mEET THE BAND

 

Dave Helman, Bass 

Dave Helman wears many hats and is lovingly called
"Mister Bluegrass of Western Mass" by his wife Rose. 

He was born in West Virginia at an early age and grew
up in Western Maryland and was influenced by the 
country musicians in his neighborhood and by the records
his mother had in her collection.

Dave's mom thought he was upstairs sleeping when in 
fact he was listening to Lee Moore The Coffee Drinkin' 
Night Hawk on his midnight to dawn radio show on 
WWVA in Wheeling, WVA. and Wayne Rainey on WCKY 
in Cincinnati. 

Dave eventually met his radio mentor Lee Moore and 
hired him to perform at some of his functions. 
His Uncle Sam brought him up to Massachusetts to 
Westover AFB in Chicopee in 1962 for a stint and 
was married here in 1966. Still listening to country and
bluegrass and collecting records he discovered the 
Country Blues and Bluegrass show on WMUA at the
University of Massachusetts. 

Upon calling the show one Sunday afternoon he was able
to eventually become one of the deejays there which was
a life-long dream. In 1983 a move was made to his 
current position at WTCC at Springfield Technical 
Community College with his Country Corner Show 
featuring vintage country and bluegrass on Saturdays. 

Dave has been instrumental in the promotion of the 
One Day In May BG Festival, Bluegrass At Buttery 
Brook, the Country Corner Coffee House concert series
 as well as being an MC, promoter and sound engineer. 

The bass is his instrument and he has played with several
bands over the years which include the East Mountain 
Ramblers, The Cowtippers, Dan Helman and Marking 
Time and The Good Samaritan Singers.

 

Ron Jackson, Vocals

Ron Jackson, a retired life insurance executive and Lt. Col. in the USAF/ANG,honed his love of country music on Hank Williams, 
The Louvin Brothers, Carl Smith, Webb Pierce, Faron Young, 
Ernest Tubb, and so many others. 

However, the biggest influence to shape his country music
love was his uncle Fred, who came back from WWII playing 
guitar and singing country music. An accordion player by 
trade, in his mid-teens, Ron was playing in local Honky 
Tonks with area country bands.

In his retirement years, he thanks his wife. Gail for allowing
him to live out his dream of playing good, old country and 
bluegrass music with his friends.

 

  Peter McLean, Dobrojj
Peter Mc Lean lives in Worthington, Massachusetts. He is a Fine 
Artist and Professor Emeritus of Fine Arts from the Hartford Art 
School at The University
of Hartford, West Hartford, Connecticut. His work has been exhibited in
Regional, National and International Shows in Drawing, Painting and 
Printmaking. 
His work has been included in many competitive National Shows 
as well as in Group and Solo Collegiate Exhibitions.   Mr. Mc Lean is an 
accomplished musician on Dobro, Pedal Steel and Lap Steel  Guitars. 
 
He began playing Hawaiian Guitar in 1945. His training began at the 
Pizzatola Music Studios in Holyoke. Massachusetts in 1945-1952. During 
the 1950's he organized a dance band, playing in a variety of venues in
Western  Massachusetts.  
While in the U.S.Army in Germany during  1956-1959, he played 
professionally with Country/Western and Rock Band as a lead guitarist. 
These include, "Smokey Paul and the Ranch House Boys"  and with 
Vaughn Meader, (JFK Impersonator 1960's), in a Rockabilly-Country Band 
in the Heidleburg and Manheim Germany areas during 1958-1959. 
During the 1970-1980 he played with Wild Turkey (Country Rock) and 
Sugarbush (Bluegrass), two Hilltown Bands. In more recent years, he has
been involved with Bluegrass and Blues Bands. He plays with his friend
and guitarist,  Michael Ingram from West Hartford, Connecticut. 
They have played at Coffee Houses and at Open Mikes in Connecticut
and Massachusetts. Most recently they played at the Helsinki Lounge
in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. Currently, Peter plays the Dobro
for "Old Country Road", a regional Western Massachusetts Bluegrass
Band.
 
Dan Pilachowski, Flat Picking Guitar
Dan Pilachowski was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland, a hotbed
of bluegrass music in the 60ís and 70ís.  He became familiar with 
the music when he got a hold of a guitar at age twelve. 
One of his mentors was the late Pudge Warfield, a noted lead guitarist
from Martinsburg, WVA. Attending bluegrass festivals in Berryville, VA and
Indian Springs, MD helped to hone his skills on the guitar and in bluegrass 
music in general. In 1980 Dan moved to South Hadley, Massachusetts 
and one weekend he attended the One Day In May Bluegrass
Festival in Granby at Dufresne Recreation Area.
There he met and befriended Dave Helman, the festival organizer and 
fellow Marylander. 
Later Dan became one of the founding members of the East Mountain 
Ramblers along with Dave and his son Daniel.  He has played in 
several other groups including the Good Samaritan Singers. He is also
a sought after lead and rhythm guitar player at any area jam session.
 
Mark Leveille, Mandolin and vocals