Performers' Biographies (2019)
John (JB) Arnold started playing steel guitar after one of his musical idols, Buddy Cage, suggested in the late 90s that if he had started back when he fell in love with the New Riders of the Purple Sage "you'd be pretty good by now." After lessons from local legend Dick Meis, he joined the Country Touch Band and learned how to play on stage behind a very kind and patient band leader, Joe Kaus. John still plays with Country Touch but his real love is the country rock of the early 70s played by Cage, Jerry Garcia, and Sneaky Pete so he formed Melmo and the Middlemen to celebrate the “troubadour” sound of the early 70s. John plays a Fulawka D-10 through a rig primarily designed by Brad Sarno of Sarno Music Solutions in St. Louis.
Paul Carestia is a Colorado native and has been playing pedal steel for most of his life in Colorado, as well as in the greater Chicago and Midwest areas. He has performed with a number of top-rated country bands in Chicago which have opened for numerous national acts during the Midwest summer festival season. Paul is also an experienced studio musician and has added pedal steel to many demo and EP projects for aspiring singer-songwriters. Now semi-retired, he spends most of his time in Colorado and currently is the pedal steel player for Caitlyn Ochsner from Kersey, Colorado.
Bob Case has been playing pedal steel since the early 1970s. He took his first lesson from Denver legend Dick Meis. He toured with the Lawrence, Kansas-based Billy Spears Band for several years before becoming a member of Boulder’s legendary band, Dusty Drapes and the Dusters. Bob also played with Boulder’s exciting party band, Jockamo. He has performed with Junior Brown, Lynn Morris, Doug Kershaw and in two productions of the Always…Patsy Cline show. Bob currently plays with the Grand Junction band, “The Real Deal” and plays regularly at steel guitar shows in several states.
Kent Lee Davis loves the steel guitar. His father was an accomplished musician and always had great music playing when Kent was very young. Much of that was country music, including Lloyd Green and Speedy West. He caught the steel guitar bug when he was in junior high school as he listened to bands like Poco, New Riders of the Purple Sage, Commander Cody and other bands with steel players. Always listening for steel guitar in songs, the individualistic styles spoke to him. He told his dad he wanted to learn how to play the instrument, and began lessons with the best steel guitar teacher in Denver, Dick Meis. Kent is blessed to have Dick as a lifelong friend and teacher, influencing his true passion in music. Since then, Kent has been playing with various bands from Colorado to the West Coast, introducing his own eccentric sound to many listeners.
Ken Dearth started playing pedal steel guitar in 1978 in central Illinois. He played in his father’s country band until 1986 which is when he moved to Colorado Springs. Since then he’s been playing with Carlos Washington, Michael Barclay in Colorado Springs, and Lee Sims and the Platt River Band. As a kid, Ken was very fortunate to be raised in a musical family. His father was friends with Doug Jernigan and Hal Rugg. They were the main reason he chose to play the steel guitar…beside the fact that his Dad was looking for a steel player at the time. Ken has been married for 35 years to Jeanne Sullivan Dearth, his rock for all those years. They have two successful sons, Evan and Zane. For the last six years Ken’s been playing with Lee Sims. This has given him a chance to sing more and get back to his roots of being a singer and pedal steel player.
Lynn Hood (The Real Deal) started playing professionally at the age of 17 in clubs and dances around eastern Colorado. He predominately played lead guitar for many years, and now generally plays bass and provides vocals. His musical interests include artists such as Ray Price, Johnny Bush, and Tony Booth, as well as more current artists such as his good buddy, Mark Chesnutt, and George Strait, and Texas artists Bobby Flores, Jake Hooker, and Billy Mata. After 47 years of playing bars, honkytonks, and dances, he is focused on doing his part to keep traditional country music alive.