The band's lead singer and guitarist Richard Propps consistently receives rave reviews on his powerful and often awe-inspiring vocals and excellent guitar playing. Superb mandolinist and occasional lead vocalist Rick Hayes, spent four years touring nationally with the Gibson Brothers, and recived a coveted Highlight Review from Bluegrass Unlimited on his solo CD "Fly By Night." Tony Kakaris is the rock solid heartbeat of Nightflyer on the standup bass, lending baritone as well as lead vocals to the group. Tim Jackson adds spice to the mix with his fiery dobro performances, and an occasional lead and baritone. Rounding out the sound is Ronnie Stewart, contributing killer banjo, and sweet lyrical tenor and lead vocals. Each individual is outstanding on their own, but this is truly a band that is greater than the sum of its parts.
Richard started singing when he was five years old, and a short four years later, learned the guitar from his dad, Vernon "Buddy" Propps. At the age of 14 he started a bluegrass/gospel group with his father, Good Neighbor Gospel Band, where he learned to sing from his heart. After ten years of touring with his dad, Richard was invited to sing with a national Southern Gospel group. The group remained together for five years, with of two of their songs landing on the U.S. Gospel charts. Richard then moved from his home state of West Virginia, to Sidney, Ohio where he now resides. Prior to joining Nightflyer, he played and sang with several groups including Blue Storm. Richard is inspired by all styles of music and great vocalists, but gives all credit to Christ and his dad for his gifts.
Tony started playing music at age 17. He studied multiple forms of music and instruments making him a well rounded player. Tony got his musical education from his father who was also a multi-instrumentalist and noted for his knowledge of jazz rhythm guitar styles. He said his father gave him a great foundation both in music and life. When he first started his musical career he began with a band called The Country Blue Boys, a band he started with his brothers and some friends blending their love of both country and bluegrass. It was around this time he first saw the Country Gentlemen with Doyle Lawson. The harmonies those guys produced totally set his world on edge, and influenced Tony’s style for singing and arranging harmonies forever. In the early 70’s, Tony became one of the premier country/rock guitarists in the Miami Valley Tri-State area. He was working with the band Sagebrush. When the band decided to go on the road the timing wasn’t right for Tony. He was a very dedicated family man raising his children. As his children got older, Tony returned to music by helping form a recognized area band, Buckeye Ridge, with well known luthier Al Jamison. This was Tony’s first real attempt to follow his dream but would be cut short with the passing of Mr. Jamison. Now Tony is back in full force as the rocking heartbeat of Nightflyer.
Rick attributes his musical beginnings to his father -- starting in bluegrass, then journeying into the world of rock, and then finding his way back home to bluegrass. His transition from rock guitar to bluegrass mandolin created a style very unique and all his own. If you listen close you can hear anything from Bill Monroe to Randy Rhoads. Rick started playing around the Cincinnati area at a young age. Always being in the center of the best musicians. When he fell in love with the bluegrass scene it was not enough to just play. He combined his talents and knowledge of recording and graphic arts and started his own record label. He also took a turn as a promoter, opening a theater venue with his brother in Covington, Kentucky. It was at this time that he joined Blue & Lonesome. Rick would later leave the band and go on to play and record with the Gibson Brothers, performing at some of the finest venues across the country and even the mother church itself, The Grand Ole Opry. He has recently added to his business resume with his own line of guitars and mandolins, Rick Hayes Instruments, which are endorsed by some of the best musicians in the industry. Rick is an artist in all aspects of the word. Not only as a great musician, but a fine luthier, recording engineer and graphic artist. He is a true “road scholar” and brings more to the Nightflyer table then anyone could ask. Click here for some reviews on Rick's work.
Born in Southwest Ohio in 1971, Ronnie was exposed to Bluegrass music first hand. His dad, Ron Stewart Sr., fell in love with Bluegrass music in the mid 70's, which resulted in live practices and jams in his living room on a weekly basis. After learning chords and guitar rhythm from his dad, he soon began playing guitar in the band, but Ronnie was always intrigued by the banjo. At age 10, he began taking banjo lessons from Curt Hoskins, the banjo player in his dad's band. Curt was an excellent Scruggs style picker, which is still evident in Ronnie's playing today. Ronnie has been a member of several bands: Prime Time Bluegrass Band, Charlie and Wilma Hoskins, Blue and Lonesome, Miami Road, Wild Horses, and the Woolum Brothers. A solo recording titled “Can I Sing This Song for You” released in 2008 includes many of his music friends. Ronnie can also be heard on recordings by Prime Time, Blue and Lonesome, Noah Woolum, Clay Hess, and Mark Cole. Ronnie is happy to bring his banjo and vocal experience to Nightflyer.
Tim, as many musicians do, comes from a long line of talent. His grandfather was an old time claw hammer player, his mother, father and uncles were all musicians and kept music in the home at all times. Tim had his first bite from the bluegrass bug in the early 70’s when he heard the legendary sounds of the Seldom Scene and J.D. Crowe. Tim said, “I would listen to Blackjack every day before school trying to figure out what J.D. was doing.” He would very quickly switch his musical path from bluegrass banjo to country steel guitar. He worked in Florida from 1979 to 1988 with the Florida state champion country act The Boys from Johnsville. He would spend those years working on shows with the likes of Merle Haggard, Mickey Gilley, Jerry Reed, Steve Wariner, Hank, Jr., and the list goes on and on. When he moved back to his home place of Middletown, Ohio, he went back to his bluegrass roots this time on the dobro. Tim has worked with numerous area groups, most notably Dwight McCall and Miami Road. Now, he is the last piece to the Nightflyer puzzle and we are greatly appreciative of his presence.