Meet the Band

Dave Helman, Bass

Dave Helman wears many hats, and is lovingly called “Mister Bluegrass of Western Mass” by his wife Rose. He was born in West Virginia and grew up in Western Maryland and was influenced by the country musicians in his neighborhood and by the records his mother had in her collection. Dave’s mom thought he was upstairs sleeping when in fact he was listening to Lee Moore The Coffee Drinkin’ Night Hawk on his midnight to dawn radio show on WWVA in Wheeling, WVA and Wayne Rainey on WCKY in Cincinnati.  Dave eventually met his radio mentor Lee Moore and hired him to perform at some of his functions. His Uncle Sam brought him up to Massachusetts to  Westover AFB in Chicopee in 1962 for a stint and was married here in 1966.  Still listening to country and bluegrass and collecting records he discovered the Country Blues and Bluegrass show on WMUA at the University of Massachusetts. Upon calling the show one Sunday afternoon he was able to eventually become one of the dejays there which was a lifelong dream.  In 1983 a move was made to his current position at WTCC at Springfield Technical Community College with his Country Corner Show featuring vintage country and bluegrass on Saturdays. Dave has been instrumental in the promotion of the One Day In May BG Festival, Bluegrass At Buttery Brook, and the Country Corner Coffee House concert series as well as being an MC, promoter and sound engineer. The bass is his main instrument as well as the washboard.  He has played with several bands over the years which Include the East Mountain Ramblers, The Cow Tippers and Dan Helman and Marking Time.

Ron Jackson, Rhythm Guitar and Vocals

Ron Jackson, a retired life insurance executive and LtCol in the USAF/ANG, honed his love of country music on Hank Williams, The Louvin Brothers, Carl Smith, Webb Pierce, Faron Young, Ernest Tubb, and so many others. However, the biggest influence to shape his country music love was his uncle Fred, who came back from WWII playing guitar and signing country music.  An accordion player by trade, in his mid-teen, Ron was playing in local Honky Tonks with area country bands. In his retirement years, he thanks his wife, Gail, for allowing him to live out his dream of playing good, old country and bluegrass music with his friends.

Dan Pilachowski, Flat Picking Guitar

Dan Pilachowski was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland, a hot-bed of bluegrass music in the 60’s and 70’s.  He became familiar with the music when he got a hold of a guitar at age twelve. One of his mentors was the late Pudge Warfield, a noted lead guitarist from Martinsburg, WVA.  Attend bluegrass festivals in Berryville, VA and Indian Springs, MD, helped to hone his skills on the guitar and in bluegrass and one weekend he attended the One Day in May Bluegrass Festival in Granby at Dufresne Recreation Park.  There he met and befriended Dave Helman, the festival organizer and fellow Marylander. Later, Dan became one of the founding members of the East Mountain Ramblers along with Dave and his son, Daniel.  He has played in several other groups including the Good Samaritan Singers.  He is also a sought after lead and rhythm guitar player at an area jam session.

Mark Leveille, Mandolin and Vocals

With deep roots and love of traditional bluegrass music, Mark cut his teeth learning from the Delnero family and playing at local areas square dances.  When the opportunity to continue to play traditional bluegrass arose, he joined forces with an old childhood friend to form James Delnero and Lost Mountain.  Together, the band played for years and performed at many festivals and venues throughout New England, keeping the old sound alive.  Meeting Ron and the guys in Old Country Road, Mark was honored to accept an invitation to join the band.  Still today, he is learning to play the older country music and continuing to be true to his roots in a traditional sound.