The History of SAB
In March of 2001 Scott Anderson recorded his first solo project "Rivers" featuring some of his original tunes and some of the finest acoustic musicians on the planet: Wayne Benson, John Cowan, Shelton Feazell, Aubrey Haynie, Jim Hurst, Rob Ickes, Missy Raines, Gabe Valla, Scott Vestal and Darren Wainright. Soon after seeing this project come to fruition, he formed The Scott Anderson Band to bring the songs to life on stage.
Scott has been fortunate enough to have a number of great musicians in the band over the years. The original Scott Anderson Band included two of Scott's bandmates from Endless Highway: Greg Turner and Gabe Valla. In addition there was bandmate from Gentle River, Bruce Sheridan. Tuck Tucker, a regular guest with Endless Highway was there also.
Greg Turner, Bruce Sheridan (hidden), Scott, Gabe Valla, and Tuck Tucker
The next incarnation of the band included Darren Wainright on guitar and vocals, Mark Fowler on mandolin and guitar, and sometimes Jason Thomas on fiddle in addition to original member Bruce Sheridan. This version of the band was together for over 6 years.
“Rivers was something I'd been thinking about for probably 5 years. The thought just wouldn't go away. I had a few songs that I just always liked and a few that I had written. I also had a few in mind that were written by my friends Darren and Gabe. I actually have a few more of theirs in mind for the next CD.”
“Anyway, about two years ago I started thinking very seriously about doing the CD and started asking a few people like Scott, Jim, Aubrey, and Missy about it if they'd be willing to help, and they all were. So that sort of put me on the spot - if it didn't happen now, it would be nobody's fault but mine. Finally, a friend of mine was talking to me one day and said `if you don't try this, you'll regret it for the rest of your life.' And I realized he was right. I couldn't seem to think about anything else anyway.”
“So what I finally did was to just call Scott and set a date for the studio time. That way I had a timetable to get me motivated. Then I just tried to think up my Dream Team for the studio and get the schedules worked out. I got just about everyone I asked - a couple were busy working on a Dolly Parton CD - whoever she is. (laughter) I guess she's got a couple of big things going for her...her voice and her songwriting.” (more laughter)
“I decided to form my own record company and release `Rivers' that way - so it wouldn't get lost in somebody else's shuffle. It was a full-time job producing the CD, getting the cover art ready, getting them printed, and then getting distribution and airplay lined up, but it's going pretty well. It's being played around the world and sales are good. Hopefully I'll make enough of my money back that I'll be able to do this again. I'm planning to record The Scott Anderson Band next year.”
“After recording the CD, I wanted to start performing those songs live. I was able to find a bunch of great musicians who were willing to learn all of these new tunes plus come up with even more good original material to build the band around.”
Darren Wainright was born in Jacksonville, Florida on December 10, 1967. An outstanding multi-instrumentalist, singer, and songwriter, Darren plays guitar and sings lead and baritone vocals. Darren started playing banjo and guitar at age 13 and in only 2 years was playing banjo for Hubert Cox and the Southern Grass. He later spent 3 years with the Army before returning home to Jacksonville to earn a degree in political science from the University of North Florida. He has performed with several well-known bands in North Florida including National Flatpicking Champion Allen Shadd, Chubby Wise, Endless Highway, Gentle River, String Fever, and Oak Grove Bluegrass in addition to periodic gigs at Disney World and Universal Studios in Orlando. He has written some great bluegrass and gospel songs, including “Surrounded by the Blues” which he sang on Shadd's solo recording and "Satilla, So Deep" which he sang on Scott Anderson's "Rivers".
"I was first exposed to bluegrass at the age of 10 when my parents took me to the festival in Lawtey, Florida. Scott and I now agree that we probably crossed paths back then without even knowing it as he too attended the Lawtey festivals during the late 70's. I was smitten with the sound of a band called The Heights of Grass and in particular the sound of the banjo. At the time I was playing trumpet in the school band, but soon put down my trumpet for good to learn banjo and guitar. I was fortunate to have the privilege of lessons from an excellent teacher, Mr. Mike Elin, who still teaches to this day in the Jacksonville area and has become a local institution in bluegrass instrument instruction. I was also very fortunate in that my parents were very supportive, taking me to festivals and jams whenever possible. They encouraged me and gave me every opportunity to grow as a musician, including allowing me to miss many a Friday from High school in order to travel throughout Florida and Georgia to perform with Hubert Cox and the Southern Grass."
