Modern Hicks is a contemporary quintet from Sonoma County, CA. Using traditional bluegrass instrumentation, the band draws on a variety of bluegrass, country, jazz, folk and rock sources for musical inspiration. To them, music is best when it is alive and kicking, most interesting when it expresses different views, most vital when it builds on tradition to reveal something about the future. And you know what, Modern Hicks are moving down that good road.
Kevin Russell, a Seattle, WA native, is a founding member of Modern hicks. A multi-instrumentalist, Kevin plays guitar, mandolin, 5-string banjo, and resophonic guitar and sings lead and harmony. When not playing with the Hicks, Kevin plays guitar in the Celtic folk-rock band The Ruminators. He is also a regular guest guitarist with Sonoma County favorites, The Stupid White People. He is also considered an excellent songwriter. Layne Bowen hails from Emporia, KS and is also a founding member of Modern Hicks. He is the group’s mandolin and guitar player. Layne cut his bluegrass teeth playing mandolin with the Skunk Valley Boys (which also included high school buddy and long time Bluegrass Patriot dobro player Ranger Rick Bradstreet). In addition to his instrumental and song writing contributions, Layne sings harmony and lead parts for the band. Layne is also a session musician and member of the San Francisco Scottish Fiddlers. Gina Blaber sings lead and vocal harmony parts for the band. She relocated to Sonoma County from her native New England. There she was a member of Libana, a women’s chorus singing music form eastern Europe. Among the musical influences Gina readily acknowledges are jazz vocalist Abbey Lincoln and the soulful work of country artists the Louvin Brothers. Craig Anderson on the dobro and 5-string banjo hails from Southern California. There he played with various sidewalk bands such as The Chubascos and The Three Stooges Cooking School. Craig enjoys pushing the envelope by playing the music of The Clash and The Talking Heads with the vehicle of traditional bluegrass. Modern Hicks recently added bass player Ted Dutcher to the group. Ted is well known in the San Francisco Bay area as the bassist for years with the band Hijinks, and more recently with an experimental group called Terra Nova. His solid rhythm and versatility is a great asset to the Hicks diverse musical palette. This is a contemporary acoustic quintet you won’t want to miss!