Formed in 2013, Rock Hearts brings together five veteran musicians from Southern New England who love to sing and pick bluegrass, old country tunes, and seek out newer tunes from other genres to “bluegrass-ify.”
Joe Deetz’s career on banjo spans over 40 years. A New England Bluegrass Boy with Joe Val, Joey has also worked with Frank Wakefield, John Herald, Back Eddy and many others. He has recorded with John Herald, Will Scarlet, the Beach Boys and Carol King. Joey was also featured on the Sesame Street recording of The Garbage Man Blues. His passion for bluegrass is evident in his tasteful, yet driving banjo and harmony singing. He lives in Mendon, MA with his wife.
Alex MacLeod grew up in bluegrass. His father and mother, Sandy and Geri, exposed him to the music early on. While his dad Sandy played in the band, his mom clogged with the Ralph Case Cloggers in Maryland. With a classic leading voice and rock-solid rhythm guitar, Alex has served as front man for several bands in the region including Northern Lights, Southern Rhode, Back Eddy, and the Iron Skillet Band. He lives in Charlestown, RI with his wife and four daughters, Raechel, Maicey, Grace, and Piper.
Billy “BT” Thibodeau boasts an undeniable bluegrass pedigree and he brings his high tenor and lead vocals, along with his fastidious mandolin and splendiferous guitar playing to Rock Hearts. A multi-instrumentalist, Billy has been picking and singing bluegrass for several decades. Cutting his teeth with his Dad, Sam Tidwell and Uncle Bob in the Kennebec Valley Boys, he would later lead his own band, The Bill Thibodeau Band. He has also played with the Descendants of Bluegrass, Bluegrass Supply Company, and Union River Band, just to name a few. Billy currently teaches music and works at Rick’s Music in Cumberland, RI. He lives in Cumberland, RI.
Austin Scelzo was introduced to various fiddle traditions at Mark O'Connor's early Berklee String Camps, learning from powerhouse players like Billy Contreras, Jason Anick, Casey Dreissen, Jeremy Kittel, Andy Reiner, Bruce Molsky, Mark O'Connor, and Christian Howes. Austin's Bluegrass journey began with the Western CT based group the "Angry O'Haras", then later "On the Trail", with which he recorded fiddle and vocals. Austin is also an active bluegrass community advocate, teaching Wernick Method Jam classes, creating and maintaining the performance venue "Bluegrass Coffeehouse" and launching the Connecticut Bluegrass Music Association.
Rick Brodsky is a multi-instrumentalist who has played within numerous musical genres over the past 35 years. Rick is a regular on the Connecticut/New York bluegrass scene and has played bass for numerous regional and national artists including Jonathan Edwards, Jeff Scroggins & Colorado, The Korey Brodsky Band, Stacy Phillips & His Bluegrass Characters, and Laura Orshaw & The New Velvet. You can hear Rick’s bass playing on several of Ben Freed’s highly acclaimed banjo albums and more recently on Korey Brodsky’s 2015 album.