Sam is the first born child of two 80’s rock musicians from Chicago. Her parents encouraged her to find a passion for music early with piano lessons and a strictly enforced practice schedule. Her awkward middle school phase then led to picking up her dad’s guitar, secretly singing in her bedroom shortly after. Her first musical idol, Taylor Swift, encouraged her to begin writing in high school. It wasn’t until age 17 that she finally gathered the strength to step up to a microphone in public. Her church family provided an incredible support system and she was able to use this platform to pour out her musical energy and abilities.
After high school, she performed in local shows, coffeehouses, singing competitions, and wedding ceremonies.
Sam can find something to appreciate in all genres of music, and she has been influenced by a wide range of artists such as Colbie Caillat, Needtobreathe, and the Civil Wars, but Country Music will always be number one in her book.
Sam spent her college years in the heart of Music City, studying at Lipscomb University in Nashville, where she completed a degree in criminal justice and pre-law. Full disclosure: the rest of the band did not know she was basically a cop when she joined.
Fiddle / Banjo / Vocals
As a violinist, fiddler, guitarist, composer, and banjo player, Brandon is at home with numerous musical genres and styles. Brandon picked up the violin in 1999, and the guitar a year later. Playing in various ensembles and orchestras growing up exposed him to a wide variety of music, and provided opportunities to perform hundreds of concerts across the United States and Europe.
In college, Brandon studied Music Theory and Composition with Dr. Michael Schelle. During this time, Brandon focused on writing experimental string music and had his music performed all over the country. Brandon graduated from Butler University in Indianapolis, IN with a dual-degree in Music Composition & Philosophy.
Since, Brandon has turned his focus toward improvised music–immersing himself in bluegrass, folk music, and jazz, and even teaching himself to play the banjo. With these skills, he has had played at countless venues throughout the Midwest with a diverse range of ensembles. Brandon joined Summer Son in 2015 on fiddle and banjo, and he continues to study music of any genre or culture that he can.
In his free time, Brandon enjoys gardening and making inappropriate jokes.
Al was born and raised in Oak Lawn, IL. His father, an active blues guitarist in the Chicagoland area, inspired him to take up the guitar seriously when he was 13. Luckily, he had “limited” access to a small collection of vintage guitars and classic records that his dad kept in the basement. It also helped that his dad loved to show him how to steal classic Eric Clapton and Mike Bloomfield licks on Sunday afternoons.
Al has a long history of playing in bands, beginning with a 90’s grunge cover band that he played in during high school. He has since played in Blues and Southern Rock bands and even played lead guitar in a high energy Rage Against The Machine tribute band. Al has performed all over the country, including Key West, FL, SXSW in Austin TX, and the House of Blues in Chicago. Al is also an accomplished studio musician and has co-written songs and recorded studio tracks for various local artists.
Al’s musical heroes range from Brad Paisley, Vince Gill, and Albert Lee to Tom Morello, Joe Bonamassa, and Danny Gatton. He keeps an open ear to every style and you can hear the wide range of influences that have shaped his playing over the years.
In his free time, Al likes to spend time with his daughter, and they love to visit their cottage just north of Madison.
Conor is the newest addition to the Summer Son family. He is an Illinois native and has been interested in music since he can remember. Conor was exposed at an early age to Motown and Jazz, and began playing the piano at age 5. After about five years, the piano was traded in for a saxophone, which was then traded again (upgraded) to a bass guitar. Shortly after getting his first bass guitar Conor began playing Rock & Roll, all while continuing his classical studies on the upright bass.
Conor completed his degree in Jazz Studies at Elmhurst College, and had the opportunity to perform with some high-profile musicians such as Wilco drummer Glen Kotche, former Tonight Show bandleader Doc Severinsen, and saxophone pioneer Donny McCaslin. While in school, Conor also played in musicals, recorded for television network TMZ, and performed in several European countries. Since his graduation, Conor has continued to maintain a busy schedule performing and teaching.
In his free time Conor enjoys riding his bike, watching movies, and searching for the perfect cup of coffee.