MP3 The Rafters - Behind The Scene
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ROCK: Rock & Roll, ROCK: Jam-band
The Rafters, a Rock and Soul Jam Band, are an ongoing musical experiment to meld different styles of music such as Southern rock, Blues, Jazz and improvisational Jamming, in a unified format that promotes self-expression and spontaneous creation. To the Rafters, jamming is a about taking an idea, a theme, a note, a whim and passing it around, breaking it up, putting it together, turning it over and flying with it as far as possible, out of sight, never retreating. The music the Rafters make is all about the creative process, jamming, and providing a musical landscape that people can dance, smile, laugh, cry and heal withâ¦â¦sometimes out front, and sometimes behind the scene.
The Rafters influences, among others, are String Cheese Incident, Allman Brothers, Govt Mule, ZZ Top, Eric Clapton,Warren Haynes,Pink Floyd, Santana, The Grateful Dead, SRV, Phish,and some Frank Zappa and Miles Davis thrown in.
Behind the Scene was recorded in Houston at the legendary Rock Romanoâs Red Shack Studio. The songs on the CD were recorded live in the studio so that the spontaneous jamming could be captured live, right as if you were catching an incredible live Rafters show.
The Rafters band consists of six players that will have your toes tapping and wondering why there are not more bands with this type of style of writing and music. With all the styles melded together The Rafters truely provide you with âMusic To Sink Your Feet Into!!!!â
The Rafters are:
Stan Cutherell â electric guitar, percussion
Bill Cheek â electric & acoustic guitar, vocals
Gordon âT-Boneâ Brown â vocals, shakers
Brad Fleming â drums, piano, percussion
David Petry â Bass guitar
Russ Burwell â percussion
Stan Cutherell - electric guitar, percussion
Stan Cutherell has been a musician his whole life. When he was 12, his band at school helped his sixth grade class win a middle school musical competition with versions of âHouse of the Rising Sunâ and Louie, Louieâ. Stan was also part of a bluegrass acoustic band in college that won a college version of âThe Gong Showâ with a scorching version of âOrange Blossom Specialâ. In 1990, Stan helped form the band Railroad Gin and played with them for 10 years. He played guitar and wrote a lot of their original material. Railroad Gin was known for its high energy shows presenting a nice mix between original material and cover tunes. Railroad Gin produced a CD in 1996 and was selected as one of the top 5 bands in Houston in K101 âBattle of the Bandsâ playing at Stevens & Pruittâs âDogs on Hogsâ for over 20,000 people at Sam Houston State Park. Stanâs musical influences are eclectic and varied. From Stevie Ray to the Grateful Dead, Allman Brothers to Baba Olutanji, Stanâs favorite bands play from the heart. Stan is truly a drummer in a guitar players body. Other influences range from Eric Clapton, Jerry Garcia, Warren Haynes, Doyle Bramhall II to Roben Ford, Eric Johnson, Jimmy Herring and Carlos Santana. Through the 90âs, Stan also journeyed into the world of creativity, music and hand drumming. He was blessed with many mentors that were instrumental in helping him uncover his creative gifts. One of his first and most influential mentors was Rolf Smith, who is one of the true creativity gurus of our time. He truly turned on Stanâs creative light and guided him to the Creative Problem Solving Institute in New York, where he was able to study creativity with some of the worldâs most creative people. Stan was also fortunate enough to study under Maestro David Baquero, a world renown classical violinist, classical guitarist and artist who had the unique joy of living with and studying under Andres Segovia in his home in Spain before he died. Their journeys took them through all the different levels of lifeâs experiences and how the creative expressions of music and art are as important to our being as the air we breath. Stan also studied under Arthur Hull and was certified as a drum facilitator. He has long been a fan and student of hand drumming and the power of drum circles. In 2005, Stan joined up with Bill Cheek to form the Rafters in an experiment to meld different styles of music in a format that promotes self-expression, âjammingâ and spontaneous creation. Stanâs has been having fun creating music where boundaries are stretched or just downright blown apart, depending on the night, the song, and the energy of the band. At a personal level, he is blessed with two beautiful daughters. He loves to write music and poetry, do yoga and Qigong, read, play guitar, explore, meditate and is very involved with the Mankind Project. His existence is best summed up in a quote from Picasso:
âI am always doing that which I cannot do in order to learn how to do it."
