Ralph Goff played guitar and sang at a coffee shop in Los Osos. Ralph and I met at the Supergrass festival in Bakersfield in 2007 and jammed many times at his home studio. He introduced me to Band in a Box software. Ralph would hang around Los Osos for the winter but after Parkfield he take his truck and go “ramblin’”. Tony Pires came to Los Osos via Modesto where he played with the Grass Less Traveled. Tony invented the Tone-gard https://www.tone-gard.com/ for mandolinists and he plays a great mandolin. We met at Supergrass too. When I found out he’d moved to Los Osos, I made contact and we started to pick some tunes together. Eventually I introduced him to Ralph and the 3 of us enjoyed jamming so Ralph invited us to join him one night at the coffee shop and the band still to be named SLO Pokes was born . . . . kinda. We needed a bass player. Sally Vedder, who played with Better Late Than Never and others asked me if I ever got a band together to invite her in so I asked the guys, “how about it?” and they said, let’s give it a try and we hit it off. Sally brought the 3rd of the 3 part harmony vocals to the group. By then we were too large to get on the bandstand at the coffee shop so we branched out and eventually played gigs in Santa Margarita, Cambria, San Luis Obispo, Arroyo Grande and Shandon . . . . . some were private parties, others were festivals others were coffee shops and the occasional Brown Bag Concert. One of the hardest things to do in music is come up with a name for the band! I’d joke to the audience that if someone wanted to write a name for our band on the back of a $20 bill, we’d use it and low and behold, at the Porch in Santa Margarita, some dropped the name "SLO Pokes" on us!
We spent an afternoon at Painted Sky Recording studio in Cambria and recorded several of our songs which made a nice CD. Some of those songs were also video-taped and can be found on Vimeo. Ralph’s ramblin’ became an issue when we told him we wanted to gig while he was gone and he was ok with that but a little hurt too. By the time he came back from his wandering we were pretty comfortable without him so he opted out. Sometime later, Sally moved to Mexico permanently so Elita Chafin joined the group on bass and vocals. We eventually brought in Steve Watt on dobro. It was shortly after Steve came into the band that I realized a home remodeling project and some European travel commitments were going to impact my ability to rehearse and play gigs so I left the band. It was a great run. Once at the Cambria Harvest Festival we were told that Joni Mitchell sat through two of our three sets! None of us knew she was bluegrass fan or maybe it was simply our showmanship!