Aspen Meadow Band - Music From The Heart

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The Band

Below you will find some short biographies of each member of the Aspen Meadow Band. If you wish to contact any of the members click here.

Matthew Senn
Lead & Rhythm Guitar

Matthew is currently studying music as a student at Berklee College of Music, in Boston, Massachusetts, where he is double majoring in guitar performance and music therapy. He plays a combination of rhythm, lead and slide guitar. He also enjoys playing the mandolin, banjo and ukulele. Matthew says he plays music because it is an expression of the soul and a way to touch people. He is thankful for his ability to take an object made of wood or metal and make music.”MUSIC = LIFE.”

Q: When did you start playing guitar?
A: 2004

Q: What was the first song you learned to play?
A: Blackbird by the Beatles

Q: Who are some of your musical influences?
A: Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin, David Gilmore of Pink Floyd, Eric Abate, Frank Sinatra, Stevie Ray Vaughn, B.B King, John Denver, Doc Watson, and many others.

Q: List the 5 CDs you’re listening to now?
A: Sign No More by Mumford and Sons, Cowboy Bebop by The Seatbelts, I and Love and You by The Avett Brothers, Fleet Foxes by Fleet Foxes, and London Calling by The Clash

Q: What is your connection to music?
A: I love playing music because it is something that transcends cultures. It is something that people from all over the world can feel and experience. Because it is so universal it is way that I can connect with people and, for a moment, share who I am with them.

Tom Hamilton

Since completing his Master’s degree in Music Performance from Oklahoma City University in 2011, Tom Hamilton has been performing with many ensembles in and around the Eugene and Portland areas including the West Winds Flute Choir, the Eugene Symphonic Band, and the Aspen Meadow Band. During his time in Oklahoma he also performed with the OCU Graduate Woodwind Quintet, played principal flute in the OCU Symphony Orchestra, and soloed with the OCU Symphonic Band. Hamilton also holds a Bachelor’s degree in Music Performance from Central Washington University where he studied with Dr. Hal Ott.

While he specializes in the flute, Hamilton has also worked extensively with music technology, specializing in real-time human/computer interaction which culminated in the publication of his thesis, Examination of electroacoustic techniques in flute music through 2011. He has also written several pieces for flute and computer, even exploring techniques such as score following for real-time accompaniment and live computer graphics animations for accompanying visuals. Hamilton also has performed with the Aspen Meadow Band on the keyboard, the EWI and an occasional backup vocal and enjoys playing other instruments as well, such as saxophone, harmonica, and recorder.

Q: When did you start playing flute?
A: Age 11.

Q: Who are some of your musical influences?
A: Emmanuel Pahud, Ian Clarke, Project Trio, Nickel Creek, Astor Piazzolla, and of course the many music professors and teachers I’ve studied under.

Q: What are you into?
A: Dancing Argentine Tango

Q: What is your connection to music?
A: I have always been drawn to music. Before I could even explain it, I felt that there were things that music communicated that nothing else could. Since I discovered the flute, many other interests have come and gone, but music has always been constant. It was almost as though there was no other career choice to be made. Music is just what I am supposed to be doing.

Derek Boone
Percussion, Lead & Background Vocals

I was born with rhythm. At least that’s what they tell me. As a baby, I would listen to The Beatles and move in time with the music as if I had heard it a hundred times before. By the first grade, my report card stated that I had a natural feel for music, particularly percussion. At some point, I think it was the fourth grade, recruits for middle school band began testing for potential in one of two things: melodic instruments (Flutophone) or percussion (Shaker). It goes without saying that I was quickly categorized with the other potential percussion players. So the next year, without hesitation, I took my place amongst the other eager drummers. It wasn’t the immediate rise to the top of the food chain like I had hoped it would be; there were some talented kids in that school. I stuck it out, however, and finally my chance came… our lead drummer, Darrell “Mickey” Marugg, couldn’t attend the biggest event of the year, and I was the only drummer that was in a position to play the whole kit (usually I was just on snare drum). Seconds before my drum set debut, and out of sheer panic, I found myself with my head between my knees. By some miracle I conquered my fears, got through that gig and was on cloud nine the rest of the day. I knew, for the first time, the feeling of performing in front of an audience, and I was HOOKED.