"Peace to all and Namaste."
Bill Cheek - Electric and Acoustic Guitar, Vocals.
I got a new snare drum and an Epiphone Dot Arch-top hollow body for my 6th birthday â cherry red â and tried for a while to teach myself. I believe that I was better on the drums at first, but never gave up on the guitar. I had some classical training early on, but things took off when I met Randolph Frederick Wheless III in 6th grade and started trading some songs. We hit it off and were able to put together a decent band, the tradition of which continued thru high school and on to UT/Austin. One time, I tried to count the number of band incarnations weâd been through and gave up somewhere around 16 (and that was years ago). The longest name attached to any of these ventures was âNot Reallyâ coined by our then bass player, Chas Masterson; when the band had a regular gig on 6th streetâ¦ people would ask if we were a 'real band' and we'd always reply "Not Really,". The name just stuck for some reason.
Another of the incarnations, a failed attempt at a bluegrass, folk band brought a too-shy âchick-singerâ who, in turn, introduced Brad Fleming, our current drummer, who stuck with us though the ill-fated folk band and the short-lived reincarnation of the Not Really Band. Stan, Gordon and Russ come from Railroad Gin, a rockin blues band bringing the quintessential, bad to the bone mix to the equation.
Other influences range widely from Neil Young to Trey, to bizarre Zappa on the guitar front and Miles Davis and Yes on the esoteric, to name a few. The list could go on and on, but for me, I always seem to come back home to Garcia and the Dead as a reference point. Iâve always been amazed at their ability to create on the spot, taking risks, making mistakes, attacking the unknown and sometimes âhitting itââ¦. always âwithout a netâ.
Iâve always wanted to participate in a band capable of the âjam' or 'groove' band mentality, the ability to maintain a variety of original music combined with 'freeform improvisation' and creativity. Finally, Iâm beginning to think that this could be the ONE.
Gordon "T-Bone" Brown - Lead Vocals, Shakers
Gordon is the incredible soulful vocals behind the Rafters. Gordon grew up with a strong Southern Rock and Country mix that shaped his musical styles. Van Halen or Mearle Haggard could be heard on his radio at any given time and he was tuned into both. Gordon likes to bring his high energy to the shows and he gets everybody rockin. Gordon was the lead singer for Railroad Gin and played along side Stan and Russ in what was one of Houston's finest rock bands. One of Gordon's closest freinds and biggest influences was the late H. Wright Bohlmann also known to his friends as "Big Daddy". Wright was the other guitar player in Railroad Gin and influenced the rough and tumble style that earned Gordon his nickname "T-Bone" Brown.
Brad Fleming - Drums,Piano,percussion
I was born and raised here in Houston - 7th generation Houston at that. My heritage is Scot/Irish which means most of my relatives migrated to Houston on chicken busesâ¦I love music ...Bill who I have played with for over 10 years got me back in the buss and I have to thank him for that.. and so does the Miller Lite Brewing Company.. I started playing drums at the early age of birth... I have been in several bands over my extremely profitable career in music. Some of the most recent have been with Bill in Backtalk, then to Not Really with Bill, Randy and Russ and now The Rafters. Some of my influences have been Genesis, Phish, and Train. On the side I am a sheep herder. If you need me you can find me on the net under Dr. Rosen Rosenâ¦ And of course don't forget to charge it to the Underhill's .. You Big Dummy!!!
David Petry - Bass (Thunder Bass)
Letâs see where do I start? Well I guess that I had a love for music at a very early age my parents would take us to an old dance hall named âTinHallâ located in Cypress, TX. All kinds of country music bands would play there and I remember that these guys sure sounded great and were having a good time. I got my first used guitar from my uncle Allen when I was 8 years old, it was an old Wurlitzer acoustic that was trashed out, but I loved it and started to play. I sent off for the âBuck Owens Buckarooâ how to play the guitar. I was on the way to learning how to play. Then when I turned 12 in the seventh grade I started in the Waller High School marching band and I played the coronet. This was fun and all but I wanted to play real music on a guitar. I then got a chance to get my first electric guitar from Montgomery Wards store and a small little amp. I would listen to the old 45 records and try to play along; this was how I got started. My parents and 3 older sisters had all kinds of records, from country, to early rock, and blues. I like all types of music but my favorite is southern rock and roll, and blues.
