Out of the Phoenix area, The Back Porch Bandits have provided energetic, expert string-band music at concerts, festivals and public and private gatherings for over a decade. A mix of bluegrass, Old-Time, cowboy/country, folk and originals comprises their Banditgrass music, appealing to wide audiences. Available in gangs of two to five pickers, from back yards to concert halls, the Bandits will put fun in your function!
Bandleader Ken Clemmer, Texas native and long-time Arizonan, plays guitar and sings lead and harmony. He played sticks in 1st-grade rhythm band, solo clarinet in college, and added LOTS of styles as time passed. Ken loves the improvisational music of acoustic stringed instruments, and he plays guitar and sings lead and harmony for the Bandits. He knows the lyrics to about a million tunes, including several of his originals, and a sense of humor is his prized possession. Ken occasionally performs solo, and his Back Porch Bandits shows often include an array of some of the state’s finest acoustic pickers. To wit:
Josh Tharp’s license plate reads “BNJOBOY”, which doesn’t half cover it. An instrumental phenom, the Bandits’ chick maggot – er, magnet – expertly plays about anything with strings in a variety of styles. Banjo, guitar, dobro, mandolin, heck knows what all – and he builds high-grade instruments as well. (Ken’s “Little Gus” small-body guitar is a Tharp.) Josh also sings pure, clear harmony, and you’ll see him at most of the Bandits shows. Ain’t he cute?
The Mandolin Monster
Billy Parker is a mandolinist extraordinaire, with years of experience on stage and in studio with many groups in Arizona, the Northwest, and lots of other places. He also plays guitar, mandola, and who knows what all, and he sings lead and harmony. At about 8 feet tall, Billy is in charge of looking over the crowds to note the location of the refreshments table. Billy and Ken are the only Bandits appearing on all three Bandits CD’s, spanning a time frame of more than ten years. Time just flies when you’re havin’ fun…
The Fiddle “Doctor”
“Doctah Ron” Rutowski often adds his extreme fiddle talent to the Bandits‘ efforts, and he’s something to behold. Blazing fast or smooth and sweet, Ron is widely admired and as good as there is. He also plays banjo and flatpicks guitar at performance levels, he played with Glen Campbell’s bunch for awhile, and he has traveled internationally…to see butterflies. Sheese. This guy.
The Bassboy in The Popup Hat
Joel Dowling is often the colorful “bottom end” of the Bandits, laying down excellent bass lines, sometimes singing lead and harmony and even taking the occasional bass solo…to the delight of Bandits audiences. “Foggy Mountain Breakdown” keeps him pretty busy in that regard. Joel also performs solo and in smaller groups, playing guitar and mandolin.
…and The Guest Gang
The Bandits‘ pickers list reads like a Who’s Who in the Valley’s acoustic music scene. In addition to our “regulars” at a Back Porch Bandits performance, here are some of the guest folks you might see:
If your event calls for it, we can provide music in many styles: strolling players, Western/cowboy music, campfire/hayride entertainment, coffeehouse-style folk, and more. We have sound gear sufficient for virtually any audience or venue, or we can play “unplugged”for small gatherings.
We enjoy FESTIVALS of all sorts, CORPORATE EVENTS, CONCERTS, PRIVATE PARTIES, and more – anywhere folks are having fun. Whatever the size and location – large, small, indoors, outdoors – we have sound gear sufficient for the occasion. Reasonable rates, low maintenance. You’ll find us professional, dependable, equipped and ready. If we accept the gig, we can DO the gig.
Agent/promoter inquiries are welcome.