Lay-Down Ramblers Press kit
Lay-Down Ramblers Biography
Who we are:
The Lay-Down Ramblers stole our name from a Delbert McClinton tune—B Movie Boxcar Blues. We’re a Chicago-based, five-piece electric combo (two guitars, bass, drums, and vocals/harmonica/ukulele) that formed in 2018 to play our own brand of Eclectic Americana, including blues, rock & roll, pop, country & western, soul, and original numbers that’ll make you want to dance and sing along. Each of us boasts long performance histories that include a heaping handful of Chicago-based bands, as well as national and international tours. Our professional goal is to make sure everyone has as much fun as possible.
Richard P. Bennett: Frontman, vocals, harmonica, ukulele, songwriter. A legally blind jack-of-many-trades who’s walked a wire two stories high, performed on three continents and—while a Boy Scout—nearly drowned in the River Kwai. He can’t see color or detail, but if you’re close enough to the stage he’ll mos’ def know if you’re shakin’ that booty. Richard’s background includes appearances at numerous Chicago venues and a ten-year stint as a paid chorister at a major Chicago cathedral, not to mention gigs on Broadway, Off-Broadway, the Kennedy Center and Lincoln Center, and lots of shows for corporations where he got to belt out tunes concerning such scintillating necessities as computer chips, car parts, and Estrogen Replacement Therapy...and speaking of products, Richard is endorsed by Hohner Harmonicas and Lanikai Ukuleles!
Paul Eberly: Bass, vocals, songwriter. PE wants you to know this — do NOT, under any circumstances, call him a “bassist.” Bassists, PE will have you know, are tweedy types who lounge about in private clubs, puffing Calabash pipes stuffed with Syrian Latakia while sipping wine from stemmed glasses, decanted from bottles with corks rather than screw caps. PE is NOT one of those. Instead, call him a bass player—he’s down with that. PE’s been gigging around Chicagoland for the last fifteen years. He plays Meridian, Fender, Fodera, and CP Thornton basses through Aguilar and Mesa heads and Bergantino cabs.
Jeff Grunewald: Drums, vocals, songwriter..When Jeff was fourteen, he bought a Teisco drum set for twenty bucks at a warehouse sale and worked as a rock drummer through high school and college before taking a break to build a career in commercial photography, computer graphics, and illustration. Remember those heavier-than-a-hippo Sears catalogs? Jeff was a photographer and his Barbara, his squeeze, was a photo-stylist for those. When the water department finally put a valve on the drain pipe so Jeff’s basement didn’t flood, he bought a 1971 Ludwig Big Beat kit with the coveted “Bowling Ball” wrap and a Supraphonic 400 snare and dove back into performance, working as “house” drummer for classes at the Old Town School of Folk Music, one of the best places to meet other Chicagoland musicians. In addition to his musical contributions, Jeff does all the graphics for the band’s posters and maintains our website. Astrologically, he’s Firesign Theater.
Peter D. Hodes: Guitar (lead and rhythm). “Sweet Pete” has, unfortunately, needed to take a short hiatus from the band, but we expect him back during the summer of 2023. All of us Ramblers look forward to the day he returns. Sweet Pete is a battle-scarred veteran of the Chicago music scene. He played lead guitar with Eversojake and completed three European tours with that outfit, all while recording a pair of LPs—the second at Abbey Road Studios in London. Sweet Pete began his formal training at the age of ten with jazz guitarist Sid Margolis, who played with Tommy Dorsey’s band. His love of the blues powered his smokin’ licks with The Geneva Convention, his last band before hooking up with the Ramblers..
Bob Siebecker: Guitar (lead and rhythm), vocals, songwriter. Bob, our resident Deadhead, began his music career in the fourth grade when he started on string bass. Then puberty hit, and he switched to guitar and never looked back, though he does take random forays into the mandolin. Before joining the LDRs, he performed with other Chicago-based bands such as True Historians, Hank Sinatra Jr., and the Paulina Stompers. Bob started going to Grateful Dead concerts in 1978, has attended the Telluride Bluegrass Festival nineteen (nineteen!) times, and is a regular fixture at the Hillberry Festival in Arkansas. And he fosters homeless cats! What’s not to like? Bob proudly plays Reverend guitars through Fender and Victoria amps.
The Lay-Down Ramblers found each other at the famous Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago. A couple of years before the lockdown we were asked to perform at the Hillberry Festival in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. In addition to private parties, we’ve played in such Chicagoland venues as the Liar’s Club, Reggie’s Chicago, Phyllis’ Musical Inn, the Gallery Cabaret, and Montrose Saloon, and others.
Where (and how) can you hear us?
In addition to our live shows, our EP—Zero to Sixty—can be downloaded for free from our website, www.laydownramblers.com. Our tunes and videos can also be found on YouTube, and you can follow us on Facebook and Instagram.