2020 Inductees

 

2020 Inductees
Byron Berline Crusin’ The Embarrassment Jay MowBray
Keven Mahogany Midnight Flyer Terry Swope Johnnie Taylor
Donnie Miller Dean Kranzler

Bill Lee Award:
Donnie Miller

Bob Hapgood Award:
Dean Kranzler

Byron Berline
Byron Berline, Caldwell

Byron Berline is widely recognized as one of the worlds premier fiddle players, known for his ability to play almost any style within the vast American musical tradition – from Old-Time to Ragtime, Bluegrass, Country, Cajun, Rock and beyond. He was born in Caldwell, KS, started playing the fiddle at age five, and quickly developed a talent for it. Starting in 1965, he was a 3-time National Fiddle Champion at Weiser, Idaho, then again in 1967 and 1970. In 1965, Byron performed with Bill Monroe & The Blue Grass Boys at the Newport Folk Festival. That same year, he recorded an album called “Pickin’ & Fiddlin’ ” with the Dillards, who had become famous on the Andy Griffith Show. In 1967, Byron became an official member of Bill Monroe’s Blue Grass Boys. He was the first Texas-style fiddler that Monroe ever hired and set the standard for the fiddlers that followed.
In 1969, Berline became a session musician in L.A. In his first year, he recorded with Doug Dillard & Gene Clark, the Byrds, and the Rolling Stones. That led to Byron becoming the most-recorded fiddler in L.A. and perhaps in the entire world. Between 1969 and 2019, he has played on hundreds of albums. The list reads like a “who’s who” of music. It includes names like Rod Stewart, Henry Mancini, The Band, Emmylou Harris, Charley Pride, The Doobie Brothers, Earl Scruggs, Doc Watson, Elton John, James Taylor, Bob Dylan, The Eagles, Vince Gill, Tammy Wynette, Alabama, Stephen Stills, Joe Diffie, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Willie Nelson, and many more.
During those years, Byron always had time to perform in his own bands and recorded over 40 albums with those groups. His bands included Country Gazette, Byron Berline & Sundance, the L.A. Fiddle Band, Berline, Crary & Hickman, California, and the current Byron Berline Band. His music has also appeared in many television and film soundtracks, including Star Trek, Blue Collar, The Rose, Basic Instinct, Blaze, Back To The Future Part III, Northern Exposure, Stay Hungry, and Run Simon Run. His biography, Byron Berline: A Fiddler’s Diary, was released in 2013.

Crusin’
Crusin’, Lawrence/Topeka

Cruisin’ originated in Lawrence in the 1980s specializing in all the fun songs from the late ‘50s and into the ‘60s. Composed of Bruce Brown (bass), Dana Messing (keyboards), and Bill Jones (drums), the group all sang. Their musical signature was cool three-part harmony with lots of medleys designed to keep folks on the dance floor. The band started out mostly playing Topeka clubs, eventually drawing huge crowds at places like the Green Parrot five days a week. Gov. John Carlin used to see Cruisin’ at the Parrot, and once hired the group to play for his birthday party. Cruisin’ eventually performed at Inaugural Balls for both Governors Mike Hayden and Joan Finney. While expanding their base playing gigs throughout central Kansas and beyond, Cruisin’ broke or set several attendance records in Topeka clubs, and played for large dances in Hutchinson, Salina and other cities in Kansas. Cruisin’ relocated to the San Francisco Bay Area in 1986, but returned to Kansas twice a year to wonderfully large crowds well into the ‘90s. Memorable performances included the big Friday night dance at the Smoky Hill River Festival several years running, and coming back one last time to play the Festival’s 25th Year Anniversary in 2001.
The group recorded three great selling albums between 1987 and 1993, and were hired to record the Chucky Cheese ‘Beach Bowzers’ soundtrack of nine Beach Boys songs and one Jan & Dean tune which, played for several years at Chucky Cheese Parlors throughout the country.

The Embarrassment
The Embarrassment, Wichita

This quartet is usually called a punk band, but the band describes themselves as “Blister Pop.” From 1979-1983 they were the most popular band in the state, but stopped performing when two of the members decided to move to Boston. The band has had several reunion concerts since then.

