Rick and The Ramblers Western Swing Band


Rick & The Ramblers Western Swing Band:

Rick Norcross - Vocals & Rhythm Guitar
Taryn Noelle - Vocals
Charlie MacFadyen - Piano, Accordion & Lap Steel Guitar
Doug Reid - Fiddle
Dono Schabner - Vocals & Lead Guitar
Dave Rowell - Vocals & Bass Guitar
Ian Koeller - Drums
Ken Grillo - Sound Engineer & Road Manager
Thomas Margetic - Road Crew Chief

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“I want to sincerely thank my terrific band, The All-Star Ramblers, for their absolutely stellar performances on our 2017 shows. All our fans know and love this band but for those of you who haven’t yet met, let me introduce to you these gifted musicians and dear friends. Here’s a quick look. Read on down for more details about each of the Ramblers.

Our heart-melting female vocalist is Taryn Noelle from Stowe, a recent recipient of the well-deserved Ellen McCulloch-Lovell Award in Arts Education from the Vermont Arts Council & the Governor of Vermont. Visit the OUR MUSIC Page next to learn about her new “Taryn Noelle Swings,” CD release on Airflyte Records, celebrating Taryn’s 10 years with the Ramblers. And from Burlington, Charlie MacFadyen is our concertmaster of the keyboards, including the accordion and lap steel. Charlie is the music arranger of all the songs on the Ramblers records. The gent playing that red-hot lead guitar is Dono Schabner from Morrisville (though his fingers must be from musical heaven). Our own ”fiddle wizard,” as Swingin’ West’s Mike Gross calls him, Doug Reid, hails from Wheelock. On the bass, Mr. Dave Rowell, the Mayor of East Craftsbury, holds down the bottom end of the band and provides those utra-smooth vocals and harmonies that sweeten the Ramblers sound. On the drum kit from Starksboro, Ian Koeller, our second generation Rambler, keeps the tempo snappy and the beat steady as a rock.

And special thanks to Ken Grillo, our longtime sound engineer and road manager, for providing such a great mix on his iPad sound board! Every one of the All-Star Ramblers are the very musicians you hear playing on all our record albums.” ...Rick Norcross

On Saturday, January 13th, Hall of Fame Western Swing DJ Billy Bowles once again enjoyed the honor of introducing The Academy of Western Artists’(AWA) five finalist nominees for the 22nd annual Will Rogers Awards on his Swinging Country Radio & Internet Show on KSSL-FM from Lubbock, Texas. He revealed that Rick & The All-Star Ramblers were nominated by Western Swing DJs from around the world as one of five finalists in two AWA award categories, “Western Swing Album of the Year” for the 2017 CD release, “Welcome To OUR Vermont/2” and as finalists for 2017“Western Swing Duo/Group of the Year” honors.

Western Swing DJs and Academy Members responded to the first round of nominations which resulted in Rick & The All-Star Ramblers receiving eight nominations for the 2017 Academy of Western Artists Western Swing Awards for “Western Swing Duo/Group of the Year,” “Western Swing Album of the Year - “Green Mountain Standard Time,” “Western Swing Album of the Year - “Welcome To OUR Vermont/2,” “Western Swing Song of the Year - “Texoma Bound,” ”Western Swing Song of the Year - “Texoma Bound” (two nominations), “Western Swing Song of the Year - “Here’s Yer Hat, What’s Yer Hurry” and “Western Swing Song of the Year - “I Love Western Swing” and a “Best Male Vocalist” nomination for band leader Rick Norcross.

A Rick & The All-Star Ramblers Western Swing Band performance is a high energy, entertaining and danceable trip back to a Vermont of a simpler, more musical day. A time of live radio, touring musical revues and family values. A Rambler show is fraught with Vermont-grown original music, classic western swing chestnuts and top-notch musicianship. Each of the Ramblers is an excellent musician in his or her own right. Together Rick & The Ramblers deliver an exceptional musical experience, loaded with laughs, musical memories, surprises and sweet harmonies.

