LIGHTHOUSE was formed in 1993 by five veteran bluegrass musicians from the San Diego area with well over a hundred years of performing experience between them.
They chose their name to identify themselves with San Diego (with its famous lighthouse on Point Loma) and also with their passion for gospel music. "For God, who said ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ has made his light shine in our hearts ..." (2 Cor. 4:6).
Guitarist and lead singer Rick Kirby was the founder of "Pacific-ly Bluegrass," a legendary San Diego band that was together for more than 15 years. The group recorded three albums and played hundreds of concerts and bluegrass festivals across the United States. Originally from North Carolina, Rick was also the founding president of the San Diego Bluegrass Club.
Banjo player and vocalist Wayne Rice has been involved in bluegrass music since the 1960's. He was an original member of Brush Arbor, a popular country-gospel group of the 1970's. While Wayne was with Brush Arbor, the group recorded two albums for Capitol Records, played Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry, and was voted "Vocal Group of the Year" by the Academy of Country Music (1973). For the past 30years, Wayne has hosted "The Bluegrass Special" a radio program heard weekly on KSON-FM in San Diego.
Mandolinist and vocalist Noel Taggart is a multi-instrumentalist who has performed with several bluegrass bands around San Diego. He previously played banjo with Blue Skies, a popular San Diego group of the 1980's. He also was a member of Higher Ground and Rose Canyon. His soaring tenor voice is especially suited for the "high lonesome sound" which characterizes bluegrass music.
Playing the Dobro (resonator guitar) and singing bass is Kim Weeks, also a former member of Blue Skies and several other regional bands. He also works with the popular bluegrass ensemble "Highway 52." Kim is considered one of the top Dobro players on the west coast.
Tom Cunningham is the band's fiddler, but he is a virtuoso on guitar and mandolin as well. The only full-time musician in the group, Tom is also a member of the Jackstraws, an ensemble that stays busy performing at San Diego tourist attractions, conventions, corporate events and other venues. He also performs with Grassology and was recently seen performing in the San Diego Repertory Theatre's production of "Fire on the Mountain."
The newest member of the band is bass player Dave Somes. He's a native San Diegan, now living in Descanso, who has performed with a variety of musical ensembles from college orchestras to bluegrass bands. For more than ten years he has performed with the New City Sinfonia, and appeared in "The Cotton Patch Gospels" at Lamb's Players Theatre. He is a former member of "Higher Ground" (a bluegrass band which also included Noel Taggart and Kim Weeks).
LIGHTHOUSE has performed at many bluegrass festivals, churches, coffee houses and concert venues throughout Southern California. They have performed at Huck Finn's Country and Bluegrass Jubilee in Victorville, the San Diego Art Museum, the East County Performing Arts Center, Sea World, 4th and B Nightclub in San Diego, the Del Mar Fair. KSON's CountryFest, and the Roger Hedgecock Show (KOGO). LIGHTHOUSE approaches every appearance with a professional attitude and they never fail to entertain audiences with their tight harmony vocals, crisp musicianship and engaging style.