Jay MowBray
Jay MowBray, Wichita

Jay’s been singing in bands since he was in grade school. In his 20s, he sang with a gospel band that toured churches around the Midwest, but put music aside to concentrate on his career (first as a journalist, then an electrician and finally an attorney). Then, in his 30s, a group of attorneys persuaded him to sing with the Crime Doctors, which eventually became one of the most popular bands in Wichita. Upon moving to Kansas City, he auditioned for a band that eventually became the Hipnotics. The Hipnotics won the Kansas City Blues Challenge and competed in the International Blues Challenge in Memphis. They released a CD, Plannin’ An Accident, and several songs from that CD made it on to the top 40 blues charts nationally. After a brief foray into singing jazz with some of the top KC jazz artists, and releasing a well-received CD, JayMo and Friends, Jay decided to form a new band, the KC Aces. The KC Aces are, in Jay’s words, the “best group of talented cats” he’s ever had the good fortune to sing with. He is honored to be one of the front men in a band that overflows with talent. The fact that everyone in the band is now a KSMHoF inductee is an added bonus.

Keven Mahogany
Keven Mahogany, Kansas City

Jazz singer Kevin Mahogany gained prominence in the 90s, but he’d been performing with KC bands since he was in high school. After graduating from Baker University in 1981 he returned to Kansas City and fronted The Apollos and Mahogany. His first solo album, “Double Rainbow” was released in 1993, and prompted Newsweek to call him “the standout Jazz vocalist of his generation.” He became well known for his “scat” singing style, which was favorably compared with Jazz icons such as Billy Eckstine, Joe Williams and Johnny Hartman. Mahogany made his home in Europe for many years. Moving back to Kansas City, and while working on his 12th album, he sadly passed away on December 17, 2017 due to heart failure. He was 59.

Midnight Flyer
Midnight Flyer, Salina

Formed in 1979 and lasting until 1983, Midnight Flyer featured musician/singer/songwriters at the top of their craft. Bandleader, lead vocalist, guitarist and chief songwriter Jack Trice brought his talents and signature style to both of the band’s albums, “First Flight” (1980), and “A Quart Short And Three Bricks Shy” (1981). The group was rounded out by bassist/composer Leon Holl, drummer/percussionist Dean Kranzler, and organist/keyboardist Paul Draper. Their instrumental expertise was such that they all served as session players at Sunset Recording Studios in Hays KS. Given their exceptional prowess in the studio, nothing could compare with seeing Midnight Flyer live. Weather they were playing private parties, clubs, festivals, motorcycle rallies, etc., the band delivered energy, enthusiasm, improvisation, and artistry to every show as they toured Kansas, Nebraska, and Oklahoma. Except for the late Leon Holl, who passed in 2011, and Jack Trice (2020), all the members of Midnight Flyer continue to make music together and separately, as they have for the past 30-plus years.

Terry Swope
Terry Swope, Kansas City

In 1966, Terry Swope walked into Katz Drug Store in North Kansas City and purchased his first guitar, a $12 archtop acoustic. He’s been wandering the world, entertaining music lovers ever since. He’s played Rock, R&B, Jazz and Country with a wide variety of acts including City Light Orchestra, Boko Maru, Jerry Wood, KC Bottoms Band, JPT Scare Band, and the James Ward Band. A self-taught musician and natural showman, Terry never fails to “bring it” to every performance. In 2007, he was featured guitarist in the long and successful run of KC Repertory Theatre’s production “Love, Janis”. Terry has appeared on recordings with Tom Bark, the KC Blues Band, The Clocks, Boko Maru and City Light Orchestra among others. In 2013 he released his first solo album, titled NOTV. His current band, the KC Aces, is a very popular regional attraction. An added bonus is that now, every member of the band is a KSMHoF inductee.

