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The Zuzu Welsh Band grew out of a need to perform the songs recorded for my debut solo CD, The Road Less Traveled. I hand-picked the folks who appeared on the CD with an eye towards the possibility of performing live, and chose as two of my sidemen drummer/percussionist Dana Koone and bassist Johnny Haisman, both bandmates in Pipapelli. They knew some of the material and I knew possessed the skills to learn the rest. I then reached out to Abbot Grivich, and offered him the chance to play second guitar in the band. I don't use labels like "lead" and "rhythm", as we both fill both of those roles to suit the song. The band played one short gig at Brevard College in early October and ironed out a couple rough spots and now we are moving out into the local/regional market to play. In January of 2015, the last piece of the puzzle came together when we asked Graeme Adams to join the band, and he accepted the invitation. Graeme steps in to take up most of the vocal load, and also brings some mad skills on saxophone.
In 1987, I formed Harlequin Jones with Tara Mohrmann, Beth Drehmel, and Jim Ericksen. We released one album, entitled "10,000 Shades of Blue", of original acoustic rock. We developed a following, appearing at the Festival For the Eno a couple years in a row, and were a regular band at the Berkeley Cafe, Skylight Exchange, Fat Daddy's, Columbia Street Coffeehouse, and 9th Street Bakery in Durham. We wrote enough material for another album but the band parted ways before that happened.
During this time frame, I played off and on doing traditional mountain music with Dulcimer Dan and the Blue Skies Band, appearing at the Festival for the Eno a couple times. I even accompanied Livingston Taylor there one year.
My next project started out as a straight blues project that ultimately grew into Avatar, a band built on originals. Consisting of Michael Lawrence on drums, Jim Ericksen on bass and keyboards, Michelle Lynch on acoustic guitar and myself, all doing vocals and all contributing songwriting, the band played out as a full rock band as well as an "unplugged" three piece at many triangle venues, including Snookers, The Berkeley Cafe, Under The Street, the Alibi Lounge/Scrambled Dog, 9th Street Bakery, The Skylight Exchange, Lake Boone Country Club, and He's Not Here. We recorded one album, "Lost Souls", with Mike Gardner and Kenny Soule engineering and producing. Again, the band broke up just as the album was released.
At this point, I was relocated to St. Louis, MO where I connected with Nick Burchett. We formed a short-lived band, The Spunk Monkeys, and played a few times at Off Broadway, and I joined a variety band he played in for about a year. At that point we decided to put together a band playing blues and blues-influenced rock, named Reality In Exile. The original line-up consisted of myself, Nick Burchett on guitar and keyboards, Paul Gibson on bass and Greg Hook on drums. We played our first gig as a new year's eve party that we threw. The band lasted three years, and the membership stayed consistent other than drummers - Greg left, to be replaced by Kel (last name escapes me), Mark McClanahan and ultimately Art (last name again escapes me). Our last gig was New Years Eve 1998 at The Amazon Lounge.
For a brief time, I played guitar in rock/dance band Jigawatt. In December of 2000, I relocated to southwest Virginia. I played some traditional music, sitting in with an assortment of bands. I joined a Christian worship team that grew into two bands - SouledOut, playing contemporary Christian rock, and Southern Express, doing a mixture of blues. southern rock, classic rock and country rock. SouledOut played a couple Carroll County fairs, opened for DecembeRadio at the 2009 Praisin' In The Park event and played numerous faith-based events in the area. Southern Express played a few gigs including two years at the Galax "National Night Out", a street fair aimed at taking the streets back from crime.
In 2010 I relocated to Asheville, where I presently reside. After short stints with Saturday In The Park and the Higgins Worship team, I spent a year or so playing guitar and writing with The Zoodles, and spent a couple years with Pipapelli playing guitar and some bass before stepping out on my own and forming The Zuzu Welsh Band. I have also played with an assortment of other artists including Aaron LaFalce, BJ Liederman, and Jeff Thompson.