Paul, John’s younger brother, is also a founding member of Riverrock. Although all the other members then were in their twenties, Paul began performing in night clubs when he was only sixteen years old. He was called “the kid”, but his flat-picking on the bluegrass numbers sounded like someone who had been performing professionally for years. His tenacious work ethic drove him to pick up the fiddle to supplement the loss of the band’s original fiddle player. He surprised even his band mates when, after a few short months, he was able to play fiddle songs in concert in front of a cheering crowd at Kansas City’s Municipal Auditorium when Riverrock opened for Jerry Lee Lewis. Paul played for most of the 1980s and 90s as a member of Nearly Famous and today also performs with Kansas City’s Bureman & O’Rourke.
John, a founding member of Riverrock, started on the bass guitar in his first professional band, the Harter Brothers, in the early 1970s. After picking up the banjo to learn the Taj Mahal style of blues banjo, he discovered he was becoming a fan of bluegrass. In the first year of Riverrock, John took first place in Kansas City in the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band banjo contest sponsored by Gibson Guitars. John has recorded and released several experimental banjo albums on the internet where he concentrates on classical atonal performances using multi-track recording methods. He’s no slouch on the pedal steel guitar, either. And, when he’s on bass, he shows he’s still just as comfortable laying down a solid, tasty bass line as he is breathing. John is also an educator and teaches English courses at two Kansas City area colleges.
Photo by Peggy Stevinson Bair
Photo by Mike Daugherty
Photo by Steve Barker
Electric and acoustic guitars, fiddle and vocals
Dan has been a member of Riverrock since the band’s inception. He came up with the band’s name and has been involved in the entire history of the band, as a musician, band manager and booking agent. Dan, a solid drummer and vocalist, is best remembered for his crowd-pleasing washboard solos. This talent has made him a welcome guest performer with many professional bands, including several gigs with John McEuen of Nitty Gritty Dirt Band fame and the late, great Vassar Clements. Dan was a member of the 61 Country Jamboree on WDAF radio in the 1980s and managed the careers of the Dixie Cadillacs, Glow and Rick Harrelson. As drummer for Blackwater and The Kenny Tuna Band, Dan shared the stage with artists like Nicolette Larson, Desert Rose Band and Keith Urban. Dan Smith Agency, an entertainment booking company, is a member of the Kansas, Nebraska, Missouri and Iowa state fair associations and a signatory of the American Federation of Musicians. His recording studio is his “day job” where hundreds of hip-hop, rock, country, blues and ethnic artists have made their mark on the K.C. music scene, including Heet Mob/Soul Project whose song “I See Ya”, was featured in the score for the Hollywood Movie, Brown Sugar, staring Taye Diggs, Sanaa Lathan, Mos Def and Queen Latifah. Dan is also a regular performer at Cline's Opry in Weston, Missouri.
Drums, washboard, vocals
Allen has been a force in the Kansas City music scene since his high school years when he formed the power trio, Stone Wall, who played at the legendary Cowtown Ballroom. Besides his contributions on guitar, harmonica, lead vocals and songwriting for Neon Blue, his classic soul, funk and party band of over twenty years, Allen has an extensive list of other commercial and music credits. These include the popular Chiefs/Price Chopper commercials ("Get Fired Up"), and the soundtrack to the movie "Ninth Street", starring Isaac Hayes and Martin Sheen, which won the Independent Film Channel Award. As a musicologist, Allen was hired by Atlantic Records to work on the 9-CD boxed set "The Complete Stax/Volt Singles, Vol. 1", which was nominated for a Grammy. Allen grew up in a musical family. His parents, Lou & Betty Blasco, were music publishers and song writers. Allen’s mom co-wrote the hit “My Happiness,” and both parents were inducted into the Kansas Music Hall of Fame in 2008.
Photo by Peggy Stevinson Bair
Banjo, pedal steel guitar, bass and vocals
Electric and acoustic guitars, harmonicas, bass and vocals