Johnnie Taylor
Johnnie Taylor, Kansas City

R&B, Gospel, and Pop singer Johnnie Harrison Taylor was born May 5th, 1934 in Crawfordsville, Arkansas, but spent his earliest years in nearby West Memphis. He later moved to Kansas City and began his performing career, singing Gospel with vocal group the Melody Kings. Through this group he eventually met Sam Cooke, with whom he began a personal and professional friendship. He moved to Chicago in 1953, and by 1957, he’d replaced the departing Cooke as lead vocalist for premier Gospel group the Soul Stirrers. After four successful years with the Soul Stirrers, he followed Sam Cooke’s lead and left to sing secular music. In 1961, he became the first artist to sign with Cooke’s newly formed SAR label. In 1964 Sam Cooke was shot and killed, leaving Johnnie with just a few singles on SAR, and without a record deal. He returned to Memphis in 1965 and signed with Stax Records. His many hit recordings for the label include three R&B number ones:”Who’s Making Love?” (1968), “Jody’s Got Your Girl and Gone” (1970), and “I Believe in You (You Believe in Me)” (1972). When Stax folded in 1975, he switched to Columbia Records, where he recorded the huge number one R&B/Pop hit “Disco Lady”, for which he received the first platinum single ever awarded (sales of over two million copies). In later years, he recorded a string of best selling albums for the Malaco label. His last albums for Malaco yielded the hits, “Last Two Dollars” (1996) and “Soul Heaven” (2000). In 1999, Taylor was given the Pioneer Award by the Rhythm and Blues Foundation, and three different times during his life was a Grammy Award nominee. On May 31st, 2000, Johnnie Taylor died from heart failure. He was 66. He is buried with his mother Ida Mae Jackson in a family crypt at Forrest Hill Cemetary in Kansas City.

Donnie Miller
Donnie Miller, Coffeyville

Donnie left Coffeyville in 1978 with a band called “Leotus and the Unknowns” whose members included Dick Smith, Bill Butler and Tommy York (son of Bob York from Rodney Lay’s band). They toured the midwest, averaging 250 dates a year or so, until Donnie had the opportunity to audition for Steve Walsh of “Kansas”, who was forming “Streets”. When Miller didn’t get the job, he decided to put his own band together in 1981 called “Donnie and The Rock” whose members included Michael Edmunds from “Mornigstar”. “Donnie and The Rock” soon signed a personal management contract with Chris Fritz of New West productions. Fritz got the band opening act status with everyone from Wolfman Jack to W.A.S.P. and in 1985, the entire U.S. summer tour with The Kinks. In 1987, Miller signed an 8 album deal with CBS records as a solo artist, thanks to producer Lennie Petze (signed Boston, Cheap Trick, Molly Hatchet and Cyndi Lauper all to their first deals). His first album “One of the Boys” was released in 1990 to critical acclaim, and featured guest appearances by Cyndi Lauper and Tommy Shaw (Styx). After a devastating injury to the palm of his left hand in 1992, Donnie was sidelined for a year, and began playing Blues music as a means of therapy, re-learning his instrument all over again. It saved both his life and career.
Back on the road again by 1993, Donnie eventually moved to his current home base of Nashville in 2000, from which he now tours all over the country.
Donnie Miller has released four more albums since the first one. With his latest, “My Name Is Kerry Duane Johnson” in 2016, Miller received three separate nominations at the Nashville Industry Music Awards (best live Blues performer, best live Blues band, and album of the year).
For over 15 years, Miller has hosted Nashville’s longest running Blues jam, which has provided him the opportunity to give back to the music that fills his soul. His love for the Blues led to the founding of The National Blues Network in 2001, which connects lovers of the genre from around the world.

Dean Kranzler
Dean Kranzler, Salina

After coming to Fort Hays State University in 1983, Dean Kranzler has served as an instructor of music in Percussion Ensemble for 25 years. Mr. Kranzler holds a bachelor of music degree in education from Marymount College and a master of music degree in performance from FHSU. He also studied percussion symposium at East Carolina University and the University of Wisconsin. Kranzler also served as an instructor at Bethany College and Marymount College before he came to FHSU. Kranzler is a member of the Kansas Music Educators Association, the National Association of College Wind and Percussion Instructors and the National Drum Association. He also arranges and schedules clinics at FHSU for district band auditions and conducts percussion sectionals for FHSU Marching Band.