The Too Tall String BandBruce Lawson, Rod Driscoll & Hap Wheeler Celtic, Adirondack, Americana, Original & even Country!
The Too Tall String Band was formed 33 years ago, in 1984. One of our first performance was at the first Palmer Street Coffeehouse in Plattsburgh.
The original members were Al Reisman (accordion, guitar, banjo, backup vocals), Pat Duniho (vocals, guitar, fiddle, banjo, mandolin, bodhran) and Rod Driscoll (vocals, 6 & 12 string guitar, banjo, bodhran, dulcimer, hammered dulcimer). Rod is the only original member of the band still in the group. There are a number of wonderful local musicians who have sat in with us over the years. Among them are: Scott Hopkins (stand-up bass, bluegrass banjo), Tim Hartnet (bass), Steve Iachetta (fiddle) & Jeff Couture (fiddle). We have also played for contra dances and backed up the North Country CloggersThe current lineup includes Rod Driscoll (same as above, plus Irish bouzouki), Hap Wheeler (vocals, dobro, banjo, mandolin, guitar) and Bruce Lawson (vocals, bass, guitar). We have been in this configuration since 2002.
Over the past 33 years, we have performed all over northern & central New York, southern Quebec and northern Vermont. We have been featured at the Lake Placid Goodwill Games, The Adirondack Folk Festival, the Watertown Goes Green Irish Festival, Concerts on the Bluff, Saranac Lake First Night, the Saranac Lake Winter Carnival and had a 14 year run performing authentic pub tunes at the Battle of Plattsburgh’s Israel Green’s Tavern, drawing large and enthusiastic audiences.
We take our musical queues from many places. Bruce is our country music and pop music specialist, performing roots country tunes from artists like Tennessee Ernie Ford and Hank Williams. For many years Bruce and his wife Jodi ran the, highly successful, Palmer St. Coffeehouse in Plattsburgh, along with a willing group of volunteers from the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship. Bruce is a retired sales director at WPTZ. Hap is our link to groups like the Kingston Trio, performing songs such as "Charlie on the MTA" and his own songs. Recently, Hap has added the dobro to his fine instrumental work on the 5-string banjo and the mandolin. Hap retired as network manager for Plattsburgh State a couple of years ago, and continues to work in the IT field in his own company. He is a leader in the local Trout Unlimited chapter, serving a number of terms as president. Hap has also taught dobro in the "Bluegrass For A New Generation" program at Plattsburgh State and, along with Bruce, the 4H bluegrass program for North Country kids. Hap took over the running of the Palmer St. Coffeehouse two years ago, leading it into its 30th year.Rod takes his influences from ragtime music, fiddle tunes, American/Celtic/English folk, early country/string band, traditional pub tunes and bluegrass. He has organized many musical events in the North Country, including: the Peru Coffeehouse, Concerts in the Park for the City of Plattsburgh, the Ice Storm Benefit Concert and the Camp Jericho Banjo/Fiddle Contest/Festival. Rod has been performing on, and building, dulcimers since the mid 1970’s. For 32 years Rod taught government, economics, history and psychology at AuSable Valley high school, sometimes subjecting his students to sing-a-longs in class. He is very excited about his new job as principal for the Learning Academy at Whiting and Sudbury (Vermont)Over the past few years, the band has been adding in its own interpretations of 50’s, 60’s and 70’s "Americana" to our performances, which has been extremely popular with our audiences, who love to sing along with us on their favorites. The band’s current CD, it fourth recording, is a collection of live performances of pub tunes, fiddle tunes and sea shanties called “While We Are Together”. It gives the listener a good sampling of our live concerts.