The Steel Soul Cowboys
The Steel Soul Cowboys are four guys, Dino, John, Tom, and Darren. Night after night they stand behind Mark Bray and supply the rhythm and energy it takes to fulfill the expectations of each and every person in the room. Night after night they push it to the limit.
Dino Lisi - Guitar, Vocals
Like many budding musicians, as a pre teen, Dino was glued to the TV set watching chicken pickers like Glen Campbell and Roy Clark tearing it up on the hit TV show, “Hee Haw.”! It wasn’t long before he discovered Buck Owens, Vince Gill and Marty Stuart, more great guitar pickers. Dino also discovered guitar masters like Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page and Frank Zappa, This explains why Dino’s early years were spent in rock bands. One was a power trio called Stonehenge, long before the “Spinal Tap” reference was made. Another was The Outcasts, a 9 piece Blues band with a full horn section.
The 90’s county music, featuring great chicken pickin’ guitar, peaked Dino’s attention and roped him back in. Keith Urban, Brad Paisley and his favorite, Brent Mason, were all on his radar. Dino met Mark Bray, through mutual musician friends, and immediately joined his band. After more than 350 shows, Nashville recording sessions, and 2 top 40 charting singles, Dino has come full circle, back to the twang that first caught his attention years ago.
John Mckinney - Keyboards, Vocals
John's major influences are New Orleans blues music and Jazz. He has been performing with various bands in the Baltimore area, some of which were his own, for the past 20 years. A Wilmington, Delaware native who now resides in Curtis Bay, MD, John has been performing with Mark Bray for the past eight years.
Tom Joy - Bass, Vocals
Tom Joy, on Bass and vocals with the SSC, was born with music in his DNA. His father was an accomplished guitar and bass player, recording multiple country records in the 1970s. With his Dad’s ’73 P-Bass, ’71 Tele, and ’65 Les Paul Custom Deluxe tucked safely away in their cases, Tom was turned loose on a $15 auction house trumpet in 5th grade, which he played at the top of his class through High School. By 7th grade, he was given a $20 yard-sale no-name action-higher-than-Everest bass guitar which he played in the middle and high school jazz bands.
Born and raised in rural Carroll County Maryland on ~100 acres of family land, he naturally related to country music. His father listened to classic country like Merle Haggard, Waylon and Willie, as well as the likes of the Eagles and his favorite Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. His mother meanwhile was rocking everything from Aerosmith to ZZ Top. Tom learned to appreciate and enjoy almost any kind of music.
Tom joined the SSC in a slightly unorthodox way. He and the bands former drummer were close friends, playing music as teenagers in Tom’s basement and the occasional house party. Tom was asked if he could do a fill in job with the SSC October 2017 at the late great Pop’s Tavern in Sparrows Point. After a few more fill-in jobs, he became full time June 2018 and has been a valued member ever since. It was almost 2 years after the first gig before anyone in the SSC found out that this was the first real band Tom has ever been in. Minds Blown!
Darren Haitmanek - Drums
Growing up, Darren's family always had music playing in the house. There were the early MTV videos along with bands like Van Halen, Rush, Motley Crue, the Police, and Led Zepplin playing on the radio. Hair metal ruled the 80's, and it inspired lots of kids to pick up instruments in pursuit of “rock stardom”. Darren was no different, and he knew right from the start it would the drums. Those red Tama Granstars and Paistes took quite a beating as he learned the finer subtleties of hard rock and metal. After college, Darren went on to pursue other interests as his drums sat dormant. Six years went by. However, just as everything in life seems to come full circle, he returned to his drums after a chance meeting with a few local musicians. Less than a year later, Darren found himself performing several times a week on the bar circuit. It was during this time the most important lesson was realized: musically, nothing is more powerful or moves people like a great groove. It knows no genre limitations.
Darren's first band that he officially joined was Anamide, circa 2004, and then Synfuse about five years later. Both groups performed actively on the original music scene as well as on the cover music bar circuit. In 2011, Darren earned the Phoenix Rising drum chair and continued to work throughout the Mid Atlantic region, and even performed as far as south Florida. This took him up to 2017 when he decided to switch gears. At that time he began taking on sub and fill in work for other drummers along with various artist collaborations.Darren always spent time studying different music styles, so when the opportunity to dive into the country scene come up, he didn’t hesitate. He has joined forces with Mark Bray and the Steel Soul Cowboys to bring you the best in today's modern country music. The best is yet to come......