It’s hard to describe the joy of making a large (or small) group of people smile. It’s a selfish endeavor but it isn’t, if that makes any sense. We give so much of ourselves and in return get rewarded so highly that it becomes addictive, at least for me. When I watch an artist perform and I feel inspired by it, there is nothing I want more than to inspire others in that very same way. I think that is how most performers think and feel.

My love affair with rhythm started in 1966 and has brought me through almost four complete decades. It’s hard to believe how fast that time has gone. I have accomplished a lot in my music career: from middle school band, as I mentioned, to the high school basement band, and on to the bands that would start my music career rolling in a much more serious direction… Beggars Urn; Krimson; Josephine Ocean; The Waiting; Off The Record; Blue Soul; Blue Light Special; Mother Joseph’s Academy Players; The Beagles; DeNada Band; Carrie Cunningham and the Six Shooters; Aspen Meadow Band… I’m sure I missed a few.

These bands have taken me to many places around the globe and have shaped me into the musician I am today. It is work, but it is not; it is easy, but it is hard; it will always be, and it will never be enough.

Gary Lapado
Lead & Rhythm Guitar, Pedal Steel, Fiddle, Mandolin and Vocals

On lead and rhythm guitar, pedal steel, fiddle, mandolin and vocals, Gary, originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, carries over 38 years of live performance experience. He’s toured as Johnny Lee’s lead guitar man and fiddler and has opened for such acts as Brooks and Dunn, The Charlie Daniels Band, Keith Urban, Leann Rimes, Booker T and the MGs, The Little River Band and Taj Mahal, just to name a few. Gary’s incredible virtuosity and versatility never fails to wow audiences. From his epic version of Dire Straits’ Sultans of swing, to his foot-stomping fiddling on Orange Blossom Special and Devil Went Down to Georgia, Gary’s awe-inspiring performances will leave you wanting for more.

Acts Gary has performed with include: Johnny Lee, Commander Cody, All Night Cowboys, Last Rodeo Band, Jeff and the Revolvers, True West, Santa Fe, Tom Mann Band, Dirt Farm Cowboys, Shwing Daddies, Tiffany Carlson, Nicole Wells, Rae Gordon, Carrie Cunningham and the 6 shooters, De Nada Band, Boomeration, Ted Vigil, 24-7, Hifi Mojo, Russ Hess, Thrillride, Edward Street Band, Aspen Meadow Band, Kimberly Hall

Scott Bickford
Bass Guitar and Vocals

Scott knew from the age of four that he was going to be performing and playing music when he would jump up on to the picnic table and sing songs about how much he loved his mother’s spaghetti. Performing music all through school and into college at the nearby community college. Playing bass guitar professionally since 1974 in many bands with many different styles from rock to folk to country and happiest when he is playing with other musicians that share his love for working out correct parts and harmonies. Usually on bass guitar but proficient on mandolin as well to the point of playing solo for weddings and brunches at a quaint little restaurant south of Portland OR. “I do love playing music because it being an art, has the ability to communicate and rekindle a spirit”

Rob Ertler
Piano/Keyboard and Vocals

“I started playing piano at age five doing recitals every year at the local church.” At age 8, Robbie played at the Corbett County Fair, performing one of his first originals, “Rockaway Boogie.” By age eleven, Robbie was deemed a prodigy, studying and performing advanced adult coursework at the virtuoso level in piano. “My first studio time came at age twelve, making my first CD. That studio experience was so enjoyable that I eventually came to own my own studio and have since recorded over 500 songs.”

