About Us

Patsy Stephens
Patsy has always loved music! In high school and college she dabbled in the theater…specifically musicals. Always a singer/dancer in the chorus. In 1979 she discovered bluegrass. DiGennaro’s in Laurel, MD, is where it all began! “We walked in one Friday night and were instantly hooked by the bluegrass sound of the Friday night house band.” Patsy and her husband spent years of Friday nights at the front table. Not content to just listen, Patsy decided she wanted to learn to play guitar and sing this down home music. So with a new Yamaha guitar from Chuck Levin’s and a Happy Traum Bluegrass Guitar music book in hand, she taught herself chords and lots and lots of bluegrass songs. After years of pickin’ and jamming, Patsy thought performing in a bluegrass band would be fun. Patsy has been in several local bluegrass bands performing at churches, picnics, local festivals, farmer’s markets, senior centers, and retirement villages. A highlight was an invitation numerous times to perform on the CSA Country Jamboree, which was broadcast on a local radio station out of Remington’s in Laurel and later at “the barn” in Clarksville, MD. One band, Die Hausmusik, was the house band at the bluegrass bar and restaurant, The Friendly Inn, in West Friendship, MD, where they played every Thursday night kicking off “open mic” night, as well as performing there on a Friday or Saturday night now and then. Many bluegrass bands have borrowed songs from the classic country era and Patsy gravitated toward these songs. After hearing several local classic country and honky tonk bands perform in the Baltimore/Washington area, she knew in her heart that she had to follow a new musical path. Patsy set out to put together her own classic country and honky tonk band. She had met and jammed with Tommy Auldridge at The Friendly Inn. Through a mutual friend and musician, she was introduced to Chick Hall, Jr., which led to her association with The Hall Brothers. “I think we are a perfect match! We are out there performing the music that I love!”

 

The Hall Brothers – Chick Hall, Jr. and Chris Hall

It all began at the Surf Club!  The Hall Brothers’ father, Chick Hall, Sr., was a country-jazz guitar virtuoso who made Armed Forces Radio records with Glenn Miller. Around 1953, he began playing with his own band, the Chick Hall Trio. After playing for a few years at the Surf Club on Bladensburg Road in Colmar Manor, Chick decided that he’d like to make the club his musical home, so he bought the place in 1955 and began playing there 6 nights a week.  The Surf Club transitioned from jazz to country music, and many of the country greats visited, including Jim Reeves, Roy Buchanan and Lefty Frizzell.  Patsy Cline sang her heart out at the Surf Club.  Jimmy Dean, Roy Clark, and Charlie Daniels dropped by to jam.  In 1975, a developer made a good offer on the Surf Club, so Chick, Sr. sold the club property and built another one up the street at 4711 Kenilworth Avenue. Chick Hall, Sr. started the tradition of great guitarists from the DC area. He also taught his sons a thing or two.  Imagine growing up playing music in “Chick Hall’s Surf Club,” an authentic honky tonk roadhouse…one of “THE” hot spots for live entertainment in eastern D.C. and the Maryland suburbs.  Chick Hall, Jr. joined his first rock group at age 13, then went on to form the “Majestic Neons” and played the usual teen clubs, parties and rock bars. The Neons actually yielded a 45 RPM on the Unicorn label, but, like his dad, Chick, Jr. eventually gravitated to country music under the employ of Ronnie Dove, Johnny Lee, Lori Morgan and Ace Cannon.  For many years Chick, Jr. led his own trio or quartet in the rock or country genre, usually at the Surf Club.  Chick, Jr. has won numerous “Wammie” awards from the Washington Area Music Association (WAMA) for country instrumentalist.  Both Chick, Jr. and Chris were part of the Surf Club’s house band, “Heroes and Friends.”  You can’t get more real honky tonk than that!

 

Tommy Auldridge

Influenced as a child by music played at home by older brothers. First Bluegrass and then Everly Brothers and their type of harmony. I’d have to say, my strongest interest in music was really one shared by my sister Grace. We liked to listen to the radio a lot. I was sort of drawn to the sound of the steel guitar. I didn’t even know what I was hearing at the time. Once I learned what it was, I knew right away that I wanted one. It took a long time to finally get one. By then Pedal Steel Guitars were the way to go. So that’s what I bought. I spent the next 30 years trying to learn how to play it. I’m still learning, in fact. I’ve found it quite entertaining to try and copy the styles of all the famous Nashville session steel players. I’ve discovered it’s not very easy, to say the least. I’ll never stop learning and trying. I’m also very committed to making folks aware of just what is a steel guitar. I find it a little surprising that so many people are seeing one for the first time. Most just ask me, what the heck is that thing? I say, I really don’t know, but I’ve spent most of my adult life loving the sound it makes. That’s me in a nut shell. Tommy Auldridge.

 

Drummer

We select a drummer from among these fine Washington area drummers:  Mike Toole, Chip Clemmer, Dave Elliott, Tom Jones.  They all are in demand!

 

One Response to About Us

  1. Lowell Gilbertson says:

    I’m trying to get in touch with Chick to get a lesson from him. I used to go see him all the time at the Surf Club and always talked with him. I think we talked about a possible lesson. Can you send me his email?

    thanks,

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