Michael
Mandolin & Vocals

Michael started playing the bass when he was in 4th grade and played in numerous orchestras, chamber groups, jazz bands, etc. By the time he finished high school he was one of the few young upright bass players in a 50 square mile radius, had been playing in orchestras and in big bands for several years, and was playing more paying gigs — and making more money — than many adult musicians of that period. But by the time he escaped to college he had had more than a 'genteel sufficiency' of the organized, sheet music-based music scene for a while. So he didn't start playing again until 1993 when hearing the aptly-named New Grass Revival at Strawberry sufficiently inspired him to wrestle with the bass again. Michael eventually became a 'Seasoned Veteran' (sounds sooo much nicer than 'Recovering Memory Bass Player,' or the even less flattering 'Bass Ho') of the satisflyingly disorganized but 'refreshingly democratic' west coast bluegrass/newgrass/acoustic jazz scene.

Michael has played in a many local Bay Area bands, and has picked with just about everyone else everywhere else on the left coast from Alaska to Los Angeles. He later decided he'd like to try playing the mandolin and even... singing. Which he has done for the last several years — so far, much to his surprise — without bursting into flames or having anything really dangerous thrown at him. Although he focuses his mandolin and singing efforts on roadhouse americana and bluegrass, he also continues to play the upright bass now and then. He really loves playing acoustic jazz on the bass and and his musical tastes in such lie somewhere along a nonlinear continuum stretching from the Modern Jazz Quartet, to Django Reinhardt and gypsy jazz, to the Dave Grisman Quintet, to Alison Krauss, to Steve Earle, to John Hartford, to Blame Sally, to the Carolina Chocolate Drops.


   

Dan
Mandolin & Bouzouki

Dan started playing piano at the impressionable age of 6, which was followed by many more years of “tickling (pounding) the ivories”. After too many years of forced piano lessons and playing music that meant nothing to him, he turned to guitar. Despite finding it much more satisfying, alas he found that his fingers were just to short for acoustic guitar. He also played around with synthesizers for a time in the ‘80s, getting into New Age, and Space Rock. Having been brought up in a household with musical tastes ranging from Jim Croce to Mozart, to Elton John, to old timey and bluegrass, it’s been fun to try to incorporate some of these diverse styles into Black Mountain Radio’s sound.

Tagging along to many a Bluegrass Festival with his parents, he got tired of being just a consumer, and wanted to find a way join in all those parking lot jams. Borrowing a mandolin from his mom for a test drive, (his mom was a talented multi-instrumentalist, before arthritis stopped her), he discovered that it was a perfect fit — both physically, and musically — with its combination of playing both rhythm and lead lines. After a year of closet picking, he ventured out into the world, and discovered the weekly Fandango Pizza jam in Palo Alto where he met the future members of BMR. Looking for a variation to the higher tones of his Lebeda mandolin, he also plays a Petersen bouzouki. Dan is also a professional photographer. You can see some of his work at www.LumiLuxPhotography.com


   

Marc
Guitar & Vocals

The story Autumn told was that she was out walking down by a creek one evening, met Marc on the trail wandering along lugging a guitar case along, and he simply followed her to a jam.

"...And since he was so cute, and played the guitar and sang tenor, could we keep him...?"

Sure.

It is difficult to separate fact from fantasy as regards Marc. And as he continued to elaborate on his life story, it has only become even more difficult. Far a we can tell he has spent some time down in the Mojave. A lot of time, actually. He says he's been hitchhiking around for years, a lot of it down in the desert. He also claims to have accepted a ride from a guy in a convertible (named Thompson) years and years ago, but couldn't seem to find his way out of the Mojave after that.

It is believed he spent some time in Europe and is suspected that he may even speak something that sounds French-ish. It could be Belgian but who can tell? He drinks exotic Belgian style beer, anyway. He even likes bitters in his beer.

He says he doesn't know of nor has he ever met anyone named Leroy down in the desert. We questioned him on this point carefully...

What is known about Marc is that he is undeniably charming, wears cowboy hats and various bits of roadhouse regalia with aplomb, plays a very jazzy guitar, sings lead and tenor, and smiles at just about everything. He's good company and helps the singing considerably.


   

Austin
Guitar & Vocals

Born and raised in San Luis Obispo county, California, Austin picked up the guitar at the tender age of 15 after his dad squelched his dreams of becoming an international Guitar Hero sensation. Little did he know, that little bit of fatherly condescension would change the course of his life.

While plucking around on a beat up six-string acoustic that dear-old Grandpa had stowed in the closet for the mice and the heat to gnaw on for 15+ years, Austin convinced his dad to let him buy a shiny new(er) acoustic so that his fingers would finally stop bleeding. Dad agreed on the condition that Austin promise to take his skills to the big time – at the church choir. After getting his first taste of glory on the Lord's stage, he never looked back.

Austin moved up to Santa Clara in 2009 to pursue some higher learnin'. He continued to play in his high school imitation hard rock/heavy metal cover band Vagabond Moon on weekends while giving his talents to Jesus at Sunday Mass in various churches in Santa Clara and San Jose. After graduation, Austin started work at Publishing Power, Inc. in Palo Alto. When his boss Judith mentioned that her husband Michael was looking for some fresh meat for his musical outfit, it was an opportunity he couldn't resist.

Much to the occasional dismay of the rest of the group, Austin brings a solid dose of rock to the group. While frequently told to "keep it down" so as not to frighten the rest of the band, it just doesn't seem to quell his rambunctious Angus Young-esque stage antics.


   

Bob
Fiddle

Bob hails from Mt. Vernon, New York, home of P. Diddy and other musical luminaries. His first instrument was a trumpet, but he played bass guitar for the Wild Tones while in high school. Going to college in Ithaca, N.Y, he played rhythm guitar for Cheap Mice. After a long hiatus from music, working and raising a family, Bob came under the spell of Kenny Baker, Alison Krauss, Seamus Connolly and other members of the Masters of Folk Violin tour, and began a study of the violin including a week of classes with Seamus. He studied with Jack Tuttle, Megan Lynch, Julian Smedley and more recently with Evan Price (grammy award winner with Turtle Island Quartet and now with the Hot Club of San Francisco).

Performance credits include the California Jazz Conservatory Gypsy Jazz Ensemble (Freight and Salvage), San Francisco Saint Patricks Day Parade Festival (Civic Center Plaza), Palo Alto World Music Day with Accidental Klezmer band, Fiddler on the Roof and Jerome Robbins (multiple venues on the Peninsula with Steve Gill and Feeta Bishop).

In addition to BMR, Bob can be heard playing at O'Flaherty's Irish Pub in San Jose most Tuesday nights and at other sessions around the Bay Area.

Bob brings something of a stealth anarchist element to BMR. When things head off the rails and into the musical unknown, after the shouting dies down and some faint semblance of order is restored it is usually determined that Austin started the slide, but Bob cheerfully greased the skids and poured the coals to it...