Four Bees and a Jay

There’s music in the park! You didn’t know? You haven’t heard them? They’ll be playing again August 16 at 3 p.m. and August 23 for the Anniversary party. The five of them bring years of music experience to our park.

Ed Bonham starts his story in Modesto, California where he helped form the band “Night Train”. They played for almost 20 years in California, including Modesto and Sacramento. Ed tells numerous funny stories about the band; it was during the reign of fancy outfits and they wore canary yellow suits. One time three lumberjacks came in and announced they were going “to beat up the band”. By the end of the night, the three became the band’s “protectors”.

After “Night Train” disbanded Ed formed “The Travelers”, a band that still plays in Quartzsite, Arizona to about 100 dancers weekly. In the beginning Ed said they were playing “about 50 gigs in one year.” Too much. “The Travelers” have played for about 20 years. Ed says, “I never considered myself a musician but I’ve earned a living at it.”
The group playing here in Timber Valley might be called “a pick-up group”. Ed heads it up, playing and singing lead. Ruby Bonham plays guitar and sings; the gentler, soulful music. About five years ago she started taking guitar lessons and then began singing.

Nathan Brown started playing with them four years ago. He adds some spice and variety to the group with comic songs. Nathan played in the Navy and traveled for a time with a band in Connecticut and Missouri. He started at age 16 when a neighbor who made guitars and fiddles taught him to play so they could demonstrate his instruments. Nathan plays with the Blue Grass and Old Time Fiddlers groups locally. Nathan says, “I never had a music lesson in my life.”

Dave Burns from Myrtle Creek plays a different type of guitar with more “riffs and runs” and also sings. He started playing guitar at age nine, “because my Mother made me.” He has played in California and Arizona. He says, “I made it through the disco age intact.” Currently he plays with a band the “High Chaparral” in Casa Grande in the winter. Unfortunately, Dave will be off traveling for the rest of the season.

Steve Jones (the Jay in the group) plays the “gut bucket”, happily plucking out a deep bass rhythm. He says he’s used coffee cans and other buckets but his current bucket comes from Wal-Mart. Different sized buckets give a “different voice”. He uses nylon string and sprays it with Silicone to keep his fingers from bleeding. He started this after he noticed people in the front row were developing “freckles”! Steve says his greatest joy is watching people laugh and enjoy his playing.

The group brings great LIVE music to the park. Come out and listen; it’s a lot more fun when you can watch the music being made.

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1 Response to Four Bees and a Jay

  1. Kathy Perry says:

    Great job Jackie, really enjoyed your article. Wish k was going to be there.

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