Robbie began singing in front of people at age eighteen, putting vocals and piano together. “I studied Elvis Presley and Jerry Lee Lewis, as for how to put on an entertaining visual show, and then won talent shows at the Clackamas County Fair, Multnomah County Fair, and the Oregon State Fair in 2000 and 2001.”

Robbie then started his own country band, as the lead singing front man. “I had written over 100 songs at that point and wanted to play covers and originals live with a passion.” He won the jingle contest for 99.5 FM The Wolf and landed the prime spot at the Mike and Amy Hometown Holiday Show where he opened for Joe Nicols. Robbie won the next year as well, opening for Lee Ann Womack.

Robbie and his band ended up opening for and backing several other label acts, such as Keith Urban, Reba McEntire, Luke Brian, Brantley Gilbert, Sarah Evans, and many others. “We then recorded an album of all originals, where I flew out to Portland, Maine, and met with the legendary mastering engineer, Bob Ludwig, while the incredible Adam Ayan mastered my album in person. Adam has mastered for several huge names, such as Rascal Flatts. I asked him to master my album just like Rascal Flatts’ original platinum album and he did! I will never forget that experience.”

Robbie’s fiddle player, Jason Barlow, ended up moving to Nashville, joining Easton Corbin’s touring band and then I was fortunate to replace him with Tim Todd, who had just come off the road playing for Blake Shelton.

“My band was seriously considered by The Valory Music Group and Big Machine Records, causing us to set our sights on Nashville. There we played at The Cadillac Ranch, The Stage, and Tootsies; met with ASCAP’S Vice President; recorded at Evergreen Records on Music Row; and was offered a producing deal by Dennis Money, who produced Moe Bandy, John Michael Montgomery, and Trick Pony. We also found ourselves in a VIP meeting with Casey Smith of Mushroom Music Publishing (also on Music Row), the largest publisher in the world, who asked for everything I had written.”

From there, the band started moving in different directions, some players switching genres, moving to Nashville, and some staying local. Robbie started networking more and more, locally and in Nashville. “At the peak of my travels, I visited Nashville 12 times in 2013, befriending Martina McBride’s steel player, Wayne Dahl, and made several other writing, performing, and recording connections that offered their support to me.”

Robbie has since become both an ASCAP member and publisher, studied radio-friendly song structure and techniques, and has had three songs in the regular playlists for two local radio stations. He has also backed an American Idol performer, won last year’s Ponderosa Lounge’s Battle of the Bands 2015, and has been vocally trained by local legend Robert Goulet, major label artist Pink, and vocal trainer Eugene.

In 2014, Robbie was taken under the wing of Charles, the man who discovered the hit 90’s R&B group TLC, as well as the group The Georgia Satellites. Charles gave Robbie a gentlemen’s artist development deal, coaching him in vocal and writing technique so he could better attract radio play and record label deals. “One of my exercises was to write a song that captured all he had taught me. I wrote the song “She Closes Her Eyes” as a result and was excited to submit it to him. He was preparing for submitting me to Sony, Warner Bros., and the Zach Brown Band’s label in the coming months when he, unfortunately, passed away before he was able to hear the song.”

“In being ten years older from when I began pursuing a musical career, having been blessed with three beautiful daughters coming into my life, and after all the fun times I have had in music, I have since taken a two year break from pushing hard in the music industry and music in general, attaching myself to a few talented local groups that have been absolutely wonderful to me. I am very fortunate to now play a role with Aspen Meadow Band, and I look forward to all the wonderful, memorable experiences that I know are to come!”

Sue Norman
Lead & Background

Sue sings lead and background vocals for Aspen Meadow Band. She can’t remember a time when music was not inside her and believes that it is a gift that should be shared. Music is the way that she communicates her heart and feelings about life and love.

Q: When did you start singing?
A: I have been singing since I was a very young girl. I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t singing.

Q: Who are some of your musical influences?
A: Ella Fitzgerald, Barbra Streisand, Julie Andrews, flute music.

Q: Do you do anything special to warm up before a show?
A: Praying and meditating for peace and connection with the spirit within me.

