Cannonball

Cannonball members Mike Krayniak, Paul Bivans, Terry White, Tom Kneesel and Andon Davis.

Cannonball is a group of musicians based in Chicago who connect with the same rock sensibilities and merriment to create an explosive sound rooted in the American folk tradition of blues, country, rock ‘n’ roll and all their offspring; hillbilly; rock-a-billy; folk rock; psychedelic; punk.   They play a mixture of original songs and interpretations of personal favorites that veer from swinging rock ‘n’ roll to swaying country blues with detours down musical guitar exchanges between the dual lead guitarists that ride on a freight train rhythm bed.

Paul Bivans – drums, vocals.  Paul grew up in northern Kentucky, the son of a prosperous bean field farmer.  By the time he was 9 years old he was allowed to sit in on drums during the family front porch jams over the notorious July 4th reunion gatherings.  The drought of 1975 forced his father to sell the fields and move to LaGrange IL where he earned a living driving a cab in the day and playing his fiddle at night wherever he could earn a few bucks.  Paul joined the high school marching band and has not stopped playing since.  The consummate professional he currently plays with Anna Ferman’s Trigger Gospel, Bunkertown and Cannonball.  Paul has toured the world including a stint of opening for Johnny Cash.

Andon Davis – guitar, vocals.  Andon too comes from a family tradition of music.  His father and mother were known throughout down-state Illinois as The Davis Twins Orchestra (although they are not blood related at all, they looked alike and their agent thought it best to bill them as twins).  Their jazz influenced big band traveled throughout the Midwest and South until mom and pop Davis were noticed in a long embrace.  Needless to say they changed their occupations.  Andon, however, listened to mom and dad around the house and has become somewhat of a Chicago guitar legend.  He has played on numerous records over the years.  Including, Bloodshot recording artists The Riptones, also Heartsfield, Anna Ferman’s Trigger Gospel, Bunkertown and Cannonball.

Tom Kneesel – pedal steel, guitar, vocals.  Born in Iraq raised in Libertyville Illinois.  The son of mixed Arabian and Scottish blood Tom is the first in the family to take up the minstrel ways.  He first established the wildly popular North Woods Hillbillies in Wenonah Minnesota while attending college at St. Mary’s.  After earning a degree in advanced nuclear physics Tom gave up all desires to remain a scientist and married the lovely Beth Ivantic.  From 1980 to 1999 Tom took a respite from music to raise his three beautiful daughters but resumed his music career in 2000 when he joined the Chicago rock group, the YellowHammers.  His love of American roots music and his ability to play almost any instrument upon picking it up has brought new found success to both the YellowHammers and Cannonball.

Mike Krayniak – bass, vocals.  Mike is the offspring of the famous Arctic explorers Sophie and Stan Krayniak.  They made their home in Green Bay Wisconsin when they were not on the North or South Pole.  While they explored and researched our dwindling ice caps Mike was raised by his second cousin once removed, Eva Tolstoy.  At seventeen years old Eva moved to the U.S. shortly after her parents were arrested in Cold War Poland for anti-communist subversion.  She had already, at the age of twelve, had been touted as a virtuoso of the cello and was part of the People’s Youth Symphony of Poland.  As Mike’s nanny she taught string instruments and Mike took to it like a polar bear to fishing.  He has played from coast to coast in the U.S. and currently plays with Anna Ferman’s Trigger Gospel, Bunkertown and Cannonball.  He is also well known throughout Chicago as a respected recording engineer and producer.

Terry White – guitar, harmonica, vocals.  In a long line of barroom tenors (better at barroom brawling then singing, to his chagrin) Terry turned to poetry.  His great uncle, Sean Patrick White, was a minor poet during the Easter Uprising days in Ireland and although he ended his days hanging from a tree he left a family legacy of verse for revolutionary inspirational writing.  Terry studied creative writing (to use the term loosely) at Southern Illinois University.  Upon graduation he hit the road with the underground sensations, the Modern Day Saints, playing every shithole from Manitoba Canada to New Orleans.  Terry currently writes and plays with the YellowHammers and Cannonball.