Rick & The All-Star Ramblers Western Swing Band travel the region in “The Mighty Pickle,” an attention-grabbing 1957 Flxible Starliner tour bus in the style of early western swing legends like Bob Wills & The Texas Playboys. The Mighty Pickle enjoyed a fan-financed, 13 month major restoration in 2013 and 2014 under the auspices of Bear Bessette at Wildcat Busing and Dona’s Car Store in Hardwick, Vermont, thanks to donations from more than 125 “Mighty Pickle People” from all over the world. The Pickle was honored on national television in June of 2013 when the Travel Channel’s “Mega RV Countdown” featured The Mighty Pickle at Hardwick’s Spring Festival Parade. That episode has run many times since then and is still in rotation on The Travel Channel. These days, The Mighty Pickle is a treasured fixture on the Rick & The All-Star Ramblers Western Swing Band Road Show and remains an annual feature at the Hardwick Spring Festival Parade.

Rick & The All-Star Ramblers 2018 “Rick’s 55th Anniversary” Tour is sponsored by their good friends at North Country Federal Credit Union, 98.9/WOKO, who have sponsored Rick & The All-Star Ramblers Western Swing Band for 30 consecutive years, REM Development, Vermont Department of Agriculture, Burlington’s Hotel Vermont & The Courtyard Marriott, The Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce and Dona’s Car Store in Hardwick. Rick & The All-Star Ramblers regional tours and studio recordings would never have been made possible without the generous support of these terrific Vermont businesses and individuals. Please take the opportnty to thank them for their support if Rambler Music if you have a chance!

Taryn Noelle Swings
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Rick Norcross - Band Leader, Vocals, Rhythm Guitar

During 2018, Rick Norcross, longtime leader of Vermont’s premier western swing band, Rick & The All-Star Ramblers, celebrates his 55th year as a touring musician. He is a songwriter, informed by his many years as a journaist, performing mostly original story songs about life in Vermont set smoothly into the western swing style of music. Many of his songs are lighthearted snapshots of a lost Vermont. A third generation graduate of Hardwick Academy, Class of ‘63, Norcross began his career performing in 1962 at The Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe as a “folk singer,” today called a singer/songwriter, for 17 years playing mostly humorous songs, first around northern Vermont before moving on to perform at major folk venues like The Unicorn in Boston and The Gaslight in New York City.

In June of 1965, he boarded the ocean liner “Empress of England” out of Montreal, and headed for London where he performed for nearly a year in folk clubs all over England under the auspices of London City Agency (who also handled one other American folk singer, Paul Simon). Norcross was “Master of Ceremonies” at Paul Simon’s “Going Away Party” at Les Cousins in London in February of 1966. He returned for three more British tours playing over 60 folk clubs into 1974 when he began working Summers out of Burlington and Winters out of Tampa, Florida for the next 20 years. By 1994, Norcross turned to performing in band configurations, blossoming into a tight musical unit playing his own songs in a western swing genre, a natural extension of his favorite music, combining folk, country, swing, blues and jazz in a danceable, up-tempo, audience-friendly sound.

In May of 2010, Rick was invited to perform a solo 10-day tour of British folk clubs in Murcia, Spain by Hugh Aldous, an old friend who booked him into folk clubs in England back in the 60s. The experience rekindled his love of playing folk venues and listening rooms. He has since performed at house concerts, The Vermont History Expo, The Music Box, The Palmer Street Coffeehouse, Lake Champlain Maritime Museum and at the UU Dome in Tampa, Florida.

In 2013, noted Vermont author, Stephen Russell Payne’s Norcross biography, “Riding My Guitar - The Rick Norcross Story,” was published, coinciding with the release of the CD of the same name celebrating Rick’s 50th year as a performing musician. Subsequently, the two have made numerous appearances in Vermont Community Libraries and for reading groups.

These days, fronting his longtime award-winning, stellar seven piece group, Rick & The All-Star Ramblers Western Swing Band, Rick performs mainly at outdoor fairs, festivals, special events and private parties during the Summer and Fall seasons within a three hour circle of Burlington, Vermont. On a separate note, Rick also loves to performs solo at festivals, folk-oriented venues and at house concerts throughout the region.

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Taryn Noelle - Vocals

During 2018, Taryn Noelle, celebrates her 10th year as vocalist with Rick & The All-Star Ramblers with the release of “Taryn Noelle Swings,” an album made up entirely of her most requested songs. Taryn was invited to join the Ramblers in 2007 to bring her sultry voice, her commanding stage presence and her audience-bending smile to our stages. And, along with her nearly 100 concert performances with the band, she has been featured on four previous Rick & The Ramblers CD releases prior to this album showcasing her heart-melting vocals. “Taryn Noelle Swings” is her first Airflyte Records release and is a true “Best Of” compilation of her most popular recorded performances with the Ramblers.

