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Chris Gardner band makes Folsom Pro Rodeo debut

By: Penne Usher, Telegraph Correspondent
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FOLSOM CA - It?s not just their high-energy performances and great music that set the Chris Gardner band apart, it?s also how personable they are to their fans. They will be taking the stage at Mike?s Golden Spike Saloon each night of the Folsom Pro Rodeo that runs from June 29 to July 1. ?We are a grass roots band and every person counts to us,? Gardner said in a recent interview. ?We get out there and shake hands and are respectful to everyone. We want to offer a show that?s entertaining and is family friendly.? The band is comprises Gardner on lead vocals, Dwight Hogan on bass/vocals, Aaron Shively on lead guitar, drummer Joey Gonzales, Nikko Vargas, also on guitar, and keyboardist Shawn Holiday. The group has been together for about three years. They play a mix of cover and original music, focusing on good ol? country. This is the Chris Gardner Band?s first time playing at the Folsom Rodeo and they are looking forward to the gig. ?We are going to bring a show,? Gardner said. While some kids were learning how to spell at the age of 6, Gardner was busy discovering the beauty of words in music. He grew up in the historic and agricultural town of Marysville, playing in small venues and listening to Conway Twitty and George Strait, intrigued by the genuine messages in their songs, he said. The band recently released their first CD, ?The Answer,? which is also the title track and a fan favorite. Tamara Herbstritt, of Sacramento, has followed the band for the past two years. ?I?ve seen them every place you can think of,? she said. ?I am their No. 1 fan.? Herbstritt said it is the band?s ?humility? and their wonderful music that make them great. ?When you come to see them, they give you the feeling that you are number one and it doesn?t matter if it?s me or anyone else,? she said. ?They make you feel so welcome.? Herbstritt is lovingly referred to as the ?mother of the band? and often brings homemade dishes for the band, including Gardner?s favorite, her macaroni salad. ?I?ve never seen a band that makes you feel so special,? Herbstritt said.