The Mainely Country Band - Bios

band photo


   Jeff Simon started performing at the early age of  10, along with his sister, Jolene, on a local television show which was televised weekly from WEMT-TV Channel 7 (now WVII-TV) studios  in Bangor, Maine. He and his sister, Jolene, performed regularly on “Frankensteins’s  Country  Jamboree”, which in later years became “Stacey's Country Jamboree”.  While being featured performers on Stacey’s Country Jamboree, Jeff and Jolene made frequent appearances throughout Canada with the cast of the TV show. Jeff’s dad was also a part of the musical talent on Stacey*s Country Jamboree.  Jeff and his sister also made occasional appearances on The Curly O'Brien Show. Jeff played several dance performances at the grange hall in Wesley, Maine while in high school with Gene, Flo, and Sharlene Hooper.

   During his latter years of high school, Jeff's interest in music influenced him to start his own band, The Mainely Country Band.  In 1979, Jeff recorded his first album, "Journey Through The Country", with liner notes written by Maine's own, Dick Curless. Later, in 1988, Jeff recorded another album with Bob Fillion, titled "From Us To You", which won first place honors in 1989 by one of Maine's premier country music organizations, The Down East Country Music Association.  

   In 1992, Jeff and his band were the house band for several tapings of  The National Country Music Jamboree,  taped in Ellsworth and Cherryfield, Maine and was televised weekly throughout North America via satellite.

   In 2007, Jeff was in a backup band playing for International recording artist and performer, Johnny Tillotson, for a performance in Southwest Harbor, Maine at a music festival. Then a few years later, in 2012, Jeff played with another group of musicians backing up Nashville comedian and impressionist, Johnny Counterfit, at another music festival held in Jefferson, Maine. The Mainely Country Band was also the backup band for Nashville recording artist, Ira Allen, for Maine's annual Pioneer Show in 2008 for three performance locations in Maine.

   Jeff, along with the band, has received numerous awards throughout the years from the Down East Country Music Association, Maine Country Music Association, Pine Tree State Country Music Association, Maine Academy of Country Music and the Tennessee based international country music organization, North America Country Music Associations International. Jeff was inducted into the Maine Country Music Hall of Fame on May 17, 2014. Jeff also received the Denny Breau Guitarist Award from Denny Breau and the Pine Tree State Country Music Association on May 18, 2014.

     Doug started singing and playing music at 10 years old with his brother, Donnie Baker. They both appeared on a weekly television show, “Frankenstein’s Country Jamboree”, which televised out of WEMT-TV studios (Channel 7) in Bangor, Maine.  After the show, Doug and Donnie formed their own band and performed at some of the top bottle clubs and establishments in the area.

    Doug has performed in numerous bands through the years playing both,  country and rock music. He has also won several awards for his singing and songwriting abilities from some Maine country music organizations. One of the songs Doug had written while in the band, “Buckshot”, won the band the opportunity to take a trip to Nashville, Tennessee and perform on the Grand Ole Opry stage. In 1981, Buckshot got the award from the Down East Country Music Association for Best Dressed Country Band and  in 1984 and 1985- Most Promising Band and Modern Country Band. Doug also received awards for Male Vocalist of the Year in 1984 and 1985, plus Songwriter of the Year in 1984. Buckshot was also an opening act for Tammy Wynette and Eddy Raven.

    Doug later formed the band, “Bootleg”, which became one of the most popular bands in the area. Bootleg won several competitions including a Battle of the Band’s which was sponsored by Dick Stacey and Q106.5 in Brewer, Maine which enabled the band to do an album of their own, titled “Bootleg – First Time Out”, consisting of all original songs which was released in 1986. As their popularity continued growing, the band became finalists in the Colony States Regional country music competition and then went to California to compete and won the American Eagle Award and the Horizon Award (The Club Owners Award) from the Country Music Association’s of America organization. Bootleg also won the following awards through the Down East Country Music Association, in 1985 – Traditional Country Band of the Year and in 1986 – Vocal Group of the Year. Doug also received  Male Vocalist of the Year and Songwriter of the Year in 1985 and  in 1987, Doug received Male Vocalist of the Year and Instrumentalist of the Year as bass guitarist. Some of the artists that Bootleg has opened for are, The Charlie Daniels Band, Jerry Lee Lewis, The Forrester Sisters, The Platters, T. Graham Brown and also was backup band for Freddy Fender and Canadian country artist, Joan Kennedy.

    In 2008, Doug recorded a CD titled, “Band Is In Atlanta”, consisting of all original songs and is currently working on another CD project. Doug also did some session work as bass guitarist on a recent Danny Harper CD, titled, “Once Again”.

    Most recently, Doug appeared weekly on a local television show taped/televised from Peakes Hill Lodge in Dedham, Maine called “The Peakes Hill Lodge Country Jam” in which Doug had written the theme song for the show as well. Doug then formed another band, “Doug Baker and The Real Deal”, which became the backup band for the show which was televised for two years on two different television stations, WVII –TV and FOX 22. During the latter year, the show moved to WABI-TV Channel 5.

    Doug joined The Mainely Country Band in late 2013 as lead & harmony vocalist and bass guitarist.



We welcome Bobby Kelley as the newest member of The Mainely Country Band!

    Richard Knipping started playing the drums at age 8 on a kiddie drum set . After reaching the age of 13, he got a set of Ludwig's and had been taking lessons for a few years. Richard played his first professional gig at the age of 13.

  After his high school years, he then hooked up with “The Central Park Band”, a five-piece club/show band performing at various locations on the Jersey Shore and in Philly. The Central Park Band then gained popularity and recognition and were added to the roster and being booked by the prestigious Rothbard Agency in Philadelphia. The band performed at many society gigs, hotels, clubs and casino’s, working with individual singers and comedians. Then after several years of traveling up and down the east coast, Richard relocated and started playing with the Portland, Maine based band, ”One Last Swing”.

  In the early 80’s, Richard joined the “Hot Wax” band, a very popular Bangor based band. “Hot Wax” later became “The Rockin’ James Band”. Then after the departure of their lead vocalist, Chuck Jameson, the band became “The Sista Sadie Band” with Sara Peavey as their new vocalist.

  In 2012, his musical adventures led him to become the drummer for the popular local country band, “Desperado”.  Richard performed for a couple of years with “Desperado”, and is presently laying down the groove with “The Mainely Country Band”.

  Richard is a very experienced and versatile drummer who has the ability and finesse to play big band, swing, rock, blues and soul, ragtime, celtic, bluegrass, and country music. As an independent drummer, Richard has also worked on stage and in the studio with Bill Chinnock, John Kay, Mark “Guitar” Miller, Blind Albert, Derrick Semler, Big Daddy and The Accelerators, The Bad Daddy’s, Dave Wooley, Nevah, St. Huckleberry and a host of others.

  Richard Knipping is the newest member and a great addition to The Mainely Country Band.

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