About BACK 9
BACK 9 is a true variety band. Our music covers everything from Motown, Beach, Pop, Funk, Southern Rock and Country. It is this variety of music that makes BACK 9 so popular. We can entertain a large, diverse crowd because we play so many different styles of music. BACK 9 consists of 10 players: two guitars, bass, keyboard, drums, saxophone, two trumpets, a trombone, and lead singer. We hope people will hear us and feel relaxed.
Our goal is to make you forget about your worries, relax and have a good time. We travel approximately four to five hours in any direction from our home base of Spartanburg, SC. If you are looking for a great band to party with, please contact us. We will be glad to answer any questions and hopefully get your party on our calendar. Please take a look at BACK 9’s calendar to find out when our next public show is. If you make it to a show, please come to the stage and introduce yourself to us. To post comments about BACK 9, please go to our BLOG.
Back 9 band members
Bruce has played sax with Back 9 for the past 13 years. He holds B.S. in Music Education from Western Carolina University and a Masters in Education from Furman University. Prior to his retirement in June of 2013, he taught as a high school band director for 35 years. He has performed with The Four Tops, Maurice Williams, The Coasters, The Drifters, and Billy Scott, among others.
Matt Hardigree learned to play the guitar from his mother when he was 10-years old. In 1975 he furthered his instruction with guitar instructor Joe Bennett. Bennett taught Hardigree in multiple bands, including “South Bound” which won the “Battle of the Bands” and recorded a song that he had written in Marshall Tucker studio for the Carolina Collection album. In college Hardigree teamed up with friend Edward Jabbour to form the acoustic duo “Just Us”. Also he performed several years as a solo acoustic act. In the early 90’s he founded the Rhythm Oaks band, with friend Marty Suddeth which became the Back 9 Band. He continues to perform as a solo singer/acoustic guitarist when he is not performing with the Back 9 Band.
David Bird plays bass guitar and sings backing vocals in Back 9. David is grateful to have been raised in a musical family – both of his parents and both sisters sing and play various instruments. He sang in church youth choir throughout his school years. He took piano lessons in his elementary school years and started playing double-bass in the school orchestra program in 5th grade. In 6th grade, growing more interested in popular music, he began playing bass guitar. David continued playing bass in orchestra throughout his school years, earning participation in South Carolina All-State Orchestras grades 6-12 and Dorman HS Symphony Orchestra grades 9-12, while also playing bass guitar and singing with various working pop-music bands formed with friends. Into adult/working life he has continued to enjoy performing in various musical productions that have included symphony orchestra, accompaniment for singing groups and on-stage plays, church bands, and pop-bands. David loves to sing and dance and play instruments with his daughter Lily. David was welcomed into Back 9 band in 2005 and has been a core member since. He enjoys the challenge of striving to evolve and improve musically with the band and the opportunity to make music with friends and lay down the groove for a lively audience.
Drummer / Vocals
I was born youngest of 3 kids, 5 & 7 years after my brother and sister. I grew up listening to old school R&B, southern rock and pop from my older siblings. Music was always a big part of my life. My mother made me take piano lessons in Jr. High. I remember practicing piano in my house while my friends played football in my yard. That was not easy. I also took guitar lessons but nothing seemed to click. My sister’s boyfriend played drums and I remember going to his house sitting on his kit and thumping out a beat. Everybody ran in the room shocked that I could play. That was it! I was hooked! He let me take his kit home and I practiced all the time, playing by ear. After 10 years of playing drums by ear but reading music for piano and guitar, I could not understand how you read music for drums.
I decided to take lessons and took from David Haddox who also taught Paul Riddle. Once Paul started teaching I took from him. I’ve played in several bands in the area from all black funk bands to contemporary Christian to now my favorite band, Back 9. I’ve also sang bass in A Cappella groups performing Christian and secular music. Back 9 is my second family and they inspire me to grow musically. Music is a stress release to me and THE universal language.
Edward’s passion for music began at the young age of 8 while listening to his mother singing and playing the piano. Edward’s Uncle, Randy Foster, founding member and guitarist for the band Grand Strand, was his guitar teacher for the next 7 years…on and off. During his high schools years Edward played guitar with several local bands traveling around the upstate. The last few years of college brought Edward and Matt Hardigree together to form “Just Us”, an acoustic duo group. They spent time playing around the southeast and even in Aspen, CO. After a break from music, Edward once again teamed up with Matt and several others in the band The Rhythm Oaks. The band morphed into a 10 piece party band and changed its name to BACK 9. Edwards mother has said many times, “music feeds Edward’s soul”. You can bet that Edward feels it deep in his soul every time he straps on his guitar to play with the boys from BACK 9. “It’s a gift to be able to play with those boys”.
