Byron Paul ~ Steve Watson
Dennis Beckwith ~
BYRON PAUL – Lead Guitar / Lead Vocals
Byron got his first real start at the age of 18 holding down guitar and vocals with Heartwood; it was an auspicious beginning. The band built a huge regional following and eventually released “Nothin’ Fancy” on GRC Records. They toured nationally from 1972 – 1975 doing all the things that a band on the rise does: playing showcases and opening up for more established bands like Asleep At The Wheel, David Allen Coe and Kinky Friedman and The Texas Jewboys. Heartwood distinguished itself with original songwriting and a country rock sound with Byron penning four of the eleven tracks for the release. Hopes were high but as fate would have it, the label went under and the band found itself back home in North Carolina. With Heartwood disbanded, there was a new combination with several of the same players in the band Lagniappe (that included brother Bobby). Following that came a number of years touring with B.J. Thomas in his road band, taking him to major venues across the country. But the road took its toll and it was back to Carolina to eventually marry and raise a family. With children grown and graduating to adulthood, he started venturing out to perform again playing with Big John Shearer and other friends. Then one day he called former Heartwood bandmate Robert Hudson and said – “Hey I’m starting a band and I’d like you to be in it”
STEVE WATSON - Pedal Steel / Lap Steel / Guitar
Steve and Byron were high school classmates played together in their Senior year talent show. After high school they went their separate ways with Byron joining Heartwood and Steve playing with many of North Carolina's finest rock bands including Cripple Creek, Breckenridge, and Two Dollar Pistols. There were lots of recording sessions with Bruce Frye, Drew Kennedy, and the legendary Squirrel Nut Zippers for which Steve earned a gold record for his session work. In 1992 Steve joined The Tim Stambaugh Band where he first met Robert Hudson. Steve and Robert played lot of gigs with Tim including a two and a half week tour of Germany. Afterwards Steve was back on the road touring the United States with many bands and playing pedal steel and guitar as a side man on numerous recording sessions. In 2014 Robert called Steve up and invited him to come hear his new band with Byron Paul. Not only did he come to hear the band but brought along his guitars and pedal steel. When Byron arrived at the gig Steve had already set up to play. At first Byron didn't recognize Steve as they had not seen each other since high school, but once he started ribbing Byron about their high school gig Byron realized who he was. The two of them, along with Robert, played the gig and it felt like he had always been in the band. And that was the night the new and improved Byron Paul Band was born.
DENNIS BECKWITH - Bass Guitar / Harmony Vocals
Dennis first got hooked on music watching American Bandstand with his Grandma in the 60's. He was first introduced to performing in 67 when he started playing tuba in the marching/concert band. But in 69 it all changed when he got his first guitar. Self taught and well traveled, he's played on every continent except Antarctica. From rock & roll bands to solo singer songwriter, country (and sometimes western) to jazz, blues to gospel, he's played in so many settings, but it all comes down to being in the moment of the performance. Dennis met Robert though a mutual musician friend and sat in with another one of the bands he drums for in the spring of 2014. His first meeting with Byron was after a fill in call 4 hrs before a gig that summer. Even though they'd never met, the trio played a solid rocking 2 hr set that made the crowd not believe the claim that it was the first time they'd all played together.
ROBERT HUDSON – Drums / Percussion / Harmony Vocals
In 1970 Robert joined forces with the Greenville based band called Warm (1970 - 1972). Heralded as one of the first folk rock bands in the Carolinas, Warm mixed country and folk influences, original songs and great harmonies into a southern tinged blend and found themselves touring regionally and opening up for The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Rare Earth and Uriah Heep. Once again, life intervened and the group dissolved but out of this very fertile period in the Carolinas, members from both Warm and The Wreck of The Old 97 found themselves in the newly created Heartwood. Since those days, Robert has continued to play; touring Germany with The Tim Stambaugh Band and Ireland with Rain Dance and former Warm bandmate, Brenda Linton’s band. In addition to raising a family he gives back by mentoring upcoming bands and has served as the percussionist for youth theatre musicals for over 20 years. Robert currently lends the beat and harmonies to Tarheel Son, and Pagan Hellcats, in addition to The Byron Paul Band.