Robert Ruark is a rising artist in the Capital Region country scene. He has recently been a finalist for 100.9 the Cat's idol competition, been honored with an opportunity to play The Egg with his original songs, as well as open up for national recording artist Lifehouse. Rob has been a singer since he was a little kid, dating back to when he was five years old when he stole the show at a family reunion, boisterously belting out songs and taking every opportunity to entertain. Little has changed to this day. Although the guitar became his focus for quite a few years, Robert returned to his roots a few years back not only to focus on singing and writing original songs, but to country music which he grew up on and always held close to his heart. His mid baritone voice truly found its home in country music. Robert has been relentlessly playing out with multiple projects, and is so honored and excited to finally front one of the best country bands in the Capital Region, and to make sure y'all have a great time!
Mike Slavin, from Averill Park, NY, was a proud guitar student of Matt Smith and began playing at age 13. His brother was a huge influence on introducing him to his roots, such as Iron Maiden, Dio and Judas Priest. In high school, Mike co-founded a small band called "Ambush", influenced by the band Metallica. In the early 90's, he and close friends had become "Sauce", focusing on bands such as Bush, 3 Doors Down and Kiss. After that, Mike had a long haul with a band called "5 O'clock Charlie", playing all genres of classic rock and 90's rock such as Third-Eye Blind and Lincoln Park. Mike's biggest accomplishment was learning all of the metal of the 80's and being able to open for "RATT" at Northern Lights. "King Friday" was next on his list, coming together in the late 2000's, followed by the tribute bands of "Creed" and "Pearl Jam". Due to Mike's adoration for Kenny Rogers as a child and Garth Brooks as a young man, his heart now lies with Country music. Highly inspired by Jason Aldean for putting the rock edge in Country Music, Mike has enjoyed learning the freshness of the new country and the roots of the old stuff and loves playing with this high energy band. His love for music will always be attributed to his family and friends that have kept his love for entertaining alive.
Dan Simmons was born the son of a horse trader in Haynersville, NY. Sometimes he attended Tamarac High School, sometimes he would stay home and jam. Dan's started out playing drums in his first band, Euphoria (Mike McMahon Band). He then started playing Bass in his brother Jay's band, "Cottonmouth" (Country/Southern Rock). In 2007, Dan co-founded "King Friday" (Classic Rock) with Mike Slavin and worked on several side projects with Mike- "Full Circle" (Creed Tribute Band) and "King Jeremy" (Pearl Jam Tribute Band). Following a great 7 year run with those bands, Dan decided to go back to his roots, on the "Whiskey Highway"!
Paul Vogel, as part of the original British Invasion, came to America aboard the Queen Mary in 1966. He began playing drums in garage bands in middle school, playing for his friends. Paul thrived in alternative rock bands in the 80's, 90's and early 2000's, covering classics from Pearl Jam, all the way to Rush and the Police. Residing in Averill Park, Paul lives with his wife Lori and 3 daughters- Emily, Katie and Madi- who he has taught to play the drums and a few bass chords to. As you can tell by his pictures, Paul also enjoys playing with his eyes closed....
Steve Gray is the newest member of Whiskey Highway and will provide lead and rhythm guitar, and back-up vocals. Steve grew up in South Troy and studied guitar at the Troy Music Academy at the age of 7. He brings experience from his previous Capital Region rock and Celtic bands that compliments Mike Slavin’s guitar style and together will provide the layered guitar sounds of today’s popular country music.
John Potocnik, from Oneonta, NY, is the newest member of Whiskey Highway. He started fiddling in the 1970's during the folk revival. Traditional Celtic and old time music was played for many a dance around Central New York during that time. His traditional style has been spiced up by a lifetime of listening to many great artists such as Stefane Grappelli, Vassar Clements, Stuff Smith and Benny Thomasson. Lately, Bluegrass and new country have given him an opportunity to stretch out and have fun playing with this great band.