The Band

Colby Maddox

Colby Maddox

Mike Church

Mike Church

AARON SMITH

AARON SMITH

Colby Maddox

Originally from California, where he studied with mandolin great David Grisman, Colby migrated to the Midwest to attend Oberlin College and then stayed to escape the tech boom. 

Colby moved to Chicago in 1995 to work with The Special Consensus bluegrass band where he rubbed elbows and shared the stage with many of his heroes like Tim O’Brien, Scott Nygaard, Sally Van Meter, Laurie Lewis, Slavek Hanzlik, J.D. Crowe and John Hartford. Along the way Colby studied fiddle with Missouri State Champion Charlie Walden and played for a short time in a duo with young banjo wizard Noam Pikelny. 

Colby teaches at the Old Town School of Folk Music now, and in 2006 he won first prize at the Rocky Grass mandolin competition in Lyons, Colorado. Recent side projects include playing on the soundtrack for the recent PBS documentary The Hayloft Gang: The Story of the National Barn Dance, narrated by Garrison Keillor and singing on the soundtrack for the Newberry Library's Homemakers of the Civil War: Sheet Music.

 

Mike Church

Mike Church hails from Lenoir, North Carolina, just down the road from where Doc Watson is from. Raised on the sounds of The Grand Ol’ Opry and Hee Haw, Mike started playing guitar at 13 years of age and just like Doc, he played in rock and roll bar bands from 16 to 25 years of age. 

Mike relocated to LA in 1990, studied jazz at the Grove School of Music and also took with jazz guitar legend Ted Greene for 18 intensive months.  Playing jazz in and backing up numerous singer-songwriters on LA club circuit and nationwide made for a rich music life, and Mike has many great stories about this time. 

In 1996 during a major snowstorm, Mike moved toChicago and quickly became a favorite with area musicians.  Playing with numerous individuals and teaching music lessons take up Mike’s extra time now, and every May he talks about making a run back to North Carolina for Merle Fest. Mike’s diverse influences include Doc Watson, Tony Rice, The Allman Brothers, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Robben Ford and Miles Davis, and his spot on wardrobe keeps the rest of Sunnyside Up on its toes.  For more on Mike, please visit www.mikechurchmusic.com

 

Aaron Smith

Aaron came of age in small town Ohio a student of French horn and a budding electric bassist reading jazz and show tunes in academic ensembles, playing as a member of his church's worship band, and performing alongside his peers in various punk and heavy metal outfits. At the age of 18 he forsook the horn and left home to study liberal arts at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio. It was here, in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, that he first discovered bluegrass and American old time music and, at a friend's urging, acquired an upright bass to begin playing string band music. Less than two years later he found himself touring Scandinavia and central Europe with The Sandy Tar String Band and has been performing full-time ever since.

Aaron now makes his home in Chicago. A bluegrass bassist and singer by trade, he also takes the stage occasionally as a banjoist and makes frequent forays into old time, jazz, and classical styles. In addition to Sunnyside Up, he currently performs regularly with The Wandering Boys and Growler.

PETE SMITH

PETE SMITH

Pete Smith

Hailing from South-West of Chicago, Pete is a high-energy, progressive banjoist specializing in the three-finger or Scruggs style. Pete honed his craft while studying under the great Greg Cahill (Special Consensus), and he currently plays with Sunnyside Up and Growler. He has played all over Chicago and south with such acts as The Henhouse Prowlers, Dog One, Leadfoot and Bawn In The Mash.

In 2010 he teamed up with Michael Petterson and Jim Cox to perform A Bluegrass Mass at the Pick-Staiger Hall and The Mac Theater as part of The New Classic Singers concert series. Pete has shared the stage with such acts as The Emmitt- Nershi Band, Head For The Hills, and Tony Furtado.  He continues to push the five-string banjo into new genres while staying true to his bluegrass roots.