Joni Davies - Lead Vocal, Guitar
Joni was born and raised in the backwoods of northern Arkansas in a spunky little town known as Yellville. She grew up singing with her two big sisters and learned to play the guitar on her father’s red, white & blue Buck Owens Special. She finished her schooling and migrated up to Alaska where she worked on the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill for 4 years. During this time she continued playing and singing, mostly around campfires. After listening to Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead, she turned her interests to bluegrass and old-timey music. Her influences range from the Carter Family, Lucinda Williams, Gillian Welch, Emmylou Harris and of course Bill Monroe. A talented songwriter, Joni resides in Santa Cruz California.
Hide Kawatsure - Mando, Vocals
Hide was born and raised in Japan. He moved from Osaka, Japan to Seattle in 1994. In Seattle, he joined an early 20th century continental music oriented band called the Red Hot Sallies. They recorded an album entitled "Holier than Mao" in 1995. Later, he joined the bluegrass band Crossfire, a third place winner at the International Bluegrass Music Association band competition. Crossfire released the CD "On the Run" in 1998, which included one of Hide's original instrumental songs. In the summer of 1997 Hide also played with another IBMA award winning band, Out of the Blue in Oregon. During his time in the Seattle area, he also regularly performed with blues player Reggie Miles and songwriter Joel Phillips. In 1999 he moved to Boston where he joined the western swing/bluegrass band the Bagboys as a guitar player. He also played with the traditional New England Bluegrass Band based in New Hampshire. Additionally, he started his own project the Bluegrass Power Quintet with a group of Boston's young talented musicians including Grammy nominated cello player Rushed Eggleston and the former Northern Lights fiddler and Compass recording artist Jake Armerding. Hide also regularly performed with a songwriter Chris Elliot in Boston. Chris's song "Making Up For Lost Love", featuring Hide on mandolin, was one of the top ten songs requested at a German radio station. In 2003 Hide won the first place at the Connecticut state mandolin competition. In the summer of 2004 Hide participated in Mandolin Symposium and took master classes taught by David Grisman, Mike Marshall and Chris Thile. He currently lives in Santa Cruz, CA and performs as a freelance mandolin player in the Bay Area.
Jim Davies (a.k.a. Cuz) - Bass, Vocals
Jim moved from his native California to northern Illinois during grade school. After a few lessons on his $12 Stella six string and numerous garage jams, Jim cleverly chose banjoist Peter Swenson for his good friend and musical mentor. Inspired by the likes of Homer and Jethro, Lester naturally, and even Roy Clark, the boys played and performed bluegrass music for their classmates and the community. After a decade-plus hiatus and several cultural shifts, Jim suddenly found himself in Oklahoma. Remembering how much he cherished the one time that his teenaged bluegrass band actually had a stand up bassist (Bill Denker) join them for a performance, Jim now felt prompted to borrow an old orchestra bass from the neighborhood university basement and started putting it to use. Winfield, Kansas was close by and provided Jim with a yearly yet abundant supply of high caliber influences including Tony Rice, Doc Watson, John Cowan, Tim O'Brien, and a surplus of encouraging and lively campground musicians. In Tahlequah, OK he fell in with a few fellows and formed a bluegrass band called Bear Creek along with famed song writer and guitarist Dan Garber, Kentucky-reared mandolinist Tim Gilliam, and dubious brothers Mark LeMond (banjo) and Dana Hazzard (fiddle), both of whom were schooled in bluegrass music by the legendary Jimmy Gyles. The turn of the millennium brought Jim out of the southwest into Santa Cruz. Standing around a sinister campfire at the beach one evening, the shadows produced several pickers including the likes of Mike Loso, Paul Lee, and one Ken Clarkson. Expressing urgency for a bassist, they asked Jim to join them, and the strikingly handsome guitarist Greg Stock, for an upcoming gig rehearsal. After laughingly assuring Jim that the name "Jimmy Chickenpants" had nothing to do with him personally, the band bloomed. Loso, Lee, and Stock, each following their vocations and passions, eventually moved on and the band morphed into its current form. Jim has also enjoyed performing or standing in with other local acoustic and bluegrass bands including the Harmony Grits, Wite Surfer Trash, This Hear, Dead Giveaway, The Venus Mountain Boys, The Marty Varner Band, The Sibling Brothers, The Intangibillies, Mr. Banjo, and Strungover.
Ken Clarkson - Banjo, Dobro, Vocals
Ken was reared in Roanoke, VA, near Sugarloaf Mountain, two notable landscapes that provided titles to Bill Monroe songs. Need we say more? We can if you want to know about living in the Nunamuit Eskimo Village of Anaktuvuk Pass, Alaska, which means "place of caribou dung", or even Napoopoo, Hawaii (which isn't by the way pronounced like you may think). At both remote locations Ken could easily claim to be the lone banjo player. While all the other students at the local music store were given soundproof rooms for their lessons, Leroy (Ken's first instructor) and 10-year-old Ken were relegated the broom closet for lessons. No joke. Early influences were Earl of course, Country Gentlemen, Alan Munde, later, Bela, Tony Furtado, Allison Brown, and Rocky the Free Range Chicken. At age 12, he began competing at the Galax Old Time Fiddlers Convention. After moving to Fairbanks, Alaska in the early 90's, he joined the Bluegrass Band Alpha Babe and the Beta Boys, and performed annually at the Juneau Folk Festival. While in Fairbanks he recorded on singer/songwriter Will Putman's cd "Middle of Nowhere". Upon moving to the island of Hawaii in the 1993', Ken helped found the bluegrass band The Voggy Mountain Ramblers. In 1996 he joined Las Vegas based bluegrass band Junior Hot Cell at the Rockygrass Academy and helped them to win the band competition. Since then he has recorded on this bands cd "Zaman" that stretched his banjo repertoire from bluegrass, to Celtic, to world music (including recording didgeridoo for their cd's). He has toured twice with this group as the host band for whitewater rafting excursions down the Grand Canyon (even hiking his banjo 12 miles into the canyon under a full moon to rendezvous with rafts, but that's another story). Ken has performed with Jimmy Chickenpants since they first pipped the egg in 2002, and more recently has performed with the Houston Jones Band and the Chojo Jacques Quintet. He also recorded with the Houston Jones Band on their recent cd "3 Crow Town". He lives in Santa Cruz with his wife and two kids.