“Luminous, Evocative, Poignant and Soulful” are words spoken about this talented young singer, actress, dancer and choreographer. Originally from Toronto, Taryn has studied dance, theatre and voice with acclaimed New York and Vermont vocal teacher Bill Reed and at the renowned Circle in the Square Theatre School in New York City. After years of playing leading roles in American Musical Theatre, she returned to Stowe, Vermont to focus on her love of singing, playing on her considerable talent as a jazz and cabaret vocalist. In addition to her velvet-smooth vocalist performances, she also works locally and regionally as a dance teacher, choreographer and stage and film actor.

She was honored at the end of October as the 2017 recipient of the Ellen McCulloch-Lovell Award in Arts Education at a ceremony at the Highlands Center for the Performing Arts in Greensboro. The Vermont Council on the Arts said, “Taryn Noelle - choreographer, theater director, and teacher - was one of five outstanding Vermonters to be recognized at the Council’s 2017 Governor’s Arts Awards celebration. Taryn received the Ellen McCulloch-Lovell Award in Arts Education for more than twenty years of sharing her talent, expertise, and passion for the arts with Vermonters of all ages.”

In addition to her sweet vocals on Rick &The All-Star Ramblers’ CD projects, Taryn has recorded two of her own jazz CDs and frequently performs with the very fab jazz vocal trio, The Blue Gardenias. Rambler Taryn Noelle is simply... Terrific. Taryn has recorded and released a wonderful new Holiday CD called “Feels Like Home.” Learn more about Taryn’s recordings by visiting her web Site at www.tarynnoelle.com/album.

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Charlie MacFadyen - Piano, Accordion & Lap Steel

In the tradition of the late, great Light Crust Doughboys piano player Knocky Parker, Charlie MacFadyen is the musical backbone of Rick & The Rambers. Whether he’s building the energy with his masterful piano playing, his western swing accordion moves or with his 1950s lap steel guitar, Charlie gets the Rambers and the audience motivated.

In addition to his monster instrumental prowess, Charlie is a gifted musical arranger and has been the guiding hand behind all the arrangements on the last four Ramblers record albums. Charlie prefers the old-fashioned swing, boogie and honky-tonk piano styles in the tradition of Moon Mullican and Al Stricklin which has perfectly helped to define the character and the musical integrety of the Ramblers.

Charlie was educated at Oberlin College (math & music) and formerly was the piano player for the Burlington rockabilly band Buck &the Black Cats. Originally from New York, Charlie has lived in Burlington since 1992 and by day is a high school math teacher and techie at CVU in Hinesburg and also teaches at Vermont Community College. Besides holding down the stage right position on the Ramblers’ A-Team, Charlie plays accordion with the yacht rock band, The Full Cleveland.

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Dono Schabner - Lead Guitar

Dono Schabner is the star playing the lead guitar position on the Rambler team. If you have not seen or heard Dono at one of our live shows, maybe you have already marveled at his sterling lead guitar performances on our four recent CD projects. Dono Schabner is one of those rare musicians who can play any style of music without breaking a sweat. Maybe it’s because he started playing guitar at the age of 12 in Italian weddings bands in his Long Island hometown. Maybe it’s because he has a wicked good ear and the fingers to make it happen. Maybe it’s that beautiful vintage Gibson hollow-body guitar he has been bringing to gigs lately. Or maybe it’s the way he makes that magical connection from his heart through his fingers on his Fender Telecaster. Whichever it is, it sure works like a well-oiled, soulful music machine on the Rambler stages when his solos come around!

And Dono is the all-important third piece of the section work that pushes the rhythm and the melody so prominently to the front in the Western Swing style of music. Dono also chips in on vocal harmonies when needed.

Dono lives in Morrisville and works in the Northeast Kingdom as an educational techie between musical gigs with a variety of Vermont musicians, including Will Patton, The Vermont Jazz Ensemble, Louis Franco and Carole Ann Jones.

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Doug Reid - Fiddle

Rambler Doug Reid is known around these parts as the King of the Double Stop style of fiddle. Or as Mike Gross, host of “Swingin’ West,” America’s longest running Western Swing Radio and internet show (36 years) calls Doug, the “Fiddle Wizard.” Doug keeps the Ramblers swinging with his impeccable rhythm and his traditional western swing-influenced style of fiddling. Doug started violin lessons at 14 while listening to jazz/swing master Stephane Grappelli. Doug says he’s excited to be at the stage in his career when he can devote himself to the finer points of this lyrical style. Classically trained, he spent many years as a touring side man in country & western bands out of Southern California, Austin, Texas and Atlanta, Georgia. He has opened for many major acts in country music. While living in Texas, he studied jazz and composition at North Texas State University and played with several of Bob Wills’ Texas Playboys, including Joe Holley and Johnny Gimble.

