Friday, July 20, 2018
Jonalee White Trio - 6 p.m.
McGuffey Lane - 7:30 p.m.
In 1972, founding members Steve George Reis (bass/ vocals) and Terry Efaw (steel guitar/ gut string guitar/ electric guitar) were a duo called “Scotch and Soda.” When they added Bobby Gene McNelley (vocalist/ guitarist), they renamed themselves McGuffey Lane after the street of Steve's Athens, Ohio, home.
As their popularity grew, they added Dick Smith (drums/ vocals) and Stephen “Tebes” Douglass (keyboards/ harmonica/ vocals). In 1977, McGuffey Lane started playing at Zachariah’s Red Eye Saloon and soon became the house band. At that point, they added John Schwab (vocalist/ guitarist) who was opening for them as the sixth and final member of the original McGuffey Lane.
The group played at Zachariah's through 1980. In August of 1980, they released their first self-titled album on Paradise Island Records selling 40,000 in the first three months. The album reached #1 in Columbus during the fall of 1980 which gained the attention of Atlantic Records. Atlantic released the album nationally on its Atco Label with sales of 175,000. During the early 1980s, McGuffey Lane was a national act touring with Charlie Daniels, the Allman Brothers, The Judds and Marshall Tucker Band. In 1981 they released their second album, “Aqua Dreams,” followed by their third album, “Let the Hard Times Roll” in 1982. In early 1984, Douglass was killed in an automobile accident returning home from a show in Dayton. They released their fourth and final album for Atlantic, “Day by Day” and dedicated it to him. After this release, McNelley left the band to pursue a solo song writing career.
In 1985 McGuffey Lane went back to their Ohio roots playing clubs, concert halls, fairs and festivals. In 1986 they released “A McGuffey Lane Christmas,” a fundraiser for the Central Ohio Lung Association. In 1990, McGuffey Lane disbanded after a tour through the state and a last night at the Newport Music Hall. In 1993, they did a “one-time show” at the Newport and in 1995 they released “Greatest Hits Live and More.” At that point, McGuffey Lane regrouped featuring John Schwab, Terry Efaw and Casey McGowan from the 1980s line up. They were joined by veteran Columbus area musicians including Molly Pauken (mandolin, acoustic guitar, vocals). In 1998, they released “Call Me Lucky.” It was during 1998 that current McGuffey Lane members joined the band. Randy Huff (drums/ vocals) joined in the summer of 1998, Jerry Cummings (keyboards/ vocals) in October 1998 and Kevin Reed (harmonica/ vocals) at the end of 1998.
In 2001, McGuffey Lane organized the First Annual Zachariah’s Red Eye Saloon Reunion featuring themselves and other acts that performed during the Zach’s days. In 2002, they released all acoustic CD “Wood” which included popular concerts songs from the late 1970s never previously released. In 2003, the Zachariah’s Red Eye Saloon Reunion moved to Promo West Pavilion and has been held there (now Express LIVE!) every year since. Finally, in 2006, after years of fighting with Atlantic over the rights to their first four albums recorded in the mid-1980s, Rhino Records released them in two- albums sets. The first self-titled album and “Aqua Dreams” in one set and “Let the Hard Times Roll” and “Day by Day” in the second set.
In 2010, McGuffey Lane released their 10th and latest CD, “10,” on Lick Records which was co-founded by John Schwab. In 2011, “Bartender” from the “10” CD was released as a single. It reached #50 on the national country charts (Music Row Magazine). The 2016 Zachariah's Reunion was held to another sold out crowd. McGuffey Lane's says its history mirrors one of the songs from their 2002 “Wood” album: “I've been up and down and all around my head in the clouds and my feet on the ground. Don't you worry baby don't you worry about me. Cause I've survived everything that comes and goes. I still know which way that old north wind blows. After all these years I'm ‘Runnin' Wild and Free.’” McGuffey Lane is still going strong with the three original surviving members (Steve George Reis, Terry Efaw and John Schwab) in the band. McGuffey Lane still performs 30+ concerts annually.