Band Member Biographies

Lucky TomblinLUCKY TOMBLIN, songwriter and lead vocalist, first sang in public at the Grand Ole Opry Show in San Antonio with Roger Miller, Little Jimmy Dickens and Ray Price. Dynamic Records’ Ave Epstein signed him, and his first single, the folk-rock “On My Love”, was a regional hit. He played nightclubs and shared stages with such friends as Jackie King, Doug Sahm, Augie Meyers and the West Side Horns. In the 80’s, he founded The Fire Station recording studio in San Marcos, Texas and began to produce the likes of the Texas Tornados, Joe Ely, Flaco Jimenez, Jerry Jeff Walker and Omar and the Howlers.

It was his old friend Doug Sahm who urged Tomblin to form a band and go back onstage, which became the genesis for his first band, Lucky 13 (which performed at the Havana Jazz Festival in 2002) and the current Lucky Tomblin Band, which released its self-titled debut album in 2003, followed by 2006’s In A Honky-Tonk Mood and the new disc Red Hot From Blue Rock.

The Lucky Tomblin Band is the 2007-2008 Academy of Western Artists Pure Country Duo/Group of the Year.

Lucky was also the Executive Producer, and appeared in, the independent film: Antone’s: Home Of The Blues. This delightful documentary traces the history of the club and its colorful owner by way of interviews and performances of the great blues musicians who played there.

EARL POOLE BALL could slide through the rest of his life flashing credentials for his 20-year stint as Johnny Cash's right-hand piano man, but that would be overlooking his curriculum vitae. Ball's shot-glass tinkling of the 88s has come to define the term "honky-tonk piano," though a glance at his résumé achieves the same result: Merle Haggard, Buck Owens, Jerry Lee Lewis, Rick Nelson, Marty Robbins, and the Flying Burrito Brothers.

After leaving his native Mississippi to seek his musical fortune in Southern California, Ball not only worked in the Palomino's famed house band but recorded with the Byrds on the landmark Sweetheart of the Rodeo album. Ball also found work as a character actor, often favored by director Peter Bogdanovich in films such as Texasville, The Thing Called Love, and Illegally Yours.

Yet it was his two decades with the Man in Black that gave Ball his star quality, a glittering talent he brought to Austin after Cash retired from touring. Ball made Austin his home in 1999, where he is a highly sought-after studio musician and performs solo as well as with Redd Volkaert in Heybale! and the Lucky Tomblin Band. – Margaret Moser

REDD VOLKAERT is a master guitar picker and has a cult following among guitarists. Redd started early, at the age of ten. By the time he was 14, he was playing in local bars and clubs in Vancouver, British Columbia. After 8 years in Alberta, he moved to Los Angeles, playing in clubs, and in some bands backing artists like Ray Price, Lacy J. Dalton locally, while teaching and working on demo sessions.

In 1990, he moved to Nashville and started working clubs and a few road dates and studio sessions, then went on the road with Clinton Gregory, eventually working his way to Merle Haggard’s band, The Strangers. In 1997 Merle Haggard found himself in need of a lead guitarist. Haggard said, “I usually listen to the guys in the band. I asked them who was the best guitarist they knew, and they all said Redd.” He took Redd without an audition. After becoming a “Stranger,” Redd recorded and toured with Merle, appearing in concert and on national television, as well as releasing his first on Hightone Records, "Telewacker".

Since relocating to Austin, Redd has released two more solo albums, played on Brad Paisley’s Grammy nominated Mud On The Tires, won Austin Music Awards Best Electric Guitarist in 2005 & 2006 and won 2009 Grammy for Country Instrumental, Cluster Pluck.

In addition to his duties with the Lucky Tomblin Band, Redd also performs with Earl Poole Ball in Heybale.

Bassist and songwriter SARAH BROWN is widely recognized in the international blues and roots music scene. In 2010 she was voted into the Austin Chronicle Music Awards Hall of Fame, adding to four awards as Best Bass Player.

She has toured and/or recorded with an impressive list of blues greats, starting with legends such as Big Walter Horton, Sunnyland Slim, and continuing with Albert Collins, Buddy Guy, Otis Rush, James Cotton and more, as bassist with the house band at Antone’s, the famous Austin blues mecca. 

