Meet The Band

Published on June 19th, 2012

Midnight Drive is one of the newest and most powerful bands of the Northwestern PA area. Starting as a jam session at the Clarion Bluegrass festival in March of 2010, they quickly became what is now “Midnight Drive”. The band has already made quite an impact on the local level as well as the national level. The members consists of some of the strongest pickers of the Northeastern part of the country.

 

Jeff Scheller (Upright Bass)

Jeff Scheller has been motivating his students to learn for the past 25 years. He is an award winning biology teacher who brings the same passion as he does to nature. He has been giving lessons and playing professionally since 19 years old. He played electric bass for country and rock band, Rhubarb, for 25 years, opening for 30 Nashville acts at amphitheaters, including Willie Nelson, Ricky Skaggs, and Charlie Daniels. He has grown to love the sound, feel, and physicality of the upright bass. He is a requested substitute player for local, regional, and national acts including Well Strung, Tiger Maple String Band and The Rowan/Cunningham band. He enjoys and appreciates all styles of upright, but especially loves bluegrass and slapping styles.

Scott Pearson (Fiddle)

Scott, originally from Pennsylvania, has played for the last 30 years in a variety of bluegrass bands in his lifetime including (among others) Beaver Creek, Crooked Creek Grass, Heart to Heart, Friends & Neighbors Band, and Church Street Blues. He has been fortunate to tour the eastern United States with those bands opening for Ricky Skaggs, Kathy Mattea, Mark O’Connor, and others and has had the privilege to play on stage with Del McCoury, Bill Monroe, Tim Stafford, and Lynn Morris. He has also had the honor for winning the Merlefest Mandolin Contest as well as become a 2 time Mayville Mandolin Champion, 3-time New York State Guitar Champion, Mid Atlantic Mandolin Champion, Maryland State and Pennsylvania State Fiddle Champion, 6-time place winner in the National Mandolin Contests in Winfield, Kansas, and a place winner in the Wayne Henderson Guitar Contest and Rockygrass Guitar and Mandolin Championships. Scott has also been an instructor for guitar and mandolin at the University of Edinboro, Houghton College, and the Mayville Guitar Convention.

Ron Bonkowski (Lead Vocals/Guitar)

Ron is one of the greatest talents in the Northeast Ohio area. His distinct voice and dynamic rythmn is what makes him a perfect fit for the Midnight Drive family.

Ron is a welcomed edition to the band, as he adds an awesome vocal presence that cannot be duplicated. His style and guitar playing have taken Midnight Drive to the next level of bluegrass music.

(more bio coming soon)

Jim Scott (Banjo)

Jim, from Western Pennsylvania is the youngest member of the group at the ripe age of 21. Beginning guitar at age 10, he later progressed into learning the banjo at 16, mandolin at 17 and dobro at 18 years old. When he is not on stage with Midnight Drive, he is a Music Teacher at the Mercer acoustic music shop (Phil’s Woodshed), teaching banjo, mandolin and bluegrass guitar to various musicians ranging from Northwestern PA to the greater Pittsburgh area. He has had the opportunity to play on stage with many regional acts of all types of genres. He is very thankful to all the support from his family & friends and to be a part of Midnight Drive.

Tom Carpenter (Mandolin)

Tom’s deep-rooted relationship with bluegrass can be traced back to his early childhood when he started playing mandolin at the young age of 5, where he heard Osborne Brothers, Doyle Lawson, Seldom Scene recordings while on his father’s knee! Tom grew up playing bluegrass in various national and regional bands including Salt Creek, Old In The Way, The Bluegrass Buckeyes, Shortline Junction and the Award winning “Church Street Blues”. Tom has shared the stage with many of the greats such as The Osborne Brothers, Tony Rice, Doyle Lawson and Vassar Clements just to mention a few. As an entertainer Tom brings his energetic stage presence, distinct hard driving mandolin style and his seasoned lead and harmony vocals!