"Performing with this band has given me a chance to expand my musical boundaries and reach new levels of musicianship. And for that I am thankful. A friend recently likened one's musical ability to the area inside a box. Some people play inside a small box, while others play in increasingly larger boxes so to speak. Let me just say that this band plays inside a very large box. We even play outside of it sometimes!" (laughs)
Bruce Sheridan was born in Cleveland, Ohio on March 10, 1949. As a military brat, he spent most of his childhood traveling around the United States, Europe and the Middle East. When Bruce was in high school, his parents gave him an acoustic 6-string guitar which he soon converted to a bass guitar by removing the top two strings. His early bass influences included Paul McCartney, Jack Bruce (Cream), and John Entwhistle (the Who). Bruce has been playing the bass off and on since then, doing everything from rock covers to Christian music at the churches he attended. He first encountered bluegrass in 1998 when a good friend dragged him off to a festival at the Twin Oaks Music Park at Hoboken, Georgia. Bluegrass lit a fire under him and caused him to become serious about his playing. Soon after he became acquainted the Gentle River, first substituting on bass for Jane Royal and then becoming a full member of that band in 2000. He also appears with Sno Rogers.
“My bass influences now are still pretty much who they were years ago as most bluegrass bassists are not very fancy - and they shouldn't be. The good ones keep excellent time, something that is not as easy as it sounds. The best ones, to me, are those that can sing and play bass at the same time, Ronnie Bowman, Missy Raines, Lou Reid. I'm working on that aspect. I like to add a few extra bass notes to a song to keep it from being boring root-5 stuff, but avoid making the bass line too busy.”
Mark Fowler was born in Greenville, South Carolina on New Year's Eve, 1961 and grew up in Forest Park, Georgia. Mark's father, Roy, was a great mandolinist and mandolin builder (That's Fowler Serial #2 Mark's holding in the pictures) and a founding member of "The Blue Ridge Gentlemen". Mark began playing guitar at age 6, followed by fiddle, banjo, bass and his main instrument with The Scott Anderson Band - his father's mandolin. In 1980, Mark formed The Sunshine Boys and presented bluegrass at Six Flags Over Georgia from 1980 to 1982. Mark's musical influences include every musician he ever heard but if pressed, he names Chris Thile, Mike Marshall, Adam Steffey, Sam Bush, David Grisman, Dan Crary, Tony Rice, Brian Sutton, Eric Johnson, Steve Morse, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Eddie Van Halen, Chet Atkins, John Williams and Guy Van Duser. If pressed harder, he'll stop naming musical influences. Mark is known as much for being a good friend as he is a good musician. Mark left SAB for career reasons (he's an OB/gyn physician in the U.S. Navy) in 2007 but still fills in occasionally when the need arises.
“For me there is no fashion to music - it is either good, and will always be good, or it is not. I find enough good music that I don't bother listening to bad music if I can help it, so I hardly ever listen to the radio. The way I find out about NEW good music is word of mouth from people I trust, although I'll occasionally see someone new on TV. My goal on any instrument is to play it as well as I can, but also to develop my own style rather than copy anyone else's work note for note.”
“I think our original tunes are WAY good, and our covers are not `Grandpa's Bluegrass'. I feel kind of weird doing `Sultans of Swing' and `Texas Flood', but the crowds seem to like it. And we play B flats and E flats at least twice as often as a bluegrass band should have to.”
Jason Thomas is an amazing musician who sings harmony vocals and plays fiddle with the SAB (he also plays guitar, bass, tenor banjo, and is a former Canadian mandolin champion!) Jason has appeared at shows throughout the U.S., Canada, Japan, Europe, and the Caribbean. Jason stays busy. In addition to the SAB, he has performed with The Claire Lynch Band, The Jim Hurst Band (with Scott), Kane's River, and VTW among others, plays on many recording sessions, works with his wife Beth as a graphic designer, and spends as much time as possible being a great dad to his son Jake. He also plays several instruments in many different bands and shows in the Disney theme parks, resorts, and hotels in Orlando. Jason even supplied the music for a fiddle-playing Country Bear at Tokyo Disneyland!