I’ve always enjoyed singing, but never really considered myself a “singer” until I started working with some of the “original” members of the band (Matt Hardigree/Marty Suddeth) in the early 90’s. We enjoyed singing lots of harmony-driven songs that helped sharpen everyone’s vocal skills, as well as giving us an “excuse” to get together! Still use that “excuse” today!
To say I got a bit of a late start would be an understatement, but I’ve truly enjoyed every minute of learning more about all aspects of music, particularly voice, from some truly gifted friends, teachers, and band mates.
I look forward to continuing to sharpen my vocal skills with the greatest party band in the Southeast – BACK 9!
Jason Israel, a native of Spartanburg SC, grew up in a musical family. His mother played piano and his father played guitar. Both inspired him to want to play. He and his brother began playing music at an early age. Music lessons and band practices were weekly affairs during his early years. Jason played in amateur bands, such as Low Profile and Mother Hubbard, throughout his school years and into his adult life. When Jason began his musical journey, he played guitar. Having had years of lessons during his childhood, he went on to give guitar for a short time in his early twenties. Transitioning to keyboards was easy for him because of the knowledge of chord structure and scales the he’d learned on guitar. He has played keyboards for Back 9 for fourteen years. The members of Back 9 are like brothers. Jason describes them as true friends who share a love for making music together. “Playing music always just felt right to me…natural. It’s something I’ve always done and something I’ll always do”.
Greg Day (Trumpet) is from Pendleton SC and is the director of Instrumental Music at Southern Wesleyan University in Central. Greg has played trumpet professionally since 1978 and has been in the US Army Band as well as many local horn sections covering all genres from Rock to Country. Greg is an active writer and arranger and has done many arrangements for horn sections for studio and live work and has played with the Hood Ornament Horns since 2000 and with Back 9 since 2009. [email protected]
I have been playing professionally since 1970. Throughout the years I have toured with or appeared with many different artists both Christian and secular including: The Gaithers, Truth, The Spurrlows, Festival of Praise, Calm Assurance, Andre Crouch, Lorretta Lynn, Mel Tillis, Jonny Cash, Jim Nabors, Donna Fargo, Roy Clark, Maynard Ferguson, Woody Herman, The Glen Miller Band and many others. Also included are many television appearances, commercials, and recording sessions both vocally and instrumentally.
Trombonist and Composer/Arranger
Wesley Day, trombonist and composer/arranger, was born in 1990 in Greenville, SC to Gregory Day, band director, and Lisa Oliver, English teacher. His earliest musical experiences included standing in front of a marching band several days per week until his ears bled, keeping a beat on a tenor drum during football games, and being subjected to the always unpredictable antics of high school bandsmen. Once he was able to make sense of written notes and rhythms Mr. Day immediately (prematurely) began learning the cornet. Mr. Day also fought his way through several years of mandatory piano training, quickly taking honorable mention at several piano guild festivals and just as quickly forgetting how to properly finger a “C” scale.
Only a short few years later however would Mr. Day decide to undertake playing the trombone—a decision dictated by which page the Woodwind-Brasswind catalog happened to be open to on the car ride to purchase instruments. This decision, however ill-informed, would pave the way for the rest of his musical career. Following in a long line of proud family footsteps, Mr. Day joined the Army at 17 years of age to play trombone and finally don a uniform that would more staunchly deflect “band nerd” jokes than a good attitude and thick skin. During this time he served as trombone section leader and arranged several works performed by the unit’s brass choir. Mr. Day received his formal music education from the school of hard knocks and the IRS, but was awarded an actual degree in music from Southern Wesleyan University in Central, SC.
He studied trombone under Matt Anderson of Greenville, SC and regularly composed and arranged music to be played by the school’s various ensembles including wind ensemble, jazz band, brass quintet, and woodwind groups. He also performed with and arranged for the Clemson University trombone choir. During this time Mr. Day continued to perform regularly with several groups around SC and NC and also arranged horn charts for the same groups. Throughout his college career he maintained a studio with numerous young musicians and aided several high schools in different musical areas including marching band, small ensemble, guest conducting, and brass consulting. He continues to do so and maintains the belief that education is and will always be the most important component of today’s musical world. While undertaking his undergraduate degree, Mr. Day took an intense interest in European turn-of-the-century composers like Maurice Ravel, Gustav Holst, Claude Debussy, Arnold Schoenberg, Alexander Mackenzie, and Cecile Chaminade.
He also invested heavily in the study of educationally-minded wind ensemble composers such as Clifton Williams, David Holsinger, Frank Ticheli and Richard Saucedo. His current focus is composing and arranging music for middle and high school bands that challenges targeted areas of musicianship amongst all players while also making non-wind ensemble pieces accessible to the same groups through careful orchestration. Mr. Day resides in Columbia, SC with his wife, Sarah, and the bird, Archimedesand is nearing completion of his master’s degree at USC.