Don Arbor

The Band

Don Arbor has had the privilege of working with an extraordinary group of gifted musicians on his "the Man on a Mission" CD. Here's some background on the personnel, and where you can hear more of their work:

Stef Burns, lead and rhythm guitars. Stef's main gig these days is playing lead guitar for Huey Lewis and the News, but he has many other amazing projects. Stef is the leading rock guitarist in Italy, where he drives the fans wild with his stunning solos. Check out his duets with acoustic guitarist Peppino D'Agostino on the Bayshore Road CD, or look for his Youtube performances with Sheila E. You won't recognize the hair, but you can't miss the burning licks-- that's Stef, all right.

Curtis Ohlson, bass and production. Curtis hit the road with Ray Charles when he was 16, starting a long and prolific music career. Curtis has enhanced the sound of many other great bands, such as those of Pete Escovedo, Ray Obiedo, and Booker T. See:

Kevin Hayes, drums. Kevin played for 20 years with the Robert Cray Band, and has performed with John Lee Hooker, Van Morrison, and B.B. King, not to mention several discs with his sister, the fabulous Bonnie Hayes. Kevin's grooves can't be beat.

David K. Mathews, keyboards. Currently touring with Carlos Santana, David is a uniquely talented guy who can play any style, from rock to jazz to classical, with equal facility. David was featured for many years with the dear, departed Etta James and her Roots Band, and some of their classic performances can be found on Youtube. Hear more:

Mike Marshall, mandolin, guitars, mandocello, dobro and violin. Mike is a world renowned instrumentalist, performe, composer and instructor, member of the Tutrle Island Quartet, who has performed with Darol Anger, Chris Thile, and many others. Mike's versatility really helped to shape th sound of many of the tracks on this project.

Barbara Higbie, violin, piano and harmony vocals (Contradiction, Well of Sorrow). The amazing Barbara Higbie has been a musical treasure for many years, performing with Turtle Island, Teresa Trull, and of course her own solo perfomances and recordings. Barbara is winding up a year as Yoshi's Artist-in-Residence. A lucky break for me-- our kids are at the same school, and we met there. She heard a couple of my songs and played her heart out on them.

Jill Suttie, harmony vocals. We have been singing together since we met in 1990, which was two years before we were married. I love how our voices sound together. Jill has her own CD, consisting of all original, all wonderful songs.

Jeremy Cohen is the violinist and musical director of the Grammy-nominated Quartet San Francisco. Jeremy has played with Santana on the Supernatural CD, and with many other greats. Beautiful musicianship. See

Renee Hayes and Linda Sanderson, harmony vocals on Cryin'. They have been singing together for almost 20 years, so the harmonies are really tight. Renee and Linda were the heart and soul of The Irrationals a cappella group for many years.

Marc Russo and Mick Gillette, horns. Marc has performed with Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston, the Yellowjackets, and Kenny Loggins. Both have performed with the Doobie Brothers and the legendary Tower of Power horn section.

Tony Lindsay, Claytoven Richardson, and Annie Stocking, harmony vocals.  Tony has 11 Grammy's, is currently lead singer with Santana, and has performed with a long list of stellar musicians Claytoven is a multi-Grammy winner who has worked with Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey and many others, and continues to produce and teach Annie is bay Area vocalist, songwriter and arranger, with recording/writing experience as diverse as Neil Young, Aretha Franklin and Bonnie hayes. See more:

John Mader, drums (My Life 2.0, Diamonds and Botox, Contradiction, and Well of Sorrow). John is amazingly talented and diverse, as shown in the wide spectrum of the four tracks he recorded on this session-- everything from straight ahead rock to country waltz to punk. John has played with Joe Satriani , Steve Miller, Pat Benatar and Booker T. , and he also performs with the live bands for Broadway shows like Wicked and The Lion King. And he's a great guy and a pleasure to work with. See:

Steve Savage, engineer and co-producer. Steve knows the gear like no one else, helped to design the studio, and gets the best sound out of all the instruments. Steve produces CDs for Elvin Bishop and the Robert Cray Band, and he co-founded the BlueBear Music School of San Francisco. Steve "balances his work as an educator, author and recordist. Savage is an active producer and recording engineer and has been the primary engineer on 7 records that received Grammy nominations. Savage teaches musicology and ethnomusicology in the Humanities department at San Francisco State University and production in the Recording Arts Department at Los Medanos College. He holds a Ph.D. in music and has two current books that frame his work as a researcher and as a practitioner. Bytes & Backbeats: Repurposing Music in the Digital Age from The University of Michigan Press uses personal recording ethnologies to reflect and comment on the evolution of musical genre and the cultural impact of sound reproduction technologies."