Rex lyons - guitar and vocals
Rex Lyons is the founding guitarist, vocalist and band leader of The Ripcords. Recently inducted into the Blues Archive Hall of Fame, he is a respected veteran of the Syracuse music community. Rex’s musical style is equal parts country, blues, rockabilly, and swing. He has a rich history in playing live music as a member of several bands in Syracuse. Along with Dugan Henhawk he founded and toured with Whiteboy and the Wagonburners, as they rose to local and national acclaim. He joined Dugan again in the early 2000s with The Roustabouts along with fellow Ripcords Phil Regan and Jay Gould. Never one to rest on his laurels, Rex sits on the board of The New York State Blues Festival among many others, and remains a tireless leader booking gigs and producing studio sessions and albums for the band.
irv lyons JR. - guitar, vocals and songwriter
Irv Lyons Jr. is a talented vocalist and guitarist with a distinctive latin jazz influenced sound. Irv has written several of the original songs that make up the Ripcord set list including "If You Love Me", a track that was included in the "Crooked Arrows" movie sound track. Performing flipped around and upside down, Irv will intrigue you with his sultry vocals and finessed guitar playing.
The newest addition to The Ripcord stable, Tom Withowski is a well known veteran of the Syracuse Music scene. "For me it all began with my parents taste in radio stations and records. They took me to see Elvis when I was nine years old which led to a keen interest in music which began as trombone lessons in 4th grade and Piano lessons not long after that. I got to meet Rik Emmett of Triumph at 15 years old which was a turning point as I began singing and playing guitar and bass, and became committed to the goal of becoming a professional musician." Tom has studied music at O.C.C. with William Harris, and at Syracuse University with Bill Dicosmo. Tom has been featured in many local bands such as; Roosevelt Dean's Blues Band, Under The Gun, Dunes and The Del Tunes, Salt City Jazz Collective, Atlas, Ronnie Liegh and many others. He has performed with national names as well; Gene Chandler (Duke of Earl), Freddy Cannon, Eddie Shaw, Charlie Thomas (Drifters and New York Voices), and Pete Seeger to name but a few. Tom serves as music director and contributor to many local theater group orchestras, and is involved with The Excelsior Band with our own Jeff Stockham. His involvement with The Ripcords began with his writing and arranging horn section parts, and playing trombone in the Boneyard Horns as they were added to our show. He joins the band full time on the keyboards and vocals.
jay gould - Bass
Jay began playing guitar at the age of eight, and hasn't let up since. After studying with Joe Jewel and Rick Balestra through high school, he headed to college to further study music. First O.C.C and then on to Berklee, where he studied under and played music with some of the finest musicians in the country. He cut his teeth playing with Martin Sexton in Syracuse, Scott Goulding, Kyle Esposito, Will Fownes, and Bob Czajak in Boston. After several years as a professional musician in New England, he headed west to Seattle where he worked in the studio with Ray Deary among others. This was his first real work as a bass player. “When I realized I could work a lot on the bass I decided I wasn’t going to do what many guitar players do in this situation, which is to sound like a guitar player on a bass. It meant loads of practice, and a new perspective to treat the bass as its own instrument." Upon returning to his home town of Syracuse, Jay quickly fell in with several revered local players such as Dugan Henhawk, Phil Regan, and Rex Lyons of White Boy and The Wagonburners as well as Mark Gibson, Ron Spencer, and Ross Moe of Jumpstart. A decade later he’s still playing all over the region with these guys. As the owner of Apex Musical Instruction, Jay teaches over 35 lessons per week to a huge variety of students in the tradition of excellence that was part of his education. “I really try to meet each student’s aspirations in tailoring their lesson plan, and to teach an understanding of music that will take each student far into the future as they develop their art. I love playing and teaching music on both guitar and bass, and feel extremely lucky to have such a good thing going.”
Steve Palumbo - drums
Steve Palumbo is the newest member of The Ripcords. Steve toured throughout the USA with the San Francisco based band Dead Ringers which at times included David Nelson (New Riders of the Purple Sage, Jerry Garcia Almost Acoustic Band), Tom Constantin (Grateful Dead), Pete Sears (Jefferson Starship, Hot Tuna) Matt Kelly and Barry Flast (Kingfish), and David LaFlame (It’s a Beautiful Day) amongst others. Somewhere around 1995 Steve played in a Charlottesville, Virginia based band Magic Hat with various members from the band Indecision including Skaneateles native Doug Wanamaker. Steve has played in several Syracuse based bands such as the Homel Alaniz Band (SAMMY Hall Of Fame Inductees), Casual Dogs, ESP, The Billionaires, Larry Stamatel, The Matter, and the Royal Paynes. He studied Music Education at Ithaca College and Percussion Performance at Syracuse University and is currently the band director at Geneva High School in Geneva, NY. After somewhat of a hiatus from the gigging scene Steve jumped at the chance, albeit under tragic circumstances, to attempt filling the large shoes of beloved drummer Dave Read.