saxophone legend Phil Woods.

Tim Ford 703-967-2472

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mike Melchione (Guitar)

Mike Melchione is the consummate guitarist in the style of soulful blues, country, and zydeco styles.

He was born in Chicago, his family moved to Southern California when he was a few months old. He grew up in Tarazana, and in the Antelope Valley, near Lancaster Ca. Mike played guitar at 16 and he was part of a group of musicians that got to meet Don Van Vliet (Capt. Beefheart) and then several years later, he met Frank Zappa, when Frank had a band called Omens. Mike used to frequent clubs where the Omens played their music, before Zappa became renowned for his band the Mothers of Invention.

Mike joined the US NAVY 1965, where he was a disc jockey for Armed Forces Radio on a giant guided missle cruiser in the Mediterranean. Mike stayed in the Navy for 3 years, and that’s where he met a friend of famed Arkansas guitarist Roy Buchanan, who introduced Mike to Buchanan's style of guitar playing.

In 1972, Mike attended a Hollywood Bowl Concert that featured Buchanan and his band the Snakestretchers, (about the time Roy’s second album came out). Mike met Roy backstage, by befriending someone who was writing for a music magazine. Mike says that connection with Buchanan was cemented when he told Roy he had a ’52 Telecaster, and then Roy said, “go get the guitar and bring it to my hotel room”. Roy began showing Mike guitar techniques, and they talked about pursuing more get togethers over guitar technique in the future.

The spark came then for Mike to pack up from Southern California and move to the East Coast and pursue guitar with Roy’s mentorship. Mike decided he wanted to pursue Roy’s tutelage and move to Northern Virginia, where Roy was living Lovettsville, Va. with his wife Judy. Buchanan was with the Polydor label at that time and touring with his band extensively.

Mike moved to Hyattsville, Md. in 1973. He began to meet the DC area musicians and Nighthawks guitarist Jimmy Thackery, suggested to Mike, that he seek out Danny Gatton, the virtuoso guitarist. Like Buchanan, Danny Gatton was known to play mindblowing techniques on his Telecaster guitar.

Mike played in various bands, in multitudes of clubs all over
DC/ MD/VA; some of them were just jams and country and blues country bands, which led to a gig with Heavy Country, which was one of the most poplular bands in the tri state area for many years. Heavy Country played the famed Crossroads Club in Bladensburg, Maryland, which Roy Buchanan also put on the map with his incredible style of Telecaster virtuosity.

Heavy County got hired by R ‘n B hit maker Big Al Downing who scored a top 10 hit on the country charts, with the songs, “Mr. Jones” and “Touch Me”. After Mike left Heavy Country, he played in bars with numerous bands, including the “Smut Brothers” with Mark Stutso, and Big Andy Margileth on bass (Mark Stutso now plays with the Nighthhawks), and then Mike met Buckwheat Zydeco, (Stanley Dural) at the 8 x 10 Club in Baltimore, and was invited to join the band in 1989.

Since then, it’s been a happy collaboration with Buck and his band, chalking up hundreds
of thousands of miles on the road, A Grammy Award winning album (Lay Your Burden Down)

and millions of fans all over the world, and many tours to Europe playing Buckwheat Zydeco's brand of New Orleans music and rock for international audiences.

Mike Melchione continues to contribute his strong Roy Buchanan intense style of country and blues guitar to many bands in the Washington DC area, including Cathy Ponton King’s Band, and the country / rhythm and blues band Lost Highway, and as a sought after studio session player.

In the year 2013, Mike produced his first solo album, with King's husband, producer Jeff King, BLUE COLLAR GUITAR, featuring his own singing and songwriting, as well as covers of Blues After Hours, a signature Roy Buchanan slow burning blues, and a haunting instrumental version of Wichita Lineman.

 


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