The Tucson Musicians Museum Invites you to attend the 2023 Honoring of our newest Inductees. November 19th at the Hotel Congress Patio, 3-8pm. Performances from Ritmo Suave, The Coolers featuring Joe Scibilia and The Bad News Blues Band.
2023 Tucson Musicians Museum
INDUCTEES: Earl Edmonson – Travis Edmonson – Dennis Francis – DJ Papa Ranger – Bad News Blues Band – Ritmo Suave – Joe Scibilia – Harvey Moltz – Rainbow Guitars – Tony Terry – Gaslight Theatre -Zoom Records – Burt Schneider and Ray Lindstrom – Bob Mick
From Obituary – April 30, 2023
“Have many adventures. Love fearlessly” (Earl Edmonson, April 23rd, 2023).
As a curious and brilliant man, his interests ran wide and deep. This is best
exemplified by the range of his academic career, from a bachelor’s in marine
biology to his master’s degree in Spanish Literature. With his profound
knowledge of Spanish language and Latin American culture, he was able to
connect with folks from every walk of life on his frequent trips to Mexico.
I feel very privileged to have lived a life inside of the music” (Earl Edmonson,
April 10th, 2023). The Edmonson family is an enviable bunch – full of wit,
adventure, scholarly success, and most notably – music. Earl embodies all the
above. Of his many achievements, Earl won the fingerpicking contest at the
1991 Telluride Bluegrass festival. This earned him a Larrivee guitar that
matched his beautiful singing voice throughout his storied career. The same
year, he joined the Titan Valley Warheads band and entertained thousands
of people from historic steakhouses to festival main stages, over the course
of 30 years. He was a founding member of the Tucson Folk Festival, which is
now one of the longest-running, free folk music festivals in the country.”
Travis Edmonson was born on September 23, 1932, in Long Beach,
California, but grew up in Nogales, Arizona, just across the border
from Mexico. At the age of 5, he briefly played the role of Curley on the Our
Gang comedy short-film series. Travis began his singing career at age seven a
member of the St. Andrew's Episcopal Church choir, where he sang with his
three older brothers. He attended Tucson High School where he further
developed as a singer and learned to play the guitar. After high school,
Edmonson attended the University of Arizona, where he studied
anthropology. Edmonson took a strong interest in Native American tribes,
including the Pascua Yaqui Tribe, helping to produce a Spanish-Yaqui
dictionary. As a result, in 1948, the tribe made him an honorary
member. Travis studied other native communities, and even lived on an Apache reservation.
Edmonson did not graduate from the University of Arizona, but he "became
locally famous for serenading college girls". In the early 1950s, Edmonson
served in the United States Army, before beginning his musical career in San
Francisco. After singing solo, he joined a quartet, the Gateway
Singers with Louis Gottlieb. In 1958, he left the Gateway Singers to form Bud
& Travis along with Bud Dashiell, a friend of his brother. The two released 11
singles and eight albums from 1958 to 1965 and became quite popular,
appearing at many nightclubs and on television, including a guest
appearance on the show The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet. The two
played folk music, infused with the influence of Mexican styles that
Edmonson enjoyed, particularly mariachi. After seven years together, the
two split up and Edmonson continued to perform solo.
Edmonson was considered a folk music "pioneer" and influenced groups such
as the Kingston Trio. Bob Shane, the only surviving member of the trio,
said in an interview that he "idolized him," saying "he had command of the
stage better than anyone I've ever seen." Edmonson suffered a stroke in
1982, after which he experienced health problems and performed little until
his death on May 9, 2009, in Mesa, Arizona.
Dennis Francis – DJ Papa Ranger
Dennis Francis aka Papa Ranger was born in Kingston, Jamaica in 1956 and
began his musical journey in the streets of Trenchtown, a west Kingston
Jamaican slum in 1969. At 15 he would wait till his family was asleep and
escape out the window to become a DJ.
Between 1978 and 1990 he brought reggae to Detroit, Chicago, New York,
and Cleveland. Moving to Tucson where Reggae was off the beaten track
was “the perfect place, because Tucson has good vibes for appreciating my
music, which is strictly reggae.”
In 1990 and ’01, he was a DJ on KXCI Community Radio. His big break as a
DJ came at a UA tailgate football party. Reggae music became popular at
fraternities and parties across the city. In 1993, he was discovered by KEKO
the Echo 92.1 and 106.3 FM, and his “Reggae Connection” show aired each
Saturday and Sunday from 10pm to 2:00am. His music ranged across the Tohono O’odham, White Mountain Apache, San
Xavier, and Havasupai Indian Reservations. He worked as a DJ locally in
Tucson at Paragon, NYC, Charlie’s, and the Rock.
