In the Rough
Diamond Blue, the Cincinnati-based original quartet, has been making music together since 1999, starting out as the SJS Band and finally settling on the Diamond Blue name in January, 2000. Their influences range from The Beatles to Fleetwood Mac to the Corrs to Tom Petty to Dougie MacLean to .... The list goes on and on. Everyone in this group has been involved with music since their childhood days. The founding members, Jude Jones and Kevin Shaffer, wanted to build a vehicle to showcase their individual original music. Jude's history stems from a classical background on the violin - she continues to perform with the Kentucky Symphony Orchestra, the Clermont Philharmonic, and Lebanon and Hamilton/Fairfield Symphonies in the Cincinnati area. She also enjoys her performances in the Celtic genre, and she has written original music used by Mad Cap Productions in their Cincinnati-based theatrical productions. Jude sings, and she plays fiddle and guitar with Diamond Blue. Jude lists Emmylou Harris, Mary Chapin Carpenter, and the Beatles as her influences. Kevin Shaffer has been a drummer in various bands from Houston, St. Louis, Atlanta, and Cincinnati. Kevin is also a member of the Cammy-award-winning band Elaine and the Biscaynes. In Diamond Blue, he concentrates on guitar and vocals and contributes the drum tracks for the Diamond Blue CD's. Ron Sachs was invited to come on board in the spring of 1999 when Kevin and Jude were looking for a third partner. Ron has been playing music since his early years starting on violin but quickly moving on to guitar. He did a long stint as lead guitarist with the country rock group, Heather, and moved on to Mad 'n' Moonly, a folk-based group featuring music by such artists as It's A Beautiful Day, the Moody Blues, Linda Ronstadt, and original music written by the group. Ron's next stops included rock bands such as The Allies, The Uncle Dirty Band, and Condor. Ron brings his skills on guitars, dobro, bass, and arranging as well as singing. Ron also handles the majority of the recording, engineering, and mixing tasks for the group. Jan Hunter joined the group in early 2000 - she filled in for Jude at a gig in late 1999 and was invited to join shortly afterward. Jan brings her skills as vocalist, rhythm guitarist, and percussionist. Jan started on piano at the age of 6 and moved on to organ and then guitar at 12. She has been performing in groups since she was 16 on guitar, keyboards, and percussion. Sugar 'n' Spice, The Uncle Dirty Band, and Condor are among her past associations. Jan lists the Beatles, Fleetwood Mac, and Dougie MacLean as her influences, and keeps adding more all the time. All in all, the group has a diverse sound which is hard to categorize. Each of the members' individual styles are evident in the songs - if you find you don't enjoy one particular style, try the next song - there are more styles for you to listen to. Be sure to check out their second CD - Facets - also available through CD BABY.