Lead vocals, piano.
A year after the 2014 release of a collection of his classical jazz compositions titled Early Lessons, Connell reunited with former band mate and songwriting partner Reid Spencer to record Breakfast at Sunset. Connell was lead singer and principal songwriter for Milkweed, an Atlanta-based country-rock band that toured the South in the early 1970s, opening for the Allman Brothers at the Love Valley Pop Festival and sharing stages with the likes of Jimmy Buffett, Jerry Jeff Walker, Al Kooper, Wet Willie and Randall Bramblett. After a 30-year hiatus from musical pursuits, he joined forces Martin Lund (see below) as his mentor and teacher in 2007. This partnership reignited and widely expanded Connell’s musical interests. Breakfast at Sunset brings both his past and present music together in his own and joint compositions with Reid Spencer.
Lead and background vocals, acoustic and electric guitars.
The original bass player for Milkweed, Spencer also was a founding member of Karen & the Pistons, a popular New England rhythm-and-blues band that included bassist John Daniel and guitarist Mat Kastner. It was the appearance on iTunes of the original Milkweed recording of Spencer’s melodic tune “Granma Country” from the 1972 album sensitively titled Midgets Stand Tall that provided the impetus for the reunion that produced Breakfast at Sunset. A graduate of Yale University with a degree in Drama, Spencer has accumulated stage credits that include Oklahoma, Bells Are Ringing and Spoon River Anthology.
Lead and background vocals, bass guitar.
Most recently, Daniel played standup bass with the heralded progressive bluegrass band Northern Lights, but his credits also include stints with Livingston Taylor, the Estes Boys and John Phillips, founder of the Mamas and the Papas. His resume includes an appearance on Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert with Stormin’ Norman & Suzy, for whom he also recorded. Daniel joined Milkweed on bass and as a featured vocalist in 1971, as Spencer moved to guitar. Daniel also played bass with Karen & the Pistons for three years in the mid-1970s. Daniel reprises his lead vocal on the original Milkweed tune “Outside of Me” and also sings Connell’s new tune “Why Can’t I Just Tell You” on Breakfast at Sunset.
Acoustic and electric guitars, National steel guitar.
Currently a fixture on guitar with the renowned Connecticut jug band Washboard Slim and the BlueLights, Kastner developed his formidable chops playing behind folk singer Randy Burns, first with the Morning and later with Randy Burns and the Skydog Band. Kastner was a founding member of both Milkweed and Karen and the Pistons, and later played with The Homesick John O’Leary Band and the Phabulous Pheromones. His distinctive, from-the-heart guitar work is featured on Washboard Slim’s 2015 CD Back to the Well.
Piano, organ, clarinet, saxophone, background vocals.
A supremely talented multi-instrumentalist, composer, producer and arranger, Lund has played with some of the most noted artists of our time, including work as a musician, composer and arranger for such varied performers as Mel Torme and Isaac Hayes. Lund’s 1985 recording Lundscapes features such musical luminaries as Larry Carlton, Alex Acuna and Nathan East, among others. Lund’s extensive catalog, including Lundscapes and his most recent release, Sentimental Journeys, is available at www.lundscapes.com.
A second-generation drummer with a list of credits that would fill a book, Morales appeared on 11 albums with The Rippingtons, and several more with Rippingtons’ guitarist/leader Russ Freeman. Morales’ impeccable drumming can be heard backing Rickie Lee Jones on “Live at Red Rocks.” An accomplished multi-instrumentalist, Morales provided arrangements and programming for the original motion picture soundtrack of Iron Man 3. His father was drummer Lloyd Morales, whose credits include stints with Frank Sinatra, Les Brown, Barbra Streisand and Dean Martin.
Acoustic and electric guitars, background vocals.
An accomplished musician, arranger and audio engineer, Nery boasts a long list of credits that include extensive use of all his many talents with Mannheim Steamroller (he earned a platinum record award for singing "Above The Northern Lights" on Mannheim Steamroller’s CD "A Christmas Song," which also features Johnny Mathis and Olivia Newton John.) In addition to his guitar work on Breakfast at Sunset, Nery contributed the background vocal arrangement for “Outside Campton Georgia.” He and Martin Lund perform together frequently on Orcas Island where Breakfast at Sunset was recorded.
