Piper Leigh & The Smokin' Section

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MEET THE BAND!

Piper Leigh

Piper's sound has the bluesy, gravel-gargled and earthy feel of Susan Tedeschi or Janis Joplin, while also capturing the emotion and musical adventurism of fellow genre-hopping artist, Eva Cassidy. She is at one moment an explosive force and, the next moment, a smoky chanteuse. 
Piper has performed in Wichita KS's esteemed Orpheum Theatre, The Cabaret Old Town Theatre, The Rodeo Club (opening for Phil Vassar) and The Cotillion Ballroom (opening for Jo Bonomossa). In July 2001, she was invited to perform in Ireland with Irish singer/guitarist, Gerry O'Beirne. She recorded a show for National Public Radio at Manheim Steamroller's Omaha NE  recording complex, Studio B, in January 2003. The show debuted on Tom May's NPR program, River City Folk, later that year. Piper has independently released two CDs, "A Night at the Cabaret: The Soul of Eva Cassidy," and her self-titled, "Piper Leigh," an original album.

Ben Russell

Ben Russell (bass, vocals, flute & guitar) brings more road-traveled experience to the mix than most bands can boast cumulatively!  He began playing in bands in 1967 while he was living in Germany.  In 1972 his first professional band, Thunderpussy, put out their LP, "Documents of Captivity," which is now considered by the industry as the flagship - the grandfather of epic saga rock.  While living in St. Louis, MO in 1974, Ben was signed to Mercury Records with his band, BTO Road Crew (formerly the Roadies for Bachman Turner Overdrive), which had a song on the Billboard charts.  They opened for Lou Reid, Bob Seiger, Kiss, and every show Ted Nugent played that year.  When Ben moved to Kansas he joined The Whiskey River Band, who opened for Asleep At The Wheel, Martina McBride, Travis Tritt and Jerry Reed.  He brings his experience and enthusiasm to The Smokin' Section, which he joined in June, 2010.

Billy Soto

Billy Soto is a Jersey City boy who began his music career playing in the local bars and clubs.  He opened for 'Xpose' in 1986.  In 1989, he played in the Aragon Entertainment Center, now the Aragon Ballroom, in Chicago, IL, and at the Stone Pony in Keansburg, NJ, in 1990.  He moved to Joplin, MO. in 1992, where he continued to open for headlining acts, in bars, clubs, and festivals, and moved to Wichita, KS, in 2000, where he joined the band, Synergy, and became a member of ASCAP, as he was a co-writer on many of the band's original songs.  His next band, Annie Up, was signed by Box Talent Agency of Oklahoma, and they played various clubs and casinos in Kansas, Missouri, South Dakota, and his favorite of all those...at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.  Billy joined The Smokin' Section in November of 2014.

David Gregg

Dave Davidson (a.k.a. "Drummer Dave") is originally from Enid, Oklahoma.  He joined The Smokin' Section in January, 2014, after touring with the original heavy metal band, Shrive.  Dave was the first drum student in the state of Kansas to receive the Louis Armstrong Jazz Award for Excellence.