Start with a dose of Irish and Scottish music, throw in some pop culture and modern video games, add a bunch of Americana and folk and shake it up with an addition of Eastern European and World influences and you start to get an idea of Wakefire's sound.
They seek to revitalize traditional Irish music with a modern approach. The six members of Wakefire blend their talents to create a fun and unique sound. Jared and Nessa provide the main lead vocals, Paul brings a raft of instruments to add unique touches to songs. Ron lays down powerful accordion riffs and banjo licks. Their rhythm section rounds all of this out with Haley on drums and Russ on bass combining to put the boom into their heavier take on Celtic, Folk and Americana music.
Jared began his singing career in the family minivan at six years old. After winning the prestigious Loudest Kid in the [would you please shut up!] Minivan award, Jared joined band and choir in middle school and began singing with the Men of Orpheus at 11 years old. In high school Jared was lead alto sax in the Jazz Band and Wind Ensemble and a member of the award-winning Haslett High School choirs, taking several perfect scores home in both instrumental and vocal Solo & Ensemble competitions, as well as performing at the Michigan Youth Arts showcase with a select men’s ensemble.
After high school Jared took up the guitar and spent a year and a half busking through the streets of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv before returning to Michigan. Having served as a the music director for Phantom’s Feast and guitarist/singer for the Madd Hatters Guild and Greenleaf, Jared is now seeking to bring a more personally charged project to life with Wakefire.
Paul Frigon started music at a young age with the guitar and saxophone. He played in the South Lyon High School band program in South Lyon, MI, where he also participated in the school’s award winning jazz and marching band programs. Paul continued his music studies at Eastern Michigan University where he added clarinet, oboe, and piano to his ever growing list of musical instruments. Paul has performed with various ensembles in over 6 different countries and 7 US states. He started performing professionally on the saxophone in 2006 with various Metro Detroit jazz and blues bands.
After a trip to the Michigan Renaissance Festival, Paul developed an interest in Irish/Scottish folk and Renaissance music. Striving to become part of that scene, Paul began to learn the mandolin and tin whistle with the hope to one day be able to perform at the Michigan Renaissance Festival. It was then that he helped found the group Till Wele or Wa which made their debut at the Michigan Renaissance Festival 2013. After a successful season at the Renaissance Festival, Paul shifted his performance focus to his newfound Celtic influence where he has performed with groups such as Bardic Brew, The Madd Hatters Guild, Shamrock Shore, McSpillin, and Wakefire. He hopes to continue to grow musically and share in a whole new set of experiences with Wakefire.
Russ began his musical training with piano lessons sometime during the Cretaceous period, back when the Earth was young and dinosaurs roamed the land. Shortly after the last Tyrannosaur collapsed, Russ started playing guitar, having found one that slipped through a time anomaly and appeared back in the stone age. Finding it much more to his liking, and a lot less heavy to carry, he switched his musical focus and the rest, as they say, is history. Through many, many, many years of lackadaisical study, intermittent practice and sheer accumulation of experience (seriously, 10,000 years will give you such a crick in the neck!) he developed sufficient skill to begin playing for others without sparking outrage, tomato throwing or inter-kingdom wars. In the modern era Russ has become a self-styled “musical whore” and has played with a number of groups. These include Reality Drift, an original 4 piece rock ensemble based in Metro Detroit, the Bawdy Boys and the Village Idiots.
Asked if he could play bass, and figuring that it couldn’t be THAT much different from guitar, Russ joined the Irish band McSpillin in 2010 as their full time bass player. In early 2017, Russ decided it was time to seek new opportunities to drop the bass (figuratively, not literally! These things are expensive!) and parted ways with McSpillin. Now the full time bassist and backup vocalist for Wakefire, he is looking forward to bringing the thunder to new audiences around Metro-Detroit and beyond.
Ron was born “A long time ago when the earth was green” to English immigrants. There were always Clancy Brothers and Dubliners albums lying around so it’s no surprise he got the Irish Music bug early on. His father had him take Accordion lessons as soon as he could pick one up. In the Sixties accordions were very popular and classes filled with 20 or more kids. The Horror!!
After many years Ron ditched the Accordion for Guitar and spent his high school and college years playing Heavy Metal and Punk with friends. After college he met his wife and spent 10 years traveling the world with backpacks using London as a base. It never ceased to amaze him how, in even the most remote locations of the world, one could always find an Irish Pub. This just reinforced Ron’s love for “All things Irish”. Over the last decade or more Ron has played with numerous Irish and Celtic Bands and loves playing the pub scene on St. Patrick’s Day. He’s excited about the unique and eclectic styling of “Wakefire”.
Haley discovered her love for percussion at the age of 2, when her mother allowed her free reign over the household’s pots and pans. She still does not have confirmation on whether or not her mother regrets that decision. From there, Haley had a natural sense of rhythm which was more refined once she started taking dance classes at age 7. Tap dancing and hip hop found Haley’s full attention, so it was no surprise that she picked up drumsticks during 5th grade band. She continued to play percussion throughout middle school and high school, learning more percussion instruments as time went on. Drum set caught her eye in middle school jazz band though, and she frequently tried to test her limits and would mashup modernized music into her jazz/Motown assignments. She went on to set records, such as making the snare line as a freshman, and becoming center snare of her high school’s marching band at the young age of 14, as well as being selected to play Buddy Rich’s Channel One Suite her junior year. Unfortunately, Haley had to take a few years off of drumming shortly thereafter due to tendinitis in her strong arm. In the last year, she found music again and started making videos online of her playing random song requests live but with her added twist of a Motown and jazzy style. She is excited beyond belief to be part of a musical group again, and looks forward to future adventures with Wakefire.
Nessa has been performing since she was 6 years old, when she first sang the national anthem at a baseball game. She is best known as a singer-songwriter and member of the vocal band Pandora Celtica, a nationally-touring, award-winning band. She is also a member of Arbor Consort and previously directed and performed with Foxglove, an all-women’s madrigal group featured at the Colorado Renaissance Festival. She has appeared in music videos with Not Literally, a fan-film comedy music group, and she has traveled to the Lincoln Center with the Odyssey Chamber Singers, and performed as far afield as South Korea with the CSU Chamber Choir. She is excited to rock out with Wakefire and all our friends and fans.