A talented singer/songwriter who lives, performs and teaches music in Washington State’s San Juan Islands, McCune is an extremely expressive artist with a wide vocal range. Here credits include three studio albums titled Grace (1999), Enchantment (2003) and From the Direct Box of the Soul (2013). Those recordings are available through McCune’s website (www.gracemccune.com). Her high harmonies provide an important dimension to the background vocals on Breakfast at Sunset.
Hamar is a versatile artist whose ability to find a tasteful, unique voice for his instrument across many genres has made him a staple in the Northwest music scene. Since moving to Seattle in 2001, Hamar has been active bassist playing for four years with jazz and blues great Ernestine Anderson and currently with Northwest notables as Greta Matassa, Jim Knapp, Randy Halberstadt and Jim Clement. Hamar’s four CDs are available at jonhamar.com. Hamar contributed the beautiful bass work on three Breakfast at Sunset songs: “Why Can’t I Just Tell You,” “Just for Today” and “For Susan.”
A classically trained trumpet player with deep roots in Symphonic, Jazz, Pop and Latin music styles, Alboucq has performed as a freelance player with Seattle’s premier salsa band Bochinche, The Northwest Symphony, Freddie Pink and the Hightops, Roadside Attraction, Brass Band Northwest, Rhythm Syndicate and The Music Works Jazz Orchestra. He has worked shows with such major acts as The Temptations, The Four Tops and Gladys Knight and the Pips. Alboucq is the founder and leader of the Orcas Horns, billed as “Orcas Island’s premier party band.”
Having mastered his tuba and trombone skills while studying with Dr. Gary Nyberg and Dr. Carla Rutschman, Stankevich is the foundation of the horn section for the Orcas Horns. He is also a member of the Orcas Island Community Band, the Islands Symphonia and Five Bells (an Orcas Island-based Brass Quintet). Stankevich has performed with the Olga Symphony, the Orcas Choral Society and at Martin Lund’s One World Festival.
An accomplished Los Angeles-based jazz singer, Moqui provided the emotional and powerful lead vocal on “Just for Today.” She is a singer who pulls out all of the emotional stops, able to take the listener on a passionate ride from humor to the most tender and intimate moments. Moqui follows in the traditions of Sarah Vaughn, Billie Holiday and other great singers from the past. She has performed internationally from England to Dubai to Japan and has sung with some of the best jazz musicians in LA.
Raised in Baltimore and trained on her instrument at Peabody Preparatory, Wachter now performs and teaches on Orcas Island. Her credits include outstanding violin work on Mandy Troxel’s CD titled If Only Words Could Keep Me Warm. Wachter, who is also proficient on guitar and ukulele, made her mark on Breakfast at Sunset, providing the haunting violin melodies on “Home Again” and the country accents on the original Milkweed tune “Hills of Carolina.”
Guitar solo on “Outside of Me.”
A Seattle-area hired gun on guitar, Thixton pursued his lifelong love for the instrument at the University of Washington, where he studied music and improvisation. A veteran of such Seattle bands as Huston Control, Audio Enema and Braxton Hicks, he has since performed in Martin Lund’s One World Festival, Across the Universe and Concert for Turtleback. Thixton’s credits include gigs with the Orcas Horns, Dr. Dirty and the Band du Jour and with his wife, singer/songwriter Anusha Solayea.
Almost Classical (Lisa Carter, Paris Wilson, Emy Carter)
Background vocals, strings.
This talented trio has performed to wide acclaim both in their home base of Orcas Island and internationally. Winners of Orcas Has Talent 2014, Almost Classical has performed high-profile jobs at the likes of the Evergreen State Fair, San Juan County Fair and Martin Lund’s One World Festival. Learn more about the trio on the website www.almostclassicmusic.com.