Q: Why do you play music?
A: I really don’t have a choice about whether I sing or not. It is so much a part of who I am and how I express my heart that I have to sing. It connects me to my spirit.

Anna Senn
Lead & Background

Q: What was the first song you learned to sing?
A: Juke Box Blues by June Carter

Q: Who are some of your (musical) influences?
A: Yanni, John Denver, Martina McBride, Faith Hill, June Carter, Michael Jackson, Jason Mraz, Jack Johnson, and many others.

Q: List the 5 cds you are listening to now?
A: Tim McGraw – “A Place in the Sun”, Keith Urban – “Be Here”, John Denver – “The Wildlife Concert”, Rascal Flatts – “Feels Like Today”, MS2 – “Letting Your Light Shine”

Q: What are you into (other hobbies/passions)?
A: Skiing, Dancing, Scuba Diving, Basketball, Hiking, Flying.

Q: Who are some of your life influences?
A: My family, Jackie Kennedy, Michael J. Fox, Nelson Mandela.

Q: Why do you play music/what is your connection to music?
A: To me, music is the essence of our soul and is a gateway to our spirit. Music lives in everything and creates every emotion. It is a connection amongst all creation and something that can take us to a place so deep within ourselves. Music dwells within each of us whether we are singing, playing, dancing, or even just listening. I love singing because it is a way to express the love I feel inside and a way to be one with every living thing. Music is one of our greatest gifts, and a place where we can connect and for a moment we are truly never alone.

Marcie Gaynor
Lead & Background Vocals

Marcie sings background and is a lead vocalist for our band. She enjoys making music with her friends and family. Her favorite aspect of performing is seeing how music touches people and brings them joy.

Q: When did you start singing?
A: When I was a child my family would drive around in our Volkswagen van, we didn’t have a radio so we would always sing. From a very young age, I could hear and sing harmony.

Q: Who are some of your musical influences?
A: I really enjoy a wide variety of music. I like Norah Jones for the smoothness of her voice, Christina Aguilera for the power, Etta James for her soulfulness. I like classic rock and disco, too. I like music that just makes you feel good, and also music that speaks to your soul and sends a message.

Q: Who are some of your life influences?
A: My husband, for sure. I love how he can speak right to a person’s heart and make them feel how much he cares. My family is a great source of inspiration for me as well, especially my dad.

Q: Do you do anything special to warm up before a show?
A: I usually sing in the car to where we are playing. Also, everyone laughs at me, but I usually take a half piece of gum and chew it before singing and stick it on the roof of my mouth. It helps if I am nervous and my mouth is dry…I know, weird.

Q: Why do you play music?
A: I have loved music since I was young. I love being able to touch people with music. Music can take you back to a time and place in an instant and it can provide peace and happiness in times you might feel down.

Sue Finnigan
Lead & Background Vocals

Sue is a lover of ALL kinds of music. Her passion for singing and playing the piano stem from musical lessons as a child. Sue feels so honored to have this gift to sing with MS^2 and the Aspen Meadow Band (It’s given me back a part of me that I lost). Music will fill your heart and soul and gives a way to express what simple words sometimes lack. Sue’s child-like innocence is a gift to the band.

Q: When did you start singing?
A: My mom told me that the neighbors would comment that they’d always hear me singing on my way down the hill after I got off the school bus, so elementary school…

Q: Who are some of your musical influences?
A: The Beatles-I listened to them all the time, even saw them in concert twice, once in Portland and then again up in Seattle. John Dever-His songs and what he stood for as a person are important to me. I also like the Moody Blues, CSNY, Creedence Clearwater, Eagles, Joni Mitchell, Van Morrison, Judy Collins, to name a few.

Q: List the 5 CDs your listening to now?
A: The Quest (instrumental) Native American Meditation (instrumental), Yanni (Voices and Ethnicity), John Denver Tribute

Q: What are your other passions?
A: Watercolor, Crafts, Cooking…

Q: What is your connection to music?
A: It helps me connect to the world around me. When I am singing I put my feelings about the song (the words) that come from my heart and share that with those who are listening. When I am alone, I let the music take me to what I am feeling.

