Blanton, a native Virginian residing in Powhatan, VA, began playing bass professionally around 1970 until 1974 when he took a break. He then picked up again in 2010 to help out the group Past Eleven.
Blanton, along with singer/daughter Kristen Johnson and drummer Brian Legere, started Route 64 in 2010. Blanton continues to lead the rhythm section with his masterful bass playing as well as backing and lead vocals.
My musical journey began when I was thirteen years old studying guitar with a Berklee College of Music graduate and, over the years gained exposure to many top notch players including guitar jazz virtuoso Robert Conti. As a teen, I was fortunate to participate in my High School Stage Band, playing both guitar and bass learning the importance of listening to the players around me and watching the audience reaction.
After high school, my dream was to attend and graduate from Berklee. Consequently my folks, although supportive of my desire to play music, had different ideas insofar as my career path was concerned. In 1973 I attended Jacksonville University, FL and received my BS Degree in Business Administration majoring in both Marketing and Management four years later. Throughout high school from the time I was sixteen, all through college and all of the places we have lived, I’ve played live music. Rock bands, wedding bands, duo’s, piano bars…it didn’t matter.
To my parents credit, having a business background was really a benefit because it taught me to treat music as a business designed to value and embrace the client(s). After all, to be a professional entertainer from my perspective, you must have a servant’s heart. As a result, the music industry has enriched my life in more ways than I can count for over fifty (50) years making lifelong friendships and being exposed to players I only wish to have had a small portion of their talent.
Rather than all of the boring details of who, what, where and when I’ve played; let’s keep it simple and merely say how grateful I am to have the privilege of being a part of Route 64! In addition, let the world know if you’re seeking a professional group of entertainers – look no farther - Route 64 ROCKS any event!
Bill Roberts began playing with The Route 64 Band in January 2019. Bill has played guitar since he was 12 years old and considers himself lucky to have grown up in a musical family with a basement in his house. In addition to classical music that his mother and sister played, his older brother and sister owned all the Motown and Beatles records that filled the air with harmony and rhythm. Bill was able to host band practice in the family home and was often able to play on the other band members’ instruments when they left them at his house.
Bill eventually got his own instruments and his own basement where he learned to play all the essential instruments, guitar, bass, drums and keyboards. He started singing when one of his bands lost their lead singer with gigs on the books. The songs had to be allocated to the different band members. He remembers the very first song he sang was My Old School by Steely Dan.
After playing in various bands in his home town of Baltimore, his day job as an investments sales manager relocated him to Richmond where Bill started Cat Daddy, a power trio made up of guitar, bass and drums, which has been playing for over 24 years. He has also played drums for local bands such as The English Channel, Lee Street, and Big Boss Man, bass guitar for Ron Moody and the Centaurs, he has an acoustic duo as well as his solo act in which he uses backing tracks on which every instrument and vocal part was played and recorded by Bill. He has recorded well over 800 songs that he uses for the solo show.
“It’s always more fun to play with other musicians” and the Route 64 band has fun on stage. Bill was first recruited to The Route 64 Band to play keyboards and will play bass, or other instruments as needed.
Brian is a “Jersey Boy” who rocked it up with a heavy drum beat in both Bergen and Morris County, NJ.
He played in various “hair” bands (when he used to have a lot of it) and cover bands from his early teens to his mid - 20’s. Most notably, local NJ party cover band Bachelor Party entertained many with their blend of 70’s – 80’s covers in the mid 1990’s.
After taking 10 years off away from drumming and the local bar scene in the mid 1990’s to get married, start a family in NJ and then suddenly have the chance to relocate his family to Midlothian, VA in 2004, he decided to pick the drums back up again after meeting some talented neighborhood musicians for a jam. Eventually he formed a neighborhood cover band with them and started to get the itch to play out again.
Brian went on to have a handful of fill-in gigs with Richmond based folk/blues band, Sedan Delivery and then joined up with Richmond 80’s cover band, The ReVinyls for 2 years.
Afterwards, a member of The ReVinyls would introduce me to Kristen Johnson (singer) and Blanton Gordon (bass player) for some fill-in gigs with the country/classic rock cover band that all three were part of called, Past Eleven. After enjoying the country songs and wanting to see what else we could do, I would later branch off with Kristen and Blanton to form our variety/cover band, Route 64.
