SOUTHERN RUKUS

"Country With a Twist"

THOMAS BLAKE

Tom was born and raised in Jacksonville, FL where he as been entertaining people with his distinctive vocal style for many years.  Around 1980, he started performing in various nightclubs in and around the Jacksonville area singing karaoke.  In late summer of 2004, he helped place an ad in the local Jacksonville newspaper to look for local musicians interested in joining a Country music band and became one of the founding members of SOUTHERN RUKUS.    

JESSIE WAGNER

Jessie was born in a little town just north of Memphis,TN on the Mississippi River; Luxora, AR.  He began his love for music at the young age of 14 when his mother gave him a guitar and showed him three chords.  At 17, he took the blues melodies he heard from living on the river and mixed it with southern gospel music to form his own band with some high school friends.  A few short years later he joined the U.S. Navy and took his love for music abroad.  He played in three different bands that performed at numerous USO shows throughout Europe playing Top 40 and Classic Rock music until he retired from the Navy.  His first introduction to playing Country music full time was with a band called Blue Steel from Jacksonville, FL.  In July 2004, he answered an ad in the local Jacksonville newspaper and became one of the founding members of SOUTHERN RUKUS.

PAUL NEWBAUER

Paul was born in Canton, OH and he started playing drums at the early age of 14 by listening to some of his favorite records and learning how to play along with them to mimic those classic styles and beats; a self-taught drummer.  His professional musical journey began when he went on the road at 18 working for A & Q Talents out of Nashville, TN.  Over the years he's worked at various recording studios laying down the drum tracks for TV and radio commercial jingles, custom album projects by national artist, and eventually became a full time musician in many professional and local performing artist groups in Ohio and Florida.  Music has always been a passion for Paul ever since he saw the Beatles live on TV, his musical career and journey have been a fun ride.      

JACOB PRIEST

Jacob was born in Orange Park, FL.  He Picked up an acoustic guitar at age 12 and started lessons from a local musician Alex Affronti who soon became his mentor.  At 14, he began sitting in with local musicians during their shows and soon thereafter got his first electric guitar.  He quickly earned respect from fellow musicians for his professionalism and ability to blend in to any situation.  He has performed every type of gig from local bars and clubs to corporate events at Amelia Island, opening for national acts and playing with a variety of bands and musicians over the years.  He grew up listening to all different styles of music but Country, Southern Rock, and Americana has always been his favorite.  He has learned many styles of instrumental riffs on the guitar over the years including classical and jazz finger styles.  He started sitting in with the SRB in 2013 as a fill-in guitarist and ended up joining in the spring of 2019.

DANNY RAY GRIFFIN

Danny Ray was born and raised in Sandusky, Ohio, better known for the amusement park, Cedar Point.  Since his first gig in 1968 music has been his primary focus.  Throughout his 20 year career in the U.S. Navy, Danny continued to play and entertain all over the globe.  Since his retirement he has performed with various bands from Ohio to Florida playing everything from Country to Hard Rock to Blues.  His passion for music continues to this very day.