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The Ripcords Unmasked One of CNY’s best live bands shows their formidable chops.

The Ripcords win "2022 Best Americana Recording"

The Ripcords
The Ripcords

By John Tierney

The Ripcords have been ripping it up on stages around here for a while now and have become one of the region’s best live acts.  The kind of music that makes you want to drink from a long neck bottle and for one blessed night just rip it up along side them.   It’s pretty hard to feel bad when the Ripcords are on stage. Their mixture of Blues, Latin, Tex-Mex and other ingredients results in a musical bouillabaisse that feeds the soul.

What makes them stand out is the musicianship of the players, the word “tight” is thrown around in music a lot.  Too much.  But these guys are tight! The Ripcords recent release Unmasked, recorded live at Syracuse’s Sub Cat Studios show the band in exceptional form, featuring Rex Lyons and Irv Lyons on guitar and vocals, bassist Jay Gould, Steve Palumbo on Drums and Tom Witkowski on Keys along with the Boneyard Horns (Jeff Stockham, Nick Fields, Dunham Hall, Rick Huyge &  Bill Palange) are an all-star team of accomplished players in CNY and beyond.

“Take a Chance on Romance” a cover of the Billy Joe Shaver Tex-Mex classic is one of those cover songs that outperforms the original.   A late-night song of romance and courting that will have you looking for the tequila and the blender on a hot summer night. “Knee Deep in the Blues” features a boogie woogie barrel house piano run worthy of The Killer himself, a slamming blues jumper that will make you want to tip over the table.

Truly beautiful is the romantic original “Last Dance” a wistful, longing song for the end of the night that features a fanatic sax solo that lets the song soar like it was meant to.

Look, there isn’t a bad song on the album and taken as a follow up the earlier The Ripcords Live at Subcat Studios what we have here is maybe a resume as we look ahead to warmer months soon.  The days when music moves outside to our festivals and outdoor venues.  The Ripcords are a party and as the dark couple years we have all gone through have given us the blues, maybe it’s time to get up off the couch and get up on your feet.  It’s going to be a great summer and I for one am looking forward to the next time I get to see The Ripcords.  See you there?

The 2019, 19th Annual American Music Awards nominated the Ripcords for two categories:

Best Blues Recording and Best