Jake Love
Lead Vocals & Rhythm Guitar

Jake Love has dreamed of sharing his love for music with the world as long as he can remember. Growing up in a musical household – music was always playing and was a huge part of his youth. He began playing percussion in the middle school band, and continued to be a part of the high school band until his sophomore year. Two years later in 2006, the Aspen Meadow Band was formed and Jake became one of the lead singers, with a special passion for performing the music of John Denver.

Although Jake enjoys singing and performing all varieties of music – his favorite music is anything that will put your heart and spirit at ease. Whether Jack Johnson or John Denver – if it makes you feel the goodness of life – Jake will perform it.

While Jake has been a member of the Aspen Meadow Band – he has had the opportunity to perform in both professional and private settings. Some of his annual engagements include the “Aspen in October” John Denver Tribute Week (Limelight Hotel & Historic Wheeler Opera House – Aspen, Colorado), The Summer Finally Got Here Concerts (Aspen Meadow Amphitheater – Colton, Oregon), and various private parties, weddings, and celebrations.

Past events Jake has performed for include the dedication of the John Denver Memorial Plaque (Monterey Bay, California), the City of Denver’s Earth Day Celebration (The Pavilion at Red Rocks Amphitheatre – Morrison, Colorado), live on the air for Denver’s Channel 9 “Colorado and Company”, and The Sandy Mountain Music Festival (Sandy, Oregon).

Jake has also had the tremendous blessing, gift, and honor of being able to perform for organizations such as The Annual Relay for Life, The Annual Muscular Dystrophy Association, and The Chris Dudley Foundation.

Jake has a Bachelor of Science degree in Web Development and Interactive Media (2013) and an Associate of Art degree (2009). He enjoys anything in the outdoors – especially snowboarding, fishing, camping, and hiking. He also loves writing music and has three songs under copyright.

Email Jake

Q: When did you start playing music?
A: I was blessed to grow up in a very musical family and be exposed to music at a very early age. I started out as a percussionist in the 4th grade and continued through my sophomore year of high school. I’ve always written poetry and music seemed to be the natural progression for me. My voice came to me (a complete surprise) in 2003 and I began playing guitar in 2004. Music is my life.

Q: What was the first song you learned to play?
A: I Guess He’d Rather Be in Colorado – John Denver

Q: Who are some of your musical influences?
A: John Denver, Jack Johnson, John Mayer, James Taylor, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Croce, The Beatles, Eric Clapton, Led Zeppelin, U2

Q: List the 5 CDs your listening to now?
A: John Denver – Rocky Mountain High, Passafire – Everyone on Everynight, Jack Johnson – To The Sea, Matisyahu – Light, & The Black Keys – Attack and Release

Q: Who are some of your life influences?
A: John Denver for sure! King David because not only was he a man of God and wrote the Psalms, but he was also a guitar player and a warrior!

Q: What is your connection to music?
A: I see/hear music everywhere. It’s a language everyone on Earth understands. Music says what words cannot in a way that our spirit can recognize. I see what music can do for the sick, sad, and lonely and it is the reason I sing. My purpose is to bring peace and enjoyment to all the people I have the opportunity to touch.

Broc Norman II
Rhythm Guitar

Broc plays the rhythm and finger-style guitar for Aspen Meadow Band. He has been playing since the early 1970’s and loves conveying the feelings expressed in John Denver’s music.

Q: When did you start playing guitar?
A: 1968 when I was 9 years old. I have been playing acoustic, electric and classical guitar for more than 40 years now.

Q: Who are some of your musical influences?
A: John Denver, Jim Croce, Eric Clapton, 60’s folk musicians

Q: What do you enjoy doing?
A: Seeing new places with my wife.

Q: Why do you play music?
A: I play so I can touch the hearts of people and help to soothe their souls. My connection to music is the rhythm. I’ve always felt deep within my being which works out in continually learning to cherish and give the gift that was given to me. Thus, I am connected to others through my music.

Joseph Senn
Lead Vocals

Joseph is one of the lead vocalist for the band. For him “one of the coolest parts” singing for people is seeing the joy on their faces and touching each individual in a heartfelt way.

Q: When did you start playing harmonica?
A: I started playing the harmonicas in 2006 when I was on a fishing boat in Alaska.

Q: Who are some of your musical influences?
A: Jack Johnson, Bob Marley, John Denver, CCR, Doobie Brothers, Blues Travelers. I like all types of music, Oldies, Reggae, Acoustic, Country, Classic Rock. Anything with a good beat and a good message.

Q: What are you into?
A: Soccer, hiking, fishing, golf, skiing, working out, building, gardening, movies, anything to do with the outdoors.

Q: What is your connection to music?
A: I like to play music, because music has no language, no race, no agenda. It speaks to people in all different ways, connecting them through notes and lyrics. Music has the ability to change a bad day to good, a tear to a smile, a feeling of loneliness to comfort. I play music because I get to connect with the band members and in return connect with those who hear our music.

Isaac Soper
Lead Vocals

Isaac is a lead vocalist in the band. While music is a big part of his life, he also enjoys movies, backpacking, computers and writing.

Q: When did you start playing music?
A: I started singing when I was just a little kid; my mom used to bring me with her to work, and I would sing songs to make the time go by. My parents recently found an old cassette recording of me at a very young age (perhaps age three) singing a song I made up at the time. I think I sang it from the point of view of a cat or a puppy. Needless to say, you could call it progressive rock–I have been singing ever since.

Q: What was the first song you learned to play?
A: The first songs that I learned to sing and perform were “Blackbird” by The Beatles, and “The Weight” by The Band. The first song I learned on the bass was “Smoke on the Water,” by Deep Purple.

Q: Who are some of your musical influences?
A: I am influenced by many different artists and styles, probably every song I’ve ever heard has influenced me in one way or another; Bob Dylan, They Might Be Giants, Bon Iver, Devendra Banhart, the Rolling Stones…

Q: List the 5 CDs your listening to now?
A: People still use CDs? Jose Gonzalez, Ben Howard, Mumford and Sons, Dawes, and as much new alt-country and indie-folk I can find, with a sprinkling of old rock, country, and folk.

Q: What are your other passions?
A: I love the outdoors, especially rock climbing and backpacking; I also enjoy writing songs (well, writing in general), reading, cycling, film, sustainability, architecture, and graphic design.

Q: Do you do anything special to warm up before a show/play music?
A: I like to get a good cry in before a show. In all seriousness, I pray that I would be able to bless everyone who has come to listen.

Q: Why do you play music?
A: I play because it helps me to live in the moment. It allows me to bring healing and joy to someone, without asking for anything in return.

Jon Humphrey
Lead Vocals

Jon Humphrey has loved and studied country music for over 20 years. He also likes bluegrass and classic rock but specifically enjoys listening to and performing traditional country.

“I love country music because it celebrates the lives and perspectives of everyday people. I meet folks all the time who aren’t rich or famous but have experiences, wisdom, and attributes that make them absolutely unique and their story is worth hearing. Great country music tells us about these people. Great country music also tells the truth. I see the beauty, whether the song is happy or sad because it’s somebody’s truth in that time. Truth is the starting place for everyone.”

Some of Jon’s influences and favorite artists are Merle Haggard, George Strait, Alan Jackson, George Jones, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Jamey Johnson, Clay Walker, Don Williams, Hank Williams, Clint Black, Johnny Cash, Sturgill Simpson, John Mellencamp, Randy Travis, Ronnie Milsap, Alabama, Jimmy Buffet, Hank Williams Jr., The Eagles, Loretta Lynn, Patsy Cline, CCR, Jim Croce, Buck Owens, and many more.