Jan has been playing guitar for 35 years. He studied early on with world-class guitarist and teacher Arlen Roth in Manhattan. “He taught me to look outside the blues, which was my passion, and learn to understand the guitar’s relationship to other musical forms such as country, bluegrass, R & B, Funk, Folk, Cajun, and specifically how to serve the SONG.”
This musical gumbo gave Jan the foundation that led from years as a blues sideman to 20 years in a roots-oriented jam band, Stir Fried (www.stirfried.com). Being in Stir Fried afforded Jan the opportunity to tour alongside such brilliant musicians as Pedal steel ace Buddy Cage (New Riders of the Purple Sage, Ian and Sylvia) and fiddle legend Vassar Clements (Bill Monroe, Old and in the Way, Grateful Dead), Dr John, Tony Trischka, Leo Nocentelli, and more.
Jan currently also plays lead guitar in the Americana band, The Crackers, as well as with Stir Fried & The Johnny Markowski Band.
Tom Rausch – Bass, Vocals
What can we say about Tommy? ….In the pocket !!
“The Rausch Brothers Band was THE band around Sullivan County, New York as long as I can remember,” says Barn Cats rhythm guitarist, John Rocklin. Tommy also played in many other exciting projects including 30 Year Rookie with Mike Ciliberto of The Blues Magoos and currently also plays & sings in the 12-piece group, The Funk Junkies, as well as The Mojo Gypsies. His vocals are just right and his bass playing is phenomenal.
Jim Verdi – Drums
As well as being a drummer, Jim has his hand in many aspects of the music industry. Songwriting, engineering, and producing are some of the talents he brings to the table.
A few of his accomplishments are listed below:
With the Jon-Wite Group, he recorded an album that produced two worldwide dance hits and a six-month European tour.
With Michael McCartney he co-wrote the original Arena football theme song for television.
He engineered and co-produced the backing blues tracks that “Imus in The Morning” uses for his impromptu commercials. This music was performed by Little Sammy Davis and Midnight Slim.
He is currently on the cover of Great Jersey Musicians by Richard Hoynes, available at amazon.com.
Presently, he is also drumming for The Funk Junkies; the legendary Blackberry Blues Band of Asbury Park; 30 Year Rookie; Counterfeit Cash; Mark Preston and the Traveling Men (recording a 12-track album with One Came Down, The Mojo Gypsies, and DVR); and The Hillbilly Drags trailer on YouTube has DVR performing throughout.
John Rocklin – Guitar, Vocals
I feel like my life has always revolved around music. The connections and circumstances that I have ended up being around are truly remarkable to me. My father had a great love for folk & country music and from an early age exposed me to very up-close and informal gatherings in Washington Square Park. I was around Bob Dylan, Dave Van Ronk, Woody Guthrie, Rambling Jack Elliot, Maria Muldaur, Sonny Terry, Brownie McGhee, and so many more.
I also feel like my grandmother on my mother’s side had a large hand in my fascination with music. Some of my earliest memories are of sitting on her lap and her holding my wrists to help me clap along in time with her singing old time songs that she knew from the South.
As a teenager all my energy was spent working to buy used records and going to see concerts. I am truly humbled and at a loss for explanation of how I ever was lucky enough to get up close and immersed in the performances of so many truly incredible musicians and historic figures – most of the time hitchhiking everywhere I went. I remember going by myself to see such notables as Muddy Waters and Bill Monroe & his Bluegrass boys as I could not find anybody else even remotely interested.
In 1996, by then well into my later thirties, I met and befriended blues harmonica legend, Little Sammy Davis. Although I had played guitar & sang most of my life it never really came together for me until I began taking a few lessons from Fred ” Midnight Slim” Scribner who was Sammy’s guitar player – starting with Fred getting me a little straightened out on a lot of things musical and culminating with just soaking in everything I could from Sammy.
Being around Sammy also put me once again in close proximity to so many great artists whose presence enriched my musical journey so much more. I began to document my experiences photographically which led me into a career as a photographer. My photography never strays too far from the music as can be seen on my website (www.johnrocklinphotography.com).
In 2006, I founded The Honesdale Roots & Rhythm Music Festival & was the musical director for the first six years. The Barn Cats is allowing me to explore a whole other side of my musical adventures with an absolutely fantastic group of musicians. I am having a blast !! I also play guitar and sing in the Americana band The Crackers.