Chris King grew up in Milwaukee, until moving to Dallas before his senior high school year. Singing since age 6 with the church choir, he received lots of encouragement from his family and his grandmother, who was a well-known opera singer.
He graduated from the University of Texas at Austin, where he studied music theory and sang with a very successful band named
Crosswind. He then worked for a Manhattan jingle house in New York City doing music for commercials. He later left New York and was a DJ in Dallas for many years, but it wasn't until he moved to Denver that he rediscovered how much he enjoyed making people smile with his own music.
Denver became his home in 1995 where he joined his father's business, the Queen Anne B&B. Chris started the band
Southern Cactus in 1998 to do what he loved most, singing. His
parents and his brother, Dave, have been his motivation to keep moving forward and find more ways to keep people happy by writing more music of his own.
Chris has booked the band all over the state of Colorado, including 7 years in the
Taste of Colorado and an invitation to open for Diamond Rio. As the lead vocalist, Chris can sing all types of music,
but prefers country and country rock. Chris has recently retired the
Southern Cactus band and started up The Chris King Band in 2007
with happily some of the best musicians in all of Colorado.
Robyn Yamada- Keyboard and Vocals
Robyn has been playing keyboard instruments since the age of six.
Her training is a combination of classical, jazz and pop. She has many years experience playing jazz standards in piano bars in the ski resorts of Colorado and at many of the fine restaurants and clubs up and down the Front Range. Robyn is equally at home playing jazz and classical on a full-sized grand piano, playing honky-tonk / barrelhouse /stride-key on an old upright, and creating Eurotrash synthpop on a Korg Triton.
An in demand musician playing weddings, church services, jams, clubs, and showcases, she is a well-seasoned player who can fulfill almost any entertainment need.
Willie Allemang- Drums and Vocals
Willie grew up in the small Kansas town of Lyndon. He started playing the drums at the age of ten but before that he was beating on pots and pans in the kitchen. After seeing the Beatles on Ed Sullivan, it was time for a real drum kit! "My dad bought me a simple used drumset for Christmas and I was so excited!" He says Ringo gave him the inspiration but the Stax/Volt revues taught him the groove. Years of playing in the best venues, Nevada casinos, opening acts and headliners, Willie has the stuff! Some know him as the "Groove Monster" because he is always in the pocket and driving the band….. but we just know him as that guy on the corner
holding a sign that says…"will play for food" ..(JK!!)
Thom Wade - Steel Guitar
His earliest musical experiences found him playing cocktail piano at 15, Rock organ during the late ‘60s, acoustic guitar in Folk groups, and Banjo, Dobro and Mandolin in Bluegrass bands.
After discovering the mystical effect of sliding and bending string pitches emitted from the Pedal Steel Guitar that
his “universe” came together as one. Thus began the road trip through the Urban Cowboy era that would include house gigs and one nighters from Colorado to Minnesota. This is where Honky Tonk lived and outlaw Country was born.
His experience includes such notable bands as: Cajun Country, White Line Express, High Dollar Band, Rounder, Ricochet, Mario and the Durango Band,
and, of course, the Chris King Band.
Nationally, his work includes appearing with artists such as Asleep at the Wheel, Merle Haggard, Ronnie Milsap, John Prine, Jerry Jeff Walker, Michael
Murphy, and the Dillards to name a few.
God must be a cowboy after all!
Jack Reiter – Bass
Jack hails from Pittsburgh, and over his career he has played many styles of music, and many types of venues, from large concerts to television broadcasts, to weddings and corporate functions. Early in his career, Jack played a three-year, three night a week engagement for a dinner/show restaurant in Pittsburgh. That was tough with a fulltime job. Jack says "I never really fit into any one style. My versatility has served me well, as I have had opportunities to play with many different types of bands and have enjoyed a lot of different music. I was always fascinated with the bass in Motown music growing up and I loved it's melodic sensibilities, and the way it can totally change a song" Jack plays 4,5 and 6 string as well as fretless basses.
Tom Bartling - Guitar - A summary *
Guitar player. Graduated from Musician's
Institute in '93
Favorite players:Brad Paisley, Brent Mason, Albert
Lee, Steve Wariner, Vince Gill Sonny Landreth
Favorite color: Clear
Strange but true: Front yard contains no grass! It's actually all weeds.
Pet peeve: People who pad their bios with irrelevant fluff.
(* Webmaster's note: His words, not mine. I'm
just the hired help...)