By Jenna Croyle
This week’s featured Band of the Week is Ron Yarosz and the Vehicle, one of Erie’s foremost funky blues bands, and the only band in Erie that boasts a 565-pound Hammond B3 organ.
As the front man of this high energy band, Ron Yarosz shows off his many talents playing both the electric harmonica and the Hammond B3 organ, not to mention being the lead singer.
The Vehicle covers a wide range of Straight ahead blues to sometimes-psychedelic Improvisational jams. They specialize in doing modern versions of blues standards, always putting their own spin on the song.
The Vehicle has released three CDs over the years that include “The Vehicle” in 2003, “What It Is” in 2007, and a very special release that was recorded during an actual show at Nelson’s Tavern called “Live at Nelson’s” in 2010. That year The Vehicle performed regularly at Nelson’s Tavern, which was established by Bob Nelson the original founder of the Docksider Tavern. Much like his original creation, Nelson’s Tavern quickly became known for the best music and the best times on State Street. The Vehicle also is featured on the sound track of the locally produce film, Hunting Camp.
Ron Yarosz and the Vehicle have played the Pittsburgh Blues Festival three times and is the two-time winner of the Pittsburgh Blues Society of Western Pennsylvania’s Blues Challenge first in 2006 and again in 2010. By winning the local contest, they qualified for a spot in the Blues Foundation’s International Blues Challenge which was held February of 2011 in Memphis, Tennessee.
In August of 2010, The Vehicle had the unique honor of opening for Grammy Award-winning harmonica virtuoso Sugar Blue at the Erie Art Museum’s Blues and Jazz Festival.
Sugar Blue recorded his Grammy-winning Hidden Charms album in 1989, has performed on festival stages with classic artists like Muddy Waters, B.B. King, Art Blakey and Lionel Hampton. Sugar Blue sat in with Fats Domino, Ray Charles, and Jerry Lee Lewis for the Cinemax special, Fats Domino and Friends, and has appeared on screen and in the musical score of Alan Parker’s acclaimed 1987 thriller Angel Heart, starring Robert De Niro.
Blue has played and recorded with musicians ranging from Willie Dixon to Stan Getz to Frank Zappa to Johnny Shines to Bob Dylan and is perhaps best known for his signature riff and solo on the Rolling Stones’ hit Miss You from their Some Girls album.
As no stranger to fame himself, in 2008 Ron Yarosz was a finalist in Guitar Player Magazine’s Guitar Superstar Competition. In October of 2010, Ron Yarosz was proclaimed a “Harmonica and B3 maestro” by Beale Street Caravan, which is the most widely, distributed Blues radio program in the world that attracts more than 2.4 million listeners each week.
The band takes much of it musical influences from many artists such as Muddy Waters, Paul Butterfield, Carlos Santana, Led Zepplin, “T-Bone” Walker, Jerry Garcia along with the immortal band the Grateful Dead and the legendary B.B. King to name only a few.
The band members include Ralph Reitinger on bass, on drums is Ron Sutton and on guitar is one of the most electrifying young guitar players to hit an Erie stage in years, Eric Brewer. One of the amazing accomplishments of this 26-year-old musician was being a finalist of Guitar Player Magazine’s Superstar competition in 2008.