Finally I’d like to give a shout out to all of the immensely talented musicians that I’ve had the pleasure to play music with in some capacity here in Richmond, VA.
Whether it was a neighborhood band, various jam sessions, auditions, with prior members of bands I’ve been in all the way up to any fill-in type gigs with other bands….There are too many of you to mention in this short space but you all know who you are and I’m forever grateful for the wonderful musical experiences!!!
If you’re looking for a band that can rock the house, get folks up on the dance floor, or deliver melodic ballads that create an emotional connection, Route 64 can do it all. With songs that cross over various genres and multiple decades, they’re a band that everyone will enjoy. Whether it’s weddings, festivals, or corporate events, make Route 64 your go-to band.
George is from Utica, NY. He's been singing since elementary school when he, his father and sister would sing “Goin’ To The Chapel” in 3 part harmony while cleaning up the dishes after supper. He's sung in many choirs in school and the community his whole life. He taught himself to play guitar and keyboards in 1989, so he could write songs because his girlfriend dumped him. George says, "love provides great inspiration for song writing."
George played in rock-n-roll bands for about 5 years in bars, nightclubs, festivals, weddings, etc. after that he and his father started a Beatles Tribute Band called Abbey Road for about 5 years. This was a great project where they brought their guitars, amplifiers, wore costumes and wigs. It was a great show. They also put a slide show together with The Beatles narrating the audio portion, telling the history of The Beatles and their songs. They played great places in front of thousands of people some include: The Beatle Fest in New York City, New York State Fair, Hershey Park, PA and many premier gigs around central NY.
In March of 2004, God tapped him on the shoulder and his passion erupted for the Lord. Turning to music he joined the praise band at church. Since 2004 he’s been playing in church mostly but missed playing rock music. So he answered an ad in 2011 for Kinetic Element a Richmond based progressive rock band and sung lead for them for about 2 years. During that time God had put on my heart to solicit Christian musicians to play positive secular music which became Beyond Before, however that never really got off the ground.
Route 64 was looking for a keyboard player, Brian (drummer) mentioned it to him and after a few months of intense thought he auditioned and was asked to join. He is really excited to see where this project can go. With the diversity of abilities in Route 64 there is no limit
Kristen grew up in Powhatan, Virginia and began singing almost as soon as she started talking. She has always had a passion for music which lead her to studying musical performance at Longwood University.
After moving to Richmond in 2009, Kristen helped form the band Past Eleven. During her stint with Past Eleven, Kristen was able to convince her father Blanton (who had not played in 35 years) to fill in on bass for just one performance. They’ve been playing together ever since!
In late 2010, Kristen, Blanton, and Brian became part of the founding members of Route 64. Route 64 has acquired additional band members along the way and Kristen couldn’t be more excited and honored to be playing with such a talented group of musicians.
Craig started his professional music career later in life (late 30’s) playing with bands such as B2B (Jimmy Buffett Tribute), Alibi, Crush & Autumn Shine. Though playing guitar since he was 10, Craig started his professional music career playing bass for B2B for about 10 yrs where they toured the Mid Atlantic states as well as scattered bookings all over the eastern part of the country and has opened for acts such as Blake Shelton, Alabama, Travis Tritt, The Beach Boys, The Doobie Bros, Atlanta Rhythm Section, Randy Travis and others. He had written & recorded a CD with B2B that gets national air play on Margaritaville Radio.
Even though bass guitar is Craig’s “tool of the trade”, he never passed up an opportunity to return to the instrument that started it all, playing guitar in Alibi & as part of the “3 guitar attack” in the southern rock band Autumn Sky Burning, as well as in church. Craig’s musical influences are wide including the Beatles, Beach Boys, Molly Hatchet, Jimmy Buffett, Led Zeppelin & the Eagles but Craig first noticed & created a passion for harmonies at 5 yrs old when he heard a song called “You Were On My Mind” by We Five. Coming from a musical family (father played fiddle in a blue grass band & brother is guitarist for B2B) Craig has an appreciation for all genres music which is what drew him to Route 64.
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