Singer, songwriter and lead guitarist, Buck Nickels, learned his cowboy ways at the family ranch in Sonoma, California’s Valley of the Moon. He learned to drive in a red, 1955 Ford truck and by the time he was old enough to get his license, he was in the driver’s seat of a 1969 Peterbuilt hauling grain for the family cattle-feed business. Western saddles and blue-ribbon rodeo riding were his whole world – until that fateful day. While driving his grandpa’s 1930s sixteen-cylinder Cadillac across the ranch, Buck heard Bob Wills on the radio and he knew he was destined to be a country star. He found an old Martin at the local pawn shop, learned a few tunes and by the time he bought his Telecaster, he was writing his own songs and serenading the local cowgirls. Vineyards have replaced the golden grass and oaks of the valley but barbed-wire fences protect the cattle and horses that still roam the ranch. At the end of a long day, Buck leaves his boots and hat by the door, pours himself a glass of private reserve and picks up that old Martin.
On pedal steel and vocals, Larry “Loose Change” Cragg changes gears as easily as his name implies. By day, a respected guitar repairman and owner of Vintage Instrument Rental, as the sun sinks below the horizon, he dons a black Stetson, slips on finger picks and sits down at his trusty pedal steel. From the instruments of his youth - piano and oboe - until today, music has been his life. At the age of 15, intrigued with stringed instruments, he learned to play bluegrass banjo, guitar and bass. He began working on his own instruments because of his need to have them play in tune. Not long after his 1967 move from Chicago to the Bay Area, his skills landed him a job as the guitar repairman at Prune Music, in Mill Valley, where he found himself working for Carlos Santana, Mike Bloomfield, Grateful Dead, Quick Silver, Jefferson Airplane and other bands of that era - including Neil Young. During his 37 years touring the rock-and-roll circuit as Neil Young’s guitar tech, Larry had the opportunity to play a variety of instruments in bands with Neil Young, Nils Lofgren, Clarence Clemons and Booker T - as well as many local bands when not on tour. Of all the instruments he has played on stage and in the studio - guitar, banjo, dobro, saxophone, keyboard, bass and harmonica, to name a few - the pedal steel is by far his favorite.
Bass player “Rawhide Ross” Perry brings versatility and experience to Buck Nickels and Loose Change. A veteran multi-instrumentalist (bass, guitar, ukulele and drums) “Rawhide” is no stranger to the Marin music scene. He is currently playing bass with Marin Rockers Learning Curve. Ross is the great, great, great grandson of James Ross, founder of the Town of Ross and co-owner of Sunnyside Nursery in San Anselmo.
Drummer CC “Colorado” Dawson grew up in the Colorado Rockies, spent some time in Texas, and joined his father on several rattlesnake roundups. He studied Music at Western State College, traveled and recorded extensively with his own bands Darkstar, and the Dawson-Tate Band through the 80s and 90s.
He has spent the past 20 years playing locally with numerous combinations of the great musicians in the S.F. Bay Area; David Gans, the Rowan Brothers, Cole Tate, Lynn Asher and others too numerous to mention!