Red Desert Ramblers

Red Desert Ramblers Play: Nine Pound Hammer

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The Red Desert Ramblers play Bluegrass, Classic Country and Swing music blending harmonies with smoking instrumental breaks. The Salt Lake Tribune says “when it comes to locally produced bluegrass bands, it’s hard to do better.” They have been honored by the International Bluegrass Music Association by being the first Utah Band (and Sharon is the first hammered dulcimer player) to ever be hired for an IBMA performance and were the only bluegrass band featured at the Mountain West Conference of the Arts. Members have won several awards including Sharon as best Utah dulcimer player and Rick Martinez as best banjo player for IAMA. Sharon has been honored to judge the Utah State Instrument Championships affiliated with the Winfield Nationals for the past 3 years in every bluegrass instrument state contest!

The Red Desert Ramblers are a regional band with national recognition. Hailing from Salt Lake and Summit County, representing the best of Utah. Regional/National performances include: International Bluegrass Music Association FanFest in Nashville; Darrington, Washington Bluegrass Festival; Pickin’ in the Pines (Arizona); Memorial Day Bluegrass Festival (Grand Junction, CO); Southern Nevada Bluegrass Music Association Festival; Bannock County Bluegrass Festival, Intermountain Acoustic Music Association Local Concert Series; Red Rocks Bluegrass Festival; Showcase band Mountainwest Arts Conference—Portneuf River Bluegrass Festival —Bluegrass in the Barn —ISBA Fall Festival

Members are:

STEVE HEWSON (lead vocals, guitar, mandolin). Best known as the host of the Rockport Dam Jam, Steve hails from Huntington Beach California proving that country twang can come from the land of sand and surf. After going electric with the country band Desert Skies, Steve returns to his first love of acoustic music with the Red Desert Ramblers.

RICHARD SCHMELING (lead/harmony vocals, mandolin, guitar, bass). Richard Schmeling: adds solid mandolin chops, harmonies and lightening quick, clean breaks to the band. He’s also an accomplished guitar player. No one can belt out traditional heart wrenching ballads like him. He was raised in the West.

RICK MARTINEZ (5 string banjo)- Rick is a master of the 5 string Banjo. His diverse influences range from hard driving Scruggs to the melodic tones of Tony Trishka. His clean, precise and dynamic playing reinforces the authentic sound of the band. He headed the extremely popular Rick Martinez Band. He crosses styles and is not opposed to musical risks. We are proud to call Rick one of our own.

SHARON MITCHELL (hammered dulcimer, lead and harmony vocals)- Sharon has played hammered dulcimer since 1989. In addition to Red Desert Ramblers, she also plays with the Public Domain String Band and The American Irish Duo. Sharon runs the IAMA Local Concert Series. She is the “roots and branches” of the band adding both an old-time flavor, and a unique progressive twist to the band.

DAVE BATES (upright bass). Dave is a mainstay in the SLC/Summit communities. He has been a pilot, a bus driver, has a tuba, has more chickens than anyone we have ever met, is a farmer in Wanship, Utah, and when his horses are not on the highway, he focuses his attention on mentoring teenagers/youth so they become proficient musicians.