Founded in 1999, the group of Joe Epps, Chris Rose, Johnny Knox and Joe Mastrangelo met at Knox' Automotive at a jam session. Soon afterward, Charlie Scudder and Bob Burrows joined to become Hard Knox. shortly after that, they won the VA State Folk Music Band Contest and enjoyed playing Regionally at the Amelia and James River Festivals as well as other know venues including Luckett's, Framville Radio with Bill McKay, local fairs and festivals including the Smithfield Summer Series, Pine and Pork Festival, Isle of Wight, Chesapeake, New Kent County festivals and many more. In 2003, the guys disbanded because one of the members moved to Ohio to be with the grandkids, but then moved back after 5 years being gone. The guys are so close and enjoy playing together so much that they got back together for a reunion concert immediately in 2008 and have been playing and loving it again since then! In 2016 Don Hamadyk Joined the group.
Introducing the members, they are:
Banjo and Vocals
Joe comes from Canonsburg, PA and found his musical way to Smithfield, VA and the Hard Knox Bluegrass Band by first listening to Italian operas at home, joining the grade school church choir, making a living in a rock band in the early '70s and later in his first bluegrass band in Pittsburgh, PA, then onto Smithfield, as one of the founding members of Hard Knox.
Dobro and Vocals
Bob grew up in North Carolina but now calls Newport News, Va. home. Bob knew when he first heard his dad play Carter Family records when he was a kid there was something special about this music. Bob has also played bass with local singer/songwriter Annie Johnson, rock group Pepperhead, country with the Heather Edwards Band, and in Europe with the USS Kaufmann's own ship's band Draper-James. Bob has come back to his roots playing the music he loves.
Guitar and Vocals
Chris was born in Dickenson County Virginia deep in the heart of coal country and moved to Newport News with his family at age 6 Chris grew up listening to his father, who was a guitarist and singer and played in many local country bands. Chris picked up the guitar at age 24. A late bloomer, Chris learned fast and was soon picking and singing with his dad. Chris‘ passion for bluegrass music began soon after and continues to this day. With an ear for unusual, and off the beaten path songs, and a love of beautiful mountain style harmonies, Chris brings a driving rhythm and soulful vocal to the stage and always has fun playing music. He proudly plays a guitar built by himself and his father in law Don Hubbard. Chris currently lives in Smithfield Va. With his wife Edie and son Jessie.
Charles Scudder was born and raised in the Hampton Roads area. At an early age Charlie played the accordian and honed some of his musical skills as he continued to play rock with his brother. Charlie followed bluegrass music and worked heavily providing quality sound for regional festivals. Charlie and Jay Andrews have provided quality sound ( Acoustic Sound Waves) for regional festivals . Charlie joined Hard Knox in 2002 and keeps the band in time with that big bass sound.
Don spent his childhood at the Jersey Shore playing baseball, bodysurfing, and accompanying his dad (a mandolin player) on piano. Don and his wife moved to Virginia in the early 80's, where he first heard bluegrass music on the radio and was immediately captivated. A one year job assignment in Washington DC cemented his love for bluegrass as he had the privelege of listening to the legendary Seldom Scene "up close and personal" every Thursday night at the Birchmere. Don co-founded and had many great musical memories with the Blue River Band.