As an Accordionist, Jim started at the age of fourteen playing in the school band. Sometimes playing with his mother and brother for family functions, while growing up, he soon learned to play the guitar and sang with a church choir. This took him up and into the military where he learned to play Country and Western music. Upon Jim’s discharge from the military, a garage band called The Country Gems was one of New York’s finest groups. Since then, Jim has played in various groups such as The Country Playboys, The Blue Valley Boys, also a country rock group called Magnum. Jim has performed in Nashville, been on TV and various record labels. Jim joined Phoenix in the year 2001 as a Lead singer and front person of the group, plays the rhythm guitar, and occasionally the bass guitar and when not performing, Jim like to kick around on the keyboard. Jim also acts as the sound engineer for Phoenix and is also a member of the Cortland Country Music Hall. As of September 2005 Jim has been inducted into New York State Country Music Hall of Honors and appeared at the Hall Of Fame Show. The Hall Of Honors is the platform from which the selection committee will select the next inductees to the Hall Of Fame. We wish Jim the best of luck in the next few years!
Charlie, plays the bass guitar, rhythm guitar, lead guitar, mandolin and fiddle. Also one very talented musician, has been with various groups during his 55 years pickin & singing. Starting back in the 60's while in the military, then with "The Blue Valley Boys" for over 25 years followed by "Olde Country" until the passing of his close friend Dave Case. He then was asked to Join "Phoenix", Charlie is a lead singer, calls square dances and back up harmonies. Charlie was inducted into The NYS Country Music Hall Of Fame in 1998, Somewhere around 2004 started to help out with the Central Chapter of The New York State Old Tyme Fiddlers Assoc. playing rhythm guitar, or base. Inspired he then went to the attic to retrieve an old fiddle found by a friend while cleaning out and old house. He stripped the fiddle down and worked it back up into the instrument he uses the most when not playing bass. There was much help and pointers from his new fiddle family on how to set it up and play it. One thing led to another and a Mandolin was later added to his collection of instruments. He has said he is not sure which is the oldest, the 1962 Fender "Jazzmaster", or the "Look We Found A Fiddle". Charlie's other interests include, Local Bluegrass Music Groups the Old Time Fiddlers and Private Pilot, however these days most of his flying is done with a pickup truck and a lot of instruments!
Come fall, Charlie heads to Suny Central Florida! He can often be found near Haines City/ Auburndale area with Country Breeze, or Virgil Baker "Just For Fun Polka"! Several local Jams each week keep him Tuned up till he gets back to Phoenix come spring!
Jim started playing Bass with his Dad's band The Westernairs with Charlie Hughes and Warren Grossman when he was just 2 weeks short of his 18th birthday. He played with them for about 3 years until he joined the Navy. While in the Navy he played with a band in Key West Florida. Every Sat. night they would played at the Chief Petty Officers Club at Boca Chica Naval Air Station for over a year. When he got out of the Navy in 1976 he played for a while with Duke Piroha and High Country for about a year or so. His next job placed him playing lead with Vern Bailey, formed a band called Country Rain. After about 5 years or so Vern retired from playing and he formed another band with Charlie Hughes and Cliff Fitch called Pure Country Eventually hired his brother Joe for drums and Bob Utter for steel guitar playing together for about 10 or 12 years until Charlie decided to retire. Since then he has divided his time playing with several different groups, gigging with anyone who needs a fill in guitar or bass player for the weekend until starting with Phoenix Band. Come and see him and let us know if we should keep him.
John joined the group as of April 1st 2011. We have known John for many years and while he has played with many local country bands, has always made himself available for fill in work when he is available! We now find ourselves very lucky to be working together full time. We hope you all feel the same way?
Retired teacher, Drivers Education teacher, Race Car Driver [ask how many race cars he has] are just a few of things that interest John. Oh yes - John was inducted into NYS Country Music Hall Of Fame as well!
Phoenix Band specializes in providing music for the following types of events:Round and Square Dance , Weddings, Private Parties, Local Events!