From playing honky-tonks on lower Broadway in Nashville, to opening arena dates for John Fogerty, Vince Gill, and the legendary Kenny Rogers, Savannah Jack has honed their skills as outstanding live entertainers who captivate audiences from the very first note. The band’s extraordinary three-part vocal harmonies, superior musicianship, and fresh new sound is poised to take country music by storm.
Hard work, determination and sacrifice have paved the way for Savannah Jack. The band formed in 2004 and has toured both nationally and abroad ever since performing more than 120 shows a year. Savannah Jack possesses the tightest harmony of any group to come along in recent memory. The band’s live show was recognized as one of the “Top Ten Concerts of 2010” in the Greater Pittsburg area by Beaver County Times writer, Scott Tady. Other top ten selectees included Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen and Lady GaGa.
Exceptional songwriters as well as versatile musicians, band members infuse their individual style to collectively create Savannah Jack’s unique sound. All come from a musical family and have been singing and playing their individual instruments from a very young age. Their musical influences range from Ronnie Milsap, The Gatlin Brothers, Kenny Rogers, and Restless Heart to The Beatles, Tom Petty, and The Eagles. The band is comprised of Don Gatlin (from Darryl & Don Ellis) on lead vocals, Jay Darby on bass, Matt Thomas Schumacher on fiddle and guitar; drummer Matthew Crouse and Jon Lewycky on lead guitar. Don, Jay and Matt Thomas easily take the lead on vocals in their live shows.
Prior to joining Savannah Jack this year, Matt Schumacher toured with country star Phil Vassar for seven years playing fiddle and adding vocal harmonies. “I’m excited to be on board with these guys,” commented Schumacher. “Their professionalism and musicianship are at the highest level – they’re great entertainers.” A native of Avoca, Michigan and graduate of the University of Michigan, Schumacher is an extremely talented and diverse musician. He is proficient on a myriad of instruments including violin/fiddle, banjo, mandolin, guitar, and trumpet.
“Being on the road with these guys is really a blast,” mentioned Darby, who plays both bass and acoustic guitar. “Don is like a light switch that’s always on – there’s never a dull moment.” Born and raised in Florida, Darby started out playing the drums at age ten, while his brother played the guitar. He sold his drum set to buy his first guitar but continued playing percussion in the high-school band.
“We truly are like family…we have a lot of fun on the road and you never know what we’ll do next,” said Gatlin, also a gifted songwriter. Gatlin grew up in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania, where he started singing for his neighbors for twenty-five cents or a piece of bubble gum. His mother was a talented singer who had the opportunity to open for her heroes – Kitty Wells and Wilma Lee Cooper.
It is obvious that the band loves making music and is having a blast, whether they are performing in a small venue in Nashville or playing in front of thousands of people in sold out amphitheatres across the country. If you haven’t heard them yet, better get on board and get ready for a ride. If you don’t, you don’t know “Jack” . . . SAVANNAH JACK