Sarah has added her rhythmic punch to the music of New Orleans royalty (Earl King and Snooks Eaglin) and played with British rockers such as Ian McLagan and Billy Bragg, appearing with both on the PBS TV show Austin City Limits. She’s accompanied Bonnie Raitt on several stages, including the 2nd Farm Aid Festival.

 She is often seen with top Americana artists including Rosie Flores and Bill Kirchen, both also songwriting partners.  She tours and records with Dave Alvin’s project, the Guilty Women, and contributed a song to the band’s CD. Her songs have also been covered by such notables as R&B legend Ruth Brown and New Orleans star Irma Thomas, as well as Marcia Ball, Joe Louis Walker, Rosie Flores, Bill Kirchen and Laurie Lewis.   Sarah was the subject of a feature profile in Bass Player magazine.

Sarah Brown's Website

JON HAHN has been playing drums professionally since the early 80’s.

A native of the Midwest, he received a BA in Music while playing in numerous bands in the area before relocating to Austin, Texas in 1995.

Jon has performed or toured with Radney Foster, The Flatlanders, Rosie Flores, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Omar & The Howlers and Randy Weeks among others.

Since 1982, BOBBY ARNOLD has been a recording engineer, first at Willie Nelson’s Pedernales Studio, and for the past 17 years at the Fire Station Studio on the Texas State University campus.

He’s been fortunate to work with Willie, Ray Charles, Neil Young, Les Paul, and hundreds of others along the way. As well he’s enjoyed watching as his students, including his son, “grow up” and work for worldwide acts and studios.

“Being in Lucky’s band since day one has been a huge joy. And I never loose sight of the quality of musicians I’m blessed to accompany.”

Outside of music, Bobby loves being married to Dorothy, being a dad to Forrest, country living, and working in a recovery ministry at their church in Wimberley.

Bobby Arnold on Artist Direct

Long recognized as on of Austin’s foremost guitar slingers, JOHN REED (AKA John X. Reed and Johnny X), joined The Lucky Tomblin Band a few months after the band cut their first CD.   John began his musical life at age 8 playing the guitar and traditional fiddle music with his father and grandfather on a farm in eastern New Mexico.  His playing continued in the 1950’s and 60’s, his Jr. and Sr. high school years, in Amarillo and Lubbock Texas; areas known to be a hot bed of music. 

While in college in Lubbock he embarked on what would become long term musical associations with Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Joe Ely, Butch Hancock, Jesse “Guitar” Taylor and Ponty Bone.  Since moving to Austin in 1970 John has been in demand as a diverse guitarist; once described in the Austin Chronicle as playing “like a card shark with his life on the betting line”.   He has performed, recorded and toured across the United States and in Europe with an eclectic variety of artist’s including:  Doug Sahm, Roky Erickson, Marcia Ball, James Polk, Kimmie Rhodes, Alvin Crow and Kenneth Threadgill.

Appearing on the band's eponymous release, Steel guitar and Dobro player CINDY CASHDOLLAR has won five Grammy Awards and logged many miles on the road touring the US and abroad. Her work can be heard on Bob Dylan's Grammy-winning 1997 Album of the Year, Time Out of Mind , as well as recordings by Asleep at the Wheel, Leon Redbone, Peter Rowan, Graham Parker, and many others. Starting out on folk and Delta blues guitar at age 11, Cindy later switched to Dobro in her early twenties. She played in an acoustic quartet with Levon Helm and Rick Danko of The Band and then spent five years touring with blues stylist Leon Redbone, during which time she started playing the non-pedal steel guitar.

In her eight-year stint with Asleep at the Wheel, Cindy recorded six albums, including the critically acclaimed Bob Wills "tribute" albums ( A Tribute to the Music of Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys and Ride with Bob ). Although Cindy still performs with the Wheel from time to time, she officially departed in 2001 and tours with acts such as Beausoleil, Kelly Willis, Peter Rowan, Jorma Kaukonen and many others. Cindy is a frequent guest on Garrison Keillor's NPR show, A Prairie Home Companion , and has released four instructional videos for steel and Dobro guitar playing on Homespun Tapes.