Archive for Wednesday, August 2, 2006

From Lynard to REO, local musician’s band opens for big names

August 2, 2006

Virgil Ralph of the band, Southern Yankees, is looking forward to the band's Tonganoxie performance.

The group will perform from 10 p.m. until midnight Saturday at Tuna's Tavern. And, from 12:30 a.m. to closing, the band will hold an open jam session with other musicians who'd like to join in.

Though Ralph, 44, is not from Tonganoxie, he's worked for the local Midwest Carpet recently.

The Tuna's Tavern show will be a sort of a warm-up before the band goes back out on tour, Ralph said.

The band started up in the early 1990s.

Current members include Ralph, who plays guitar, Josh Crouse, guitar; Steve Dollins, bass; and Jeff Spalding, drummer. All the band members live in Topeka. The band is the regional recording artist for Yankee Way Records.

In the 1990s, the band opened for major acts, such as REO Speedwagon, Molly Hatchet, Lynard Skynard, Rossington-Collins and Blackfoot, Ralph said.

Their music is southern rock. The band plays original songs, as well as rock music from the past three decades.

"We actually put a stage show with the big lights and fog machines," Ralph said. "We get the crowd up on stage, you never know what's going to happen with one of our shows."

Weekend planner

¢ Joey Glenn, a Nashville recording artist, will perform at 9 p.m. Friday at Tuna's Tavern, 630 E. Fourth St., in Tonganoxie. She also will perform at 6 p.m. Saturday in Lawrence at the Douglas County Fair.

¢ Virgil Ralph, who plays with regional recording artist Southern Yankees, will perform at 10 p.m. Saturday at Tuna's Tavern.

When karaoke and DJ music came into vogue, fewer bands were asked to play live music, Ralph said.

"For a while there was nowhere to play because of the DJ stuff and the karaoke stuff," Ralph said. "Now the 70s music is making a big comeback, so that's why now we've had requests to play from all over again."

And Tonganoxie, he said, would be a good place to start.

"I've worked here," Ralph said. "I was thinking, everybody's seen us in Topeka, let's do it in a small town."

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