Doug spent seven years as a feature performer on the Jim Stafford Show, in Branson, Missouri, where he was alternately comedy writer, arranger, Music Director, and head of Special Effects. Doug performed with the Paris Swing Orchestra of New York for four years at the annual Bastille Day Celebration on 60th Street. He returned home to Vermont in 1999 and currently resides in Wheelock in the Northeast Kingdom.

Doug wishes to thank Oren Kronick & Kathy Reilly, proprietors, and Jim Banicki, head luthier, at the ‘Vermont Violins & The Burlington Violin Shop’ at 23 Church Street in Burlington for the loan of a custom built violin Doug played on the “Welcome To OUR Vermont” recording sessions and “for making such a sweet fiddle in our home state!”

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Dave Rowell - Vocals & Bass Guitar

By day, an unassuming account executive with Morrisville country music station WLVB, a successful north country realtor and a spirited country auctioneer. By night and onstage... one wicked talented bass player and spot-on lead and harmony vocalist. Dave Rowell brings more than 20 years experience as a longtime member of one of Central Vermont and the Northeast Kingdom’s favorite traditional country bands, the WDEV Radio Rangers. The WDEV Radio Rangers performed on the air every Saturday morning at 10:30 on WDEV for over 25 years and are still a favorite at community events all over the region.

Dave hails from East Craftsbury where his musical roots run deep. His family founded the Craftsbury Chamber Players over 40 years ago and his sister Mary is Concertmaster at Radio City Music Hall in New York City and occasionally tours with Cheryl Crow. Dave brings a love of real country music to the table and knows more songs than an iPod Classic. He has quickly become a favorite vocalist on Rambler shows in addition to holding down the bass position in the rhythm section.

Dave is a “smooth as Grade Fancy Maple Syrup” lead vocalist in addition to being an exceptional harmony vocalist. Dave was featured singing two songs on the Ramblers’ “Riding My Guitar” CD, “Don’t Make Me Beg” and “Walking Around Money,” and “Here’s Yer Hat, What’s Yer Hurry” on the CD “Welcome To OUR Vermont/2,” which this year was named one of five finalists for the “Western Swing Album of the Year” honors by The Academy of Western Artists. All three songs were written especially for Dave by Rambler Rick to showcase Dave’s crowd-melting vocal delivery on the record projects. Dave was also featured on a brand new tune, “I’m Gonna Take It With Me When I Go,” on the band’s most recent studio CD, “Green Mountain Standard Time.”

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Ian Koeller - Drums

Our most recent addtion to the All-Star Ramblers is drummer Ian Koeller, the first-ever second-generation Rambler. Ian’s late father, Eric Koeller, played that wonderful baritone sax break on “Paint It Like A Cow,” recorded at White Crow Audio in Burlington way back in 1994 on our “Can’t Catch A Rambler” CD project, produced by LeRoy Preston. “Paint It Like A Cow” was co-written by Rick and LeRoy Preston and had to be included on the latest “Welcome To OUR Vermont/2” CD. Ian tagged along with his Dad on many Rambler shows back in the mid-90s and as a young boy, became enamored with the drums, as played back then by longtime Rambler percussionist Doug Pomeroy.

Fast forward 22 years and Ian Koeller has now become one of the Vermont music scene’s most in-demand drummers both on stage and in the recording studio. Ian plays in several bands performing shows all over the North Country, in New York City and, now, for the past four years, as the newest member of Rick & The All-Star Ramblers Western Swing Band.

Ian hit the ground running with The All-Star Ramblers, enthusiastically jumping right into the “Green Mountain Standard Time” recording sessions and soon after, the “Welcome To OUR Vermont/2” sessions. Ironically, Ian performs on five tracks on the “Welcome To OUR Vermont/2” project which also includes the “Paint It Like A Cow,” track mentioned above, featuring his father, Eric. Two Koeller generations performing on the record that was a final nominee for “Western Swing Album of the Year” by the Academy of Western Artists. An impressive start for Ian Koeller, our latest All-Star Ramblers welcome addition!

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