61 North is an inspirational, high-energy band blending new and old with a sound that fuses blues, rock, jazz, funk, and progressive music. The band prides itself in an ever-growing arsenal of potent original songs that electrify listeners. 61 North is a band to experience—its tasteful improvisation, exceptional musicianship and powerful stage presence make the group an incredible live phenomenon and a must see. With the 2009 release of its debut record On the Road, 61 North has firmly established itself as an up-and-comer by garnering accolades and awards from radio stations and live audiences up and down the east coast. The band has catapulted itself into the headlines and airwaves. There music is spun regularly on 93.7 WSTW of Delaware and 88.5 WXPN of Philadelphia. They have shared the bill/opened for such nationally acclaimed acts as Arlo Guthrie, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals and Tinsley Ellis, and are rapidly gathering the interest of the music community. In October 2009, the band will produce their second annual 61 North Benefit Concert for Spinal Cord Injury, a benefit established by members Brian LaPann and Ryan “Gooch” Nelson of the group to increase awareness, fund research, and provide financial assistance to individuals across the country with spinal cord injuries. The corporate foundations funded by the first annual 61 North Benefit Concert include Magee Rehabilitation Hospital and the Adam Taliaferro Foundation, founded by Penn State Alumnus and Humanitarian of the Year award recipient Adam Taliaferro, who suffered a debilitating spinal injury while playing football for Penn State University. Spinal cord injury is a cause close to the heart of 61 North. In 2004, guitarist Ryan “Gooch” Nelson was in a devastating car crash, injuring his spine and leaving him a c-7 quadriplegic. For Gooch, an accomplished guitarist before the accident, the outlook was bleak—after spending over six months in the hospital, Gooch’s life was irrevocably transformed. He had lost the ability to live life as he had before—including playing music…or so he thought. Two years after the accident, Gooch's grandfather bought him an electric guitar to play slide, a style previously foreign to him. With paralysis of his hands, Gooch naturally developed a unique slide technique using a custom-made hand-blown thumb slide on the left hand and thumb pick on the right playing his cherished Les Paul. Brian LaPann, childhood friend and then practicing music student at the University of Delaware, rekindled his relationship with Gooch, as he helped to teach him to play blues standards and original songs. Gooch’s new world began to unfurl. Brian and Gooch’s collaboration began with a focus on blues music as the soul of their originally composed songs. As Brian’s intense blues infused, rock n’ roll driven guitar work and soulful lead vocals were refined, Gooch began to forge his technique, drawing from the rhythmic acoustic focus of his past to create memorable slide riffs and melodies. 61 North’s addition of bassist Bob Comfort and drummer Joe Bross complete the balance of the band by bringing a powerful rhythm and funk backbone to its hard-driven blues and rock sound. Bob began working with the band shortly after its inception in spring of 2006. His respect for funk and rock & roll music is evident in his natural and charismatic feel. Joe Bross entered the band a year and a half later, proving instrumental in building up the bands dynamic with his raw power and cement mixing beats and grooves. Thus was born a collaboration that morphed into 61 North, drawing its name from the legendary and mystical highway through the rhythm and blues heartland of Mississippi to the city where electric blues originated, Chicago. They seek to take their blues in a different direction, a concept which has been inspirational to innumerable pillars and icons of blues and rock music. 61 North has given its band members an opportunity to develop an identity built on a solid foundation of original and soulfully felt music. Bob Comfort and Brian LaPann’s higher education and music backgrounds add subtle sophistication to the visceral appeal of 61 North’s edginess. 61 North has found its voice in these four talented musicians. The diverse musical expertise that each bring to the stage make enjoying them live, or in the studio, truly an inspirational experience for every listener.