BLUE SOUTH BAND BIOS
EG’s “band of brothers” are left to right: Ken Wynn, Mike Harrell, Johnny Fountain, and Gary Porter.
Read their individual bios below.
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KEN WYNN – Guitar
Playing guitar since the early 1970’s, Ken’s early influence was his mom, who sang in a Gospel group known as the Collins Trio. When he was a child, family gatherings found everyone gathered around a piano, where his Uncle Emory, Aunt Quida, and his mom sang many gospel songs.
The first concert Ken attended was The Allman Brothers Band, in February 1972. Ken and his brother, Eric had several of their albums, and had become big fans. Ken was 16 years old and drove Eric and two friends to the Macon Auditorium to the show. Ken still thinks of that show as the best sounding and inspiring concert to date. Around that time, Ken formed a garage band with Eric and they were hooked!
Performing at Whiskey River in Macon, the band would sometimes back up headliner artists, and Ken’s favorite was Percy Sledge. When Ken played that signature guitar riff at the bridge, Percy clearly was impressed, and turned around and gave him a big smile.
Ken performed a few times with EG as a duo in the 1990’s, and has been in the studio and played on albums for EG, and for Lisa Biales. And in 2003, he also put out his own album, “Breau Jam” with his brother Eric, and Glenn Harrell.
According to Ken, “The Blues Festival in Duluth, Minnesota a few years back was my first big show with EG, and it was one of my favorite concerts because of the large crowd and the energy. The band had that bit of magic on stage that we usually do, and it seems we just keep getting better. Opening two shows for B.B. King at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta, and at the City Auditorium in Macon were fantastic, too! Our recent shows and EG’s new CD are a testament of all of our love for the music, and I feel this is the best group of folks I have ever worked with. I am very happy to be a part of this ‘thang’!”
GARY “Spoog” PORTER – Drums
At 18 months old, Gary got his first toy marching drum, and played at a party with his dad that New Year’s Eve at the church where his dad was the pastor. Starting at such an early age, he’s been making noise as long as he can remember. The first time he heard a live drummer on stage, the bass drum resonated so big in his chest that it scared him, but he was hooked.
Gary got his first drum set when he was 13 years old. Growing up in Macon, he was hugely influenced by watching three drummers – Steve Kent, Jerome Thomas, and Jaimoe, one of the founding members of The Allman Brothers Band. Watching these guys was like trying to take in volumes from a set of encyclopedias. Gary admits he’s still trying to learn the many lessons they have to teach, and he loves watching them make the music come alive in a way that includes the audience in their experience.
Playing in EG’s band has been a wonderful experience for him. Gary says “She gives us the freedom to play in the moment, making the songs new every night, and you never know what she’ll throw at you. She keeps us on our toes. Before the first gig I played with her, I asked if we were going to have a good time. She responded with ‘We’re breathing, aren’t we?!’ That was December of 1998. Since then, traveling with EG, I’ve been to many places, and met new ‘family’ I didn’t know I had. And with this band, I’ve experienced the joy of music that’s impossible to put into words. Thanks to EG for letting me be part of your journey.”
JOHNNY FOUNTAIN – Bass
Johnny Fountain’s aunt was a huge fan of Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Rock & Roll. His mom played records of Big Band music from Glenn Miller, Tommy Dorsey, etc. And Johnny and his dad would listen to the Grand Ole Opry on the car radio at night. So he grew up with music all around him.
When the Beatles hit the US, Johnny’s interest expanded to include Ray Charles, Roy Orbison, and the Ventures. When he was 12 years old he showed an interest in the guitar, and he played the saxophone at school. A year later, he and his cousin started a garage band. The bass became his instrument when band members drew names out of a hat and he “lost.” The bass has been his slot ever since.
Several garage bands later, Johnny and Mike Harrell (keyboards) played in a band called The Ancestors. They performed at local sock hops, proms, football receptions, and at the old American Legion halls and National Guard Armories around Middle Georgia. Johnny played in various groups through the years, including corporate bands, and eventually landed with EG’s Blue South Band.
Johnny has known EG since the early 1970s, when he was hired to back her for a country show. Johnny has played with Mike and Ken off and on since the 1970s. And Gary was playing with EG when Johnny first met him in 1998, at the Rookery in Macon. And according to Johnny, “Fender bass rules!”
MIKE HARRELL – Keyboards
Mike Harrell grew up in Dublin, Georgia and first got interested in music around the age of 4 or 5. His brother was ten years older and played various instruments, including the piano.
When he was in the second grade, a woman came to his classroom and asked if anyone was interested in taking piano lessons. He and a girl raised their hands, and he ended up taking lessons for two years. Listening to his brother play got Mike hooked on the piano. His brother taught him the song “Down Yonder.” Some of the notes were broken, but he used his imagination. He loved Boogie Woogie, and started playing by ear.
After his first recital, his mom thought he looked scared, and thought that he’d probably stop playing. But Mike told his mom, “I’m just getting started!”
Later Mike played at sock hops and football receptions. He and Johnny Fountain played with different bands here and there, but around the age of 15 they started playing together in a band called The Ancestors. Mike went on to college and later joined an ensemble of students from various US colleges. They played “Handel’s Messiah” for King Hussein in Jordan, and performed at many other concert halls across the Middle East.
In his twenties, Mike met Ken Wynn, and they started playing together, along with Johnny. Mike saw Gary Porter perform at a benefit, and he blew him away. That day Mike asked him to sit in with his band. Shortly after, Mike, Ken and Gary started playing together at the Skydog benefit in Macon, honoring Duane Allman.
Mike started listening to EG when he was a teenager and they jammed a few times over the years. When EG was looking for a keyboard player a year or so ago, Johnny suggested she contact Mike, and the rest is history!
Mike says “I have a lot of respect, musically and personally, for EG and the other members of the band. All are great musicians I’ve come to know, and we immediately click when we play together.”
Mike loves the blues, and any kind of music that moves him. If it sounds good, it’s good enough for him.
RHONDA PORTER – background vocals
Music was always Rhonda’s passion from an early age. Her mom sang in the school chorus, plays, and the church choir, so music was always around.
Rhonda always knew she wanted to be a singer, and she enjoyed most genres. As a teenager her favorite groups were CCR, The Beatles, and The Eagles. And she often listened to artists like Karen Carpenter, Janice Joplin, Carol King, and Barbra Streisand, and she tried to emulate them.
Her first memory of singing a solo was in church, and after that she was hooked. She has since sung with different Macon area groups like the Loose Skrews; Pallot, Porters, & Miller; and the Buttercats. She has also shared the stage with great artists like Tommy Talton, Randall Bramblett, and Diane Durrett.
For several years she has also been a part of the annual Skydog Benefit Concert, celebrating the life and music of Duane Allman. The money raised at these events supports the Rescue Mission of Middle Georgia.
One of Rhonda’s most memorable performances was on stage with EG Kight, at the Fox Theater in Atlanta, when EG and her Blue South Band opened for BB King. The next night, they opened for BB again at the Macon City Auditorium.
Rhonda has also joined EG and the band in the studio, and her voice can be found on two of Kight’s CDs. Rhonda joins the band on stage when she can, and EG affectionately calls her “My Blues Sister.”