Rode Hard the Band will rock the Murphey School on Sunday, September 18, from 2 to 4 pm. as Burning Coal celebrates the start of its 20th anniversary season. Come for great music in a great venue and celebrate with us! Tickets are free to 2016/2017 season subscribers or $10 general admission. All proceeds will go to Burning Coal’s roof-replacement fund. Click here to subscribe. Or call the theatre at 919-834-4001 to purchase tickets to the kickoff.
Rode Hard the Band is so named because its members are, as they say, “men of a certain age.” Read more about them here.
Formed about five years ago, the group came together from friendships among members. Attorney Richard Nordan and Jim Jenkins of The News & Observer starting playing bluegrass together on Sunday afternoons, and soon attorneys Duncan McMillan and Steve Petersen joined them.
Then came attorney Wade Smith and John Crumpler, a venture capitalist, and Judge Mike Payne and Podiatrist Bruce Fawcett. Tommy Goldsmith, retired editor of The News & Observer, plays and previously was a professional musician in Nashville. (And has always been a cousin of McMillan and Jenkins.)
Randy Woodson, then the new chancellor at NC State University, signed on after Jenkins invited him upon finding out he played guitar. Ron McFarlane came aboard after meeting Woodson and Jenkins through his wife, Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarlane. The Rev. John Fawcett, son of Bruce Fawcett, plays multiple instruments with the band, and Joe Newberry, a Raleigh-based professional musician and songwriter who regularly appears on “Prairie Home Companion,” plays with the group periodically.
Newest members are Harry Tueting and his wife, Debbie Dunn. Harry is the owner of Harry’s Guitar Shop and Debbie is in charge of entertainment venues with the town of Garner and is a professional singer.
The group plays every Sunday afternoon at Jenkins’ apartment. The friendship among members is the most important part of the group, by all accounts. When he leaves every Sunday, Bruce Fawcett turns to the members with his hand over his heart and says, “I love you guys.” The feeling among all is mutual.