Rob and the Red Bears bring bluegrass, rock to Let There Be Music, Madison!

MADISON – Rob and the Red Beards enjoy making music and share their excitement with those who listen to their rhythms and vocals. The band will play at Let There Be Music, Madison! on Aug. 26 at Old Black Bear in downtown Madison.

Rob and the Red Beards is so named for lead singer and guitarist Robert ‘Rob’ Galloway and his two fellow band members who happen to have red hair (the Red Beards).

Stephen Smiley plays dobro, an acoustic guitar with a metal resonator that acts as an amplifier. Smiley also masters a ‘lap steel,’ a steel guitar that the musician plays horizontally across the lap by pressing a polished steel bar against plucked strings. Smiley has won awards at the Tennessee Valley Old Time Fiddlers Convention.

Coming from a long line of musicians in his family, Trey Terry creates his impressive sounds on a stand-up bass.

“We are one of the few bands where everybody gets along great,” Galloway said. “We don’t fight over songs. If we can pull off a song, we’ll play it. Or, we’ll scrap it and play another one.”

The three men formerly played in different bands. Their group gelled a couple of years ago and during the pandemic.

Trying to get to the ‘next level,’ Rob and the Red Beards have gained fans from the bar scene, and now they are about to cut a CD. When they started as a band, bluegrass was their primary music.

“I’m 15 to 20 years older than Stephen and Trey, so I’m classic rock. When we started fooling around, we were doing the Ramones and some heavy metal. Now, we play classic rock, original songs, blues and bluegrass,” Galloway said.

Their version of bluegrass is a bit more lively than standard fare. “My rhythm is like rock. (My sound) is like an unplugged rock song, coming hard and heavy,” Galloway said.

Getting together to rehearse can be challenging, because they all live in different towns and counties. Galloway lives in Owens Cross Roads, Smiley is a resident of East Limestone, and Terry is from Decatur. Instead of a formal rehearsal, they will try new music before a gig. “I’ll throw a song at them, and, after a few shows, we get it pretty good,” Galloway said.

In a typical gig for Rob and the Red Beards, “we kick off the show with the theme from ‘48 Hours,’ the Eddie Murphy movie. Then, we’ll play ‘The Boys Are Back in Town,’ something by Waylon Jennings or Merle Haggard, Chris Isaak and switch to ‘Boom, Boom, Boom’ by John Lee Hooker and come into ‘Hangman’s Jury’ by Aerosmith,” Galloway said.

For more information, email robertscottgalloway@gmail.com or visit Facebook/Rob and the Red Beards.

Let There Be Music, Madison! concerts open at 6 p.m. Old Black Bear’s address is 212 Main St. in downtown Madison. Parking is available on Main and Martin streets. AMT Integrated Solutions is the presenting sponsor for Let There Be Music, Madison!

Madison Arts Council and Madison Visionary Partners are working as partners to raise funds for Home Place Park, the new venue for future, downtown music events. For more information, visit artsmadison.org.

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