Bob's career in music spans four decades and has taken him all over North America. As a teenager, he was fortunate to have had the opportunity to know jazz legend Duke Ellington, who became his inspiration to learn the piano and write his own music.
He received formal training at Philadelphia’s University of the Arts, where several of his compositions were performed by award-winning ensembles. He traveled to New York City and studied voice with renowned vocal coach Don Lawrence. He performed at various venues and recording studios, television and radio shows in Philadelphia and New York before moving to Los Angeles and Western Canada.
He performed with his band in the Canadian Rockies for eleven years where he recorded his first CD of original music. Many of Bob’s award-winning songs including “River in the Sun”, “Dancing with Strangers,” and “Till I’m Holding You,” received airplay across Canada and the U.S. as well as Europe.
Bob moved to Nashville to further pursue his songwriting and performance career. There he released his second CD of original material, entitled, “Before the Dawn” which is available online at iTunes, CD Baby, and Tarnius Music.com, where his hits “Sixty’s the New Forty,” “Baby Loves Elvis,” and “Precious Moments” have all held top ten spots for most downloaded songs.
Bob was the Musical Director at the Center for Spiritual Living in Nashville since 2008, and currently directs the music, plays the piano, and sings at the Sarasota Spiritual Living Center. As a member of the Positive Music Association, he was recently honored for his song “I Am Reminded” as one of the top positive song videos in the country, which can be heard on YouTube.
Bob returned to school and earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Music and Philosophy, in 2011, at Middle Tennessee State University and, in 2014, a Master of Arts Degree at the University of North Carolina, and is currently working on a new CD of original music, while performing with the band.
Guitar / Vocals / Guitar Synth
Retired IT Professional Phil Ward was born into a musical family, and began his journey in Southwest Florida at the age of 4. By the time he was 5, he was being taught to play guitar by his father Tom Ward, when he began learning "old-school" country music and occasionally sitting in with various bands his dad played in. In his early teen years he began playing "rock-and-roll," "rockabilly," and "southern-rock" styles, and formed several groups of his own consisting of local schoolmates. His first "gig" was at a community center on Pine Island, Florida at the age of 16.
Several of his former band-members went on to play professionally, one became a professor of music and most of them still play music today. In his elementary through high school years he extended his love and knowledge of music as a member of the school band program, playing trumpet. During that period he continued to play guitar and sometimes brass with his "after-school-hours" groups. His brother Gary played drums in many of those bands as well. During those years they played gigs at other schools and youth centers around southwest Florida.
After graduating from high school Phil continued to perform with many local groups. The venues consisted of local pubs, weddings, fund-raisers, private parties, and other special occasions. During that time Phil and Gary also played alongside their father during many musical projects. Around the age of 25 Phil moved to Mobile, Alabama to join the group "Southern Sun," that one of his fellow bandmates had formed. Southern Sun performed across Georgia, North Florida, Alabama, and Mississippi.
Serious illness of one of the group's members eventually led to the group disbanding to pursue other ventures, so he came back "home" to Southwest Florida. After performing for many more years playing in assorted "House," "Tribute," "Country," "Southern Rock," "Motown," and "Top-40" groups around Florida, he received a call from some local musicians in need of a guitarist. That group, named Fortunate Sun soon became great friends, and was the basis of the band before you now. Join us as we continue along this path we have chosen to travel, and experience our latest offering: "TopShelf"
Sax / Flute / Vocals
Duane Reed Freeman – “Sax for life!”
Duane was born on January 8, 1952 in Madison, Wisconsin to Josie and Tracy Freeman, where he was raised and eventually mentored at the University of Wisconsin. In their later years Duane's parents grew tired of the Madison area and like so many others, migrated to Port Charlotte, Florida to escape the Wisconsin winters. Fortunately, he decided to move south as well.
During his years in Southwest Florida Duane made many friends and connected with many local area musicians and bands, several of which he still works with today. Several years later he moved to Sarasota, where he is currently residing with his wife Jane and our two dogs, “Sophie” and “Tinkie.”
While living here for the past 30 years Duane has performed professionally in many South Florida venues, as well as the Sarasota and Tampa Bay regions.
In addition, he has worked with most of the popular groups in the Sarasota Bay area, creating several successful local bands of his own, the latest being recognized as “Kool Breeze.”
Woody’s River Roo in Ellenton, Florida and the Riverside Cafe in Palmetto, Florida are the most likely venues where you’ll find him, as these are two of his favorite long-standing engagements. Duane also performs for several assisted living centers in the Tri County area. Per Duane, "Believe me… when I play for the Seniors, energy runs through their veins!"
You can also find him on YouTube, his website, or on social media. Duane's soulful vocals and saxophone will most certainly entertain you!