I guess you can say that I always have loved music, in the 7th grade a new student moved to our school and he played guitar as well as his dad played and sang. We started hanging out together and before we knew it we had formed a band. We were playing CCR, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Grand Funk, ZZ Topp, Hendrix, Eagles, Bloodrock, all of the good old rock and roll and blues. Our first gig was at the Waller High School talent school, we played two songs, Fancy Space Odyssey by Bloodrock, and In the White Room, by Eric Clapton. We blew all of the other talent away and won. Then we needed a new drummer and then I started playing bass guitar since our bass player moved to the drums. The bass was a natural fit and I loved the change. My first bass was a Fender Mustang and w/an old Kustom 200 watt bass amp with a Sunn speaker cabinet that had 4-18â speakers, this rig was a wall of bass sound that would knock you over.
We continued to play through the next several years at all of the old local honky tonks and bars, dance halls, and VFW halls. We had two bands one was a country band (The Country Cajuns) and the other was rock and roll (Boot Hill Express). At the age of 20 I got married (wow that has been 30 years ago). I met my wife in a bar in Cypress, TX called the Green Door, that night I went out to my van and brought in my guitar and started playing and singing songs at the bar. I wrote a song about that night and sang that song at our wedding.
My job took us to California in 1981 and then returned back home to Houston in 1992. During this time I played guitar and jammed with a few friends and would sing a few songs at the local bars and have fun with karaoke. Had to sell all my guitars and stuff in 1990 when going through a bankruptcy. After moving back to Texas in 1992 I gradually started acquiring amps and guitars, but did not play or have a bass guitar.
Then as a fluke I met Gordon our lead singer for the Rafters at an annual fishing party in May of 2006, it just so happened that I brought bass guitar that I had borrowed from my brother-n-law since I knew that a few guys would be playing music, we jammed and had a great time. A few weeks later I was the bass player for the Rafters (I think this was destiny and was meant to be). I was so excited to be playing music in a band after 26 years after such a long dry spell. I went and bought the whole nine yards, custom Carvin LB70P bass guitar with 600 watt bass rig, I now have 5 bass guitars; I used my Carvin LB75P to record this album. I am having a great time with these talented musicians. I consider myself very lucky to have the opportunity to play music again. My friends and family have always called me the music man, I have always provided music for all parties and all types of occasions, I have always dragged out a guitar and start singing David Allen Coe, The Eagles, Hank Williams Jr., and Lynyrd Skynyrd songs anytime after I have had a few drinks.
Russ Burwell- Percussion
For me, itâs all about the groove. I take the most pleasure in laying the foundation on which the singers and guitar jocks can do their thing. My musical groups/styles/instruments have blended and morphed similar to a Rafters song.
After many years of piano lessons in my youth, I started banging on the acoustic guitar in college, often with fellow Rafters Bill and Greg. Shortly thereafter, I started playing rhythm guitar with some high school friends in a 50âs and 60âs cover band, The Bay Front Prowlers. Next came the 10 year musical odyssey known as Railroad Gin. In the hard rockinâ Railroad Gin, I played bass along with fellow Rafters Gordon and Stan. I then played bass with Rafters Bill and Brad in the jam band Not Really. Now here I am playing percussion in the Rafters.
My earliest musical influences came from my pare
ntsâ love of country music and started with my first record, a Sun 45 of Johnny Cash singing Folsom Prison Blues. In high school, I got really into classic and southern rock bands such as Cream, Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix and Lynyrd Skynyrd. College found me heavy into the Austin blues scene hanging out at Antoneâs and catching Stevie Ray Vaughn shows. I also discovered the Grateful Dead in college and trekked from coast to coast to participate in their incredible jams.
Since then, I have explored and enjoy a wide range of musical styles including funk, folk, Latin, jazz, hip-hop, etc., etc. If itâs got a groove, I like it! Like Railroad Gin and Not Really Band, a Rafters set includes original music with a healthy dose of tasteful covers played with a loose basic structure and never the same twice. This approach promotes a freedom of expression and ebb and flow among the musicians which then leads to some awesome crowd participation. How lucky can I be?!!!
I live with my wife Julie and daughter Blair and work in Galveston County. www.burwell-nebout.com I mainly play LP percussion gear. I also have some shitty stuff that I let Gordon use so he will leave my gear alone.
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