The members of The Pleasant Family Old Time String Band are neither family nor always pleasant! We are just friends who met a few years ago through a jam group in Largo, Florida. We started performing at local parks, mainly for festivals. Among our credits are a concert for former President Jimmy Carter, at a private celebration in his honor, and headlining the Florida State Fair's Cracker Country. Our favorite place to pick is still at the Mercantile Store or the log cabin homestead at Heritage Village in Seminole, Florida. You never know when you might see us there, picking on the front porch of the old log cabin.
This CD, our first, showcases some of the traditional tunes we play for audiences of all kinds and represents what we love to do when we have our "family reunions." We hope you enjoy this re-creation of America's original sound of life.
Who We Are
Kevin Donachy (guitar) - Kevin comes from a family of musicians and disappointed them all when he took up the guitar. Having moved from Erie, Pennsylvania, he is now a full-time resident of the Sunshine State. Kevin lays down some of the best guitar rhythms in the Tampa Bay area and plays on occasion for several other groups. He also works as a bus driver supervisor because, "I can't support the indulgent lifestyle I am accustomed to just by playing music, unfortunately."
Chris Frontiero (mandolin) - Chris came to Florida from Gloucester, Massachusetts, known as the eye of the perfect storm. Coming from the northeast, one wonders how he found old time music. "Its the sounds of life from the heart of this land" he says. His mandolin is a "one-of-a-kind" instrument. It's made of zebra wood with a cedar top, and was hand-crafted in St. Petersburg, Florida. While Chris' only real musical background is his love of music, (he insists he fakes the mandolin) he is an important part of the band's rhythm and sound. But he does wish he could play better - so Lauren will quit picking on him. Chris also lends his business expertise to managing the "family."
Lauren Mayeux (fiddle) - Coming from St. Petersburg, and currently finishing college in Orlando, Lauren is the only native Floridian in the group. Lauren dabbled in classical music for a few years before she found old time music and quickly became immersed in this rustic style. She has developed an extensive repertoire, and has been a consistently high finisher in state-wide fiddle contests the last few years. Her musical influences include Bruce Molsky, The Freight Hoppers, and a number of local fiddlers. Lauren's strong style of fiddle playing is at the center of the band's authentic sound.
Craig Seastead (banjo) - Craig grew up in the hills of Western Pennsylvania listening to country and western music on the radio. He's been playing the 5 string banjo since his college days. Inspired by a Pete Seeger concert, he abandoned the ukulele (his first instrument at age 11) and also the guitar, for a "new" sound - the banjo. Now retired, a snow bird, and living in Bradenton, Florida, he has narrowed his musical interests toward the old time banjo styles and tunes of the Appalachian Mountains. He plays a unique style of frailing, sometimes a more melodic clawhammer style, and occasionally a thumb-lead two finger picking style...all without finger picks.
Kim Vermeer (bass) - Born in Atlanta, Georgia, Kim begged for a guitar at age nine after hearing the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan show. She played mostly in coffeehouses through high school, then in later years studied and performed on classical guitar. Having discovered that playing old time music was just plain more fun, she experimented with a wash-tub bass which eventually led her to her 1954 Kay. Kim also lends her voice for the band, bringing a welcome sound and style. When Kim isn't practicing or performing, she teaches first and second grades in Zephyrhills, FL.