He Was A DJ in Tucson for over 30 years and had a DJ Residence at Chicago
Bar for more than 25 years. He was also a concert promoter and brought
numerous reggae acts to Tucson, his family estimates that he must have
produced at least 1000 concerts over three decades under the 12 Tribes
Entertainment umbrella. He Positively Helped the City thru Music and
charity endeavors and his memory continued to spread the message of Love
& Unity in Tucson.
Bad News Blues Band
The Bad News Blues Band was formed in 1992 by Mike “Johnny Guitar”
Blommer and has performed all over the world. From local dive bars to
international stages, as headliners or support for legendary artists, this band
has done it all. With eight albums released since 1997, the Bad News Blues
Band has received radio airplay worldwide, and at one time even held the
distinction of “Most Downloaded Blues Song” on the website MP3.com.
Another proud achievement came when the band’s original song Texas was
broadcast as the theme music during the NASCAR Texas Cup Series race.
The Bad News Blues Band is a horn driven, swing loving, tongue in cheek
homage to the days of old. With a huge nod to Louis Jordan and Charles
Brown, and the guitar influence of Texas legends Long John Hunter and
Johnny “Guitar” Watson, the Bad News Blues Band creates its own brand of
pure Arizona blues that will get you up on your feet for a musical joyride. The
Arizona Republic has lauded the band as Arizona’s premiere purveyors of
electric Blues, aptly describing its style as “Hardcore Blues meets Big Band
Swing”. In addition to being the very first band inducted into the Arizona Blues Hall
of Fame, each member has also been inducted individually on their own
merits. The Bad News Blues Band has won multiple awards including the
Arizona Blues Shootout (twice), and over 20 local TAMMIES awards. 2023
will mark its induction into the Tucson Musician’s Museum.
With 30 years under its belt, the Bad News Blues Band stays anchored in its roots while continuing to grow, evolve, and spread the magic of the blues to all!
During the Summer of 1975, Sunnyside High School graduate, Louie C.
Ramirez started the Tejano group, called Ritmo Suave. Before starting his
own group, Louie had already played in local Tejano groups with Manny
Guerrero and Group Vida. After starting the original group with his brother,
Dr. Santiago Ramirez (drums), younger brother Carlos Ramirez joined the
group as the 2nd trumpet player.
Ritmo Suave always took pride in its musicianship and diverse sound. From
Tejano to Country, Pop to Old School R&B, the powerful brass sound always
gave the group a distinctive sound. In Ritmo Suave’s 37 years, many local and
talented musicians have made their way through the group.
Through the years, Ritmo Suave played for many weddings, quinceañeras,
birthday parties, anniversaries, New Year’s Eve dances, and many other
celebrations. Providing music and entertainment was always a goal of the
group but nothing more important than giving back to the Tucson
community. During Ritmo Suave’s duration, the group played for Chicanos
Por La Causa, many church fiestas, and countless families in need. Ritmo
Suave always prided itself in always being there for our Tucson Community.
Joe was born in NJ and as an Army brat moved continuously until settling in
Tucson in 1980. Taking up guitar as a teen and tried to emulate the blues-
rock guitar heroes of the day, Jimi Hendrix, Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton, and
Jimmy Page. In the early '80s, Joe started gigging in Tucson and began a path towards a
more informed blues style of playing. His early bands included Riff Raff,
Flathead 6, Rocket J, and Woody and the G-Men. In 2006, he put together
the King Bees who won the inaugural Southern Arizona Blues Challenge.
The band competed in the International Blues Challenge (IBC) in Memphis in
January 2007. Joe was a founding member of the Coolers and has played in the band for
over 14 years. In the last couple years, he has played as sideman for the
Amosphere, Paul Green and Midnight Blue and other Tucson bands. Joe has
had the good fortune of sharing the stage or playing with Tommy Castro,
Savoy Brown, Marcia Ball, Zac Harmon, Pinetop Perkins, Janiva Magness,
Bob Corritore, and many of Tucson’s excellent local musicians. Joe
volunteered with the Southern Arizona Blues and Heritage Foundation
(SABHF) and served as the stage manager for five of their festivals. Over the
years he has played many benefits, fundraisers, and memorial events.
Harvey Moltz – Rainbow Guitars
In 1972, I was offered a job here in Tucson at Mingus Guitars on 4th Ave. My
job was to learn how to repair guitars. This was the start of my music store
journey. I really loved restoring old instruments, but I was terribly slow at it.
Making $30 a week with a wife and two kids was a little tight. In August of
1975 with a bank loan of $7500.00, Kathleen and I opened Rainbow Guitars
in a tiny 800 sq. ft building on Grant Road in Tucson.
Over the last 48 years Rainbow Guitars has been nationally recognized with
awards from the National Association of Music Merchants for Best Music
Store and Best Guitar Shop. Serving local, national and worldwide musicians
has led to a lifetime of amazing friends, and incredible customers including a
who’s who list of some of the greatest musicians of our lifetime.
Back in 1993 Giant Sand’s Howe Gelb asked me if I wanted to record a song
for him to be featured on Victoria Williams Sweet Relief album and of course
without any real experience I said yes. This let to about a brief 10-year stint
in trying to learn the art of recording. It was personally rewarding getting to
work with lots of great local Arizona artists including Jimmy Eat World,
Giant Sand and Rainer Ptacek.
Tony Terry – Gaslight Theatre
Tony Terry is the founder of The Gaslight Theatre, The Gaslight Music Hall,
Grandma Tony’s Pizza, and Little Anthony’s Diner.
Tony started the Gaslight Theatre Monday Night Concert Series over 25
years ago to help local bands and musicians to have a great venue to play
that is family oriented. Tony loves live music and wants to help introduce to
the younger generations the great music he grew up listening to. The
Gaslight Music Hall has been the perfect extension to this love of live music,
allowing Tucson and Oro Valley even more nights to enjoy live music!
Sam Taylor, famous blues musician, was Tony’s first booking – which was at
the University of Arizona’s Grandma Tony’s Pizza location. Some of the first
bookings in the concert series were Gaslight favorites, Armen Dertadian and
Mickey Greco Trio and Lisa Otey, Arizona Blues Hall of Famer. We also have
long-standing groups that perform annually at both Gaslight locations,
including The Tributaries, The Manhattan Dolls, Mr. Boogie Woogie, and the
Sons of the Pioneers!
Tony does have a minor in technical theatre from the U of A and was the
youngest mainstage stage manager at the U of A during his college years and
has been entertaining and feeding Tucson for 46 years! Standing behind the
moto “There is no substitute for hard work,” Tony continues to grow his
companies and expand his audiences and entertainment options provided to
our community. Tony thanks his family for their constant support and for
all the loyal friends and staff that have stayed by his side for almost 40 years!
Zoom Records – Burt Schneider and Ray Lindstrom
Bob Mick was born in Benton Illinois on October 20, 1949. and moved to
Tucson in 1976. Bob served in Vietnam and while stationed at Fort
Monmouth, New Jersey he built his first electric guitar. After moving to
Tucson, he became involved in woodworking and began to build electric
guitars and basses for Tucson musicians. He has built instruments for many
prominent Tucson musicians including many TMM honorees including Brian
Bromberg, Ed Friedland, Mike Blummer, Howard Wooten, Brian Dean and
Amo Chip Dabney, and Robert Thanes. His first order for a guitar was from
Barney Narcho in 1981, since then he has built guitars for many other
Tucson Area Musicians and friends.
Tucson Musicians Museum Mentorship Program
This program is a critical component of the TMM mission – to perpetuate
Tucson's unique musical heritage and culture. By partnering with public and
charter schools, established music- related organizations and youth-oriented
clubs and associations, TMM shall assist in the preservation of Tucson's
sound by matching qualified professional musicians with qualified young
musicians, who might otherwise be unable to afford such guidance.
Developing sustained youth/mentor relationships is a TMM goal. Interested
and underserved youth in Tucson will benefit as will seasoned musicians who
graciously give of their time and talents for so many years. Funds raised for
the TMM Mentorship Program will assist in the purchase of instruments and
books for the students, and will also go toward financially compensating
professional musicians, as mentors, for their time and contribution to youths'
Additionally, TMM hopes to reach as many young people as possible. In
school programs expose Tucson's youth to the many different genres of music
that have created Tucson's musical culture. A TMM – school partnership is a
low-cost method of introducing students to their local musical heritage,
encourage the art of music appreciation and ultimate participation in healthy
and rewarding pastimes and activities.
TMM is excited about opportunities that can be available for young musicians
in a TMM music mentorship alliance. Mentoring is not limited to learning the
scales or a piece of music to practice. Mentors will share professional
development tactics about the business of music such as how to form a band,
budgeting, and tax considerations, how to record a demo CD in a studio, how
to market and promote the band. Young partners will also learn about the
history of their instruments and musical genres. The study of music will also
help students in the areas of math and meter, teamwork, sociology, and
overall creative development. Ideally, young people will find a positive
community in which to belong, productive ways to spend free time, develop
increased self- esteem, and discover pride in a musical genre or culture.
Tucson Musicians Museum understands that it will be the support of the
community that makes this program a success for Tucson's youth.