From playing honky-tonks on lower Broadway in Nashville, to opening arena dates for John Fogerty, Vince Gill, and the legendary Kenny Rogers, Savannah Jack has honed their skills as outstanding live entertainers who captivate audiences from the very first note. The trio’s extraordinary three-part vocal harmonies, superior musicianship, and fresh, new sound is poised to take country music by storm.
Hard work, determination and sacrifice have paved the way for Savannah Jack’s launch. The trio, comprised of Don Gatlin, Mike Ulvila, and Jay Darby, formed in 2004 and has toured both nationally and abroad ever since. Each member of Savannah Jack fronted other bands in Pennsylvania, Montana and Florida, respectively, prior to casting aside individual aspirations and hitting the road hard as Savannah Jack.
Exceptional songwriters as well as versatile musicians, all three members infuse their individual style to collectively create Savannah Jack’s unique sound. Easily taking the lead on vocals in their live shows, each comes from a musical family and has been singing and playing their individual instruments from a very young age. Their musical influences range from Ronnie Milsap, The Gatlin Brothers, Kenny Rogers, and Restless Heart to The Beatles, Tom Petty, and The Eagles.
“It’s kind of funny how each of us have all come from different areas to arrive at the same place at the same time,” said Ulvila. “We all get along really well, and we’re like brothers.” A native of Kalispell, Montana, Ulvila is an extremely talented and diverse musician, who is proficient on a myriad of instruments including drums, saxophone, fiddle, bango, mandolin, guitar, and keyboards. Ulvila co-wrote four songs on the new album.
“Being on the road with these guys is really a blast,” mentioned Darby, who plays both bass and acoustic guitar. “Don is like a light switch that’s always on – there’s never a dull moment.” Born and raised in Florida, Darby started out playing the drums at age ten, while his brother played the guitar. He sold his drum set to buy his first guitar but continued playing percussion in the high-school band.
“We truly are like family…we have a lot of fun on the road and you never know what we’ll do next,” said Gatlin, also a gifted songwriter. Gatlin grew up in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania, where he started singing for his neighbors for twenty-five cents or a piece of bubble gum. His mother was a talented singer who had the opportunity to open for her heroes – Kitty Wells and Wilma Lee Cooper. Gatlin co-wrote nine of the album’s twelve tracks.
Savannah Jack’s self-titled debut album was recorded at the famed Blackbird Studio in Nashville with such-world class musicians as Steve Ferrone, John Jorgensen, David Santos, Paul Franklin and Steve Nathan. For several of these musicians, this album was the first Nashville project they have been associated with. An incredible line up of songwriters contributed to the debut disc including Billy Montana, Tim Johnson, Will Robison, Rhean Boyer, Steve Dean, and Rob Crosby.
The first single from the record, “I Know,” is one of its crowning glories. Co-written by band member, Don Gatlin, with hit writers Billy Montana and Rob Crosby, the song says what every man wants to say, and what every woman wants to hear. “The first time we played “I Know” live and exploded into the first chorus, we knew this song was special,” commented Gatlin.
Recently signed to Nashville-based McMurry Records, Savannah Jack possesses the tightest harmony of any group to come along in recent memory. It is obvious that the band loves making music and is having a blast, whether they are performing in a small venue in Nashville or playing in front of thousands of people in sold out amphitheaters across the country.
If you haven’t heard them yet, better get on board and get ready for a ride. If you don’t, you don’t know “Jack” . . . SAVANNAH JACK