Hydra-Matic Drive showcases some of the the finest players in California Bluegrass music today. Sharing a love for traditional bluegrass music, Hydra-Matic Drive is a recent formation of dedicated and experienced players who truly enjoy making music together. Featuring Mike Wilhoyte on guitar, Patrick Sauber on mandolin, Avram Siegel on banjo, and Karen Wilhoyte on bass, this band has a contagious groove and features exciting instrumental breaks and tight harmonies that are sure to please. Named after the first automatic transmission introduced in the 1940 model Oldsmobiles, and like the transmission, this band drives and shifts with a clear smooth sound.
Mike Wilhoyte on lead vocals and guitar has been playing and singing bluegrass well over 40 years and was raised in northern Ohio where he first got hooked on the ancient tones of Bill Monroe when he was only 13 years old. Mike has played with several California bands in the past 20 years including, Blue and Lonesome, and Roanoke. He is well-known for his driving bluegrass rhythm and tasteful lead playing as well as his soulful lead and harmony vocals.
Patrick Sauber plays mandolin and sings harmony vocals and is a veteran performer of old-time, bluegrass, folk, and western. His first musical influence was his father, old-time master fiddler & claw-hammer banjo player, Tom Sauber, with whom he performs often throughout California. He is exceptionally gifted on the Cajun accordion, mandolin, guitar, as well as the banjo. Patrick plays with many other California bluegrass bands including Laurie Lewis and the Right Hands, Peter Rowan, and Loafers Glory.
Avram Siegel on banjo and harmony vocals is widely regarded as one of the most original and exciting banjo players to emerge from California. Avram strives to keep his playing fresh and exciting while capturing the essence of the traditional Scruggs style. Avram’s stylistic versatility and rhythmic drive has placed him in a wide variety of bands, from the Vern Williams Band and Peter Rowan to the Kathy Kallick band and True Blue.
Karen Wilhoyte plays bass and sings lead and harmony vocals. Karen discovered bluegrass while studying tropical biology in Costa Rica, where she befriended a banjo player. Karen developed her strong sense of groove and time growing up with the Latin rhythms and beats of Miami, Florida. She plays in several California bluegrass bands including Lucky Drive, and most notably, The Hossettes. Always smiling and laughing, Karen adds to the fun and engaging stage presence of Hydra-Matic Drive.