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Formed in 1991 by Juan and Michelle Calzada, Half Step has evolved into Juan Calzada on lead vocals and acoustic guitar, Bob Peck on vocals and bass, David Lawson on vocals and lead guitar, and Robin Barkenhagen on drums. The group, drawing on musical influences from the Allman Bros., Bob Dylan, Santana, Pink Floyd, and The Grateful Dead, is an ever growing presence on the East Coast with a strong and loyal following.
In January 1996, Half Step released its debut CD with the help of Sweetfish Studios in Argyle, NY. The self-titled, ten song recording captures the very essence of the musical group’s influences of Rock, Folk, Reggae, and Latin. “This is a very rewarding album from a group that is not only musically proficient, but versatile.” Relix Vol. 23, No 5. The CD has been distrubuted to all parts of the world. Their second CD “Harvest Pickins” is a collection of live performances through 1999.
Half Step has performed at various night spots in The Adirondack region, The Capital Region, Vermont, New York City, and Key West, Florida. Half Step also plays private parties. The group has appeared in several festivals, including: Save The Rain Forest, Theta Chi House Springfest, The Adirondack New Music Fest, Fossomelinfest, Earth Day Fest, Bands & Beans, Key West Fantasy Fest, Rye Breads Annual Island Fest, The Great Mugwai, New York State Harvest Fest, Millenium Jam at The Glens Falls Civic Center, and Half Step’s Annual Log Bay Jam.
Band Website: www.halfstep.org
Rich Ortiz’s style is truly his own and his music is his soul. Ortiz, never a wallflower, believes he is the product of his family’s cultural diversity and strengths. Since the age of seventeen he’s focused all of his talents and time on his acoustic solo act, if you can call it that. Rich plays guitar, harmonica, and peddle bass (with his feet), and he turns heads with his vocals! He has opened shows for Ludacris, Hoobastank, Jeffrey Gaines, Ryan Montbleau Band, The Wood Brothers, Tea Leaf Green, Kracker, Merl Saunders, Melvin Seals, Jim Weider and the Drifters.
Inspired by artists like Jim Croce, James Taylor, The Beatles, Stevie Wonder and Willie Nelson, he says “I feel I have to change every gig around in order to grow as a musician.” He plays six and twelve string acoustic guitar and chooses not to cultivate a target audience. He thinks “ideally the feeling of people who leave the room or listen to your CD should be one of making someone’s day. What comes out of your tongue says a lot about your soul.”
In 2006, Ortiz released his long awaited debut album, “Let It Be Life”. Recorded with the help of Grammy winning producer, John Seymour (Dave Matthews, Bruce Hornsby), the album features live, unedited studio recordings of all original works. Soon after its release, “Let It Be Life” was listed as one of the Top-40 selling Funk/Blues albums on CD Baby, the #1 online record store for independent music.
In 2010, Ortiz released his sophomore album, “Face of a Lion”, which features guest musician Kofi Burbridge (Derek Trucks Band).
As his passion for life grows stronger, so does the energy in his music. Rich is a truly rare, authentic talent.
Led by “soulist” Garland Nelson, Soul Session emotes supernatural passions from material by Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Bob Marley, Bill Withers, and many others. Founded on the belief that soul music is God’s multicultural life line, Soul Session heightens our organic humanity by making the audience the center of attention through call and response, dance, and praise. Consequently every show manifests a creative classic/neo musical flavor.