Hard@Play is a 9 piece band. We play music we love, classic rock with horns. Chicago, Blood Sweat & Tears, Steely Dan, Santana... much of our music comes from the 70's, but we also play songs from the late 60's and a sprinkling of songs on up toward today. Have a look at our list of songs and listen to the demos. We love music that makes you feel good.
Hard@Play began in 2010, when trombonist Ken Westphal was asked by the husband of one of his wife's friends to join a group of his golf buddies who played music on Sunday afternoons. After a couple of Sundays, he suggested adding more horns and recruited Ted Williams on trumpet & Jack Bates on saxophone. When they brought in music by Chicago, it quickly became obvious that they would need a different core group to make it work, so they excused themselves and Ken began work on forming a new band.
The first person Ken thought of was keyboardist/vocalist Troy Burns. Between the two of them, they assembled a new group of musicians, which kept shifting and evolving over the next several months, with the core group of 3 horns & keyboards. During that period, as they worked to fill the other spots, the band's name could have been aptly called Revolving Door. However, Jeff & Kent Swearingen were soon added on vocals, then Joe Nickell on bass & Ray Barbee on guitar. The hardest member to pin down was percussion, as the band when through a series of drummers (none of whom spontaneously combusted!). Tim Higgins eventually fell into place behind the drums and the band began to gel.
In April 2011, Hard@Play debuted at the annual Ground Hearts Party, sharing the stage with Kansas City's Bluesberry Jam & Rock Paper Scissors. It was great fun and the response was excellent. Shortly thereafter, however, a move to Nashville removed guitarist Ray Barbee from the lineup. His replacement is Ron Carlson, a jazz guitarist with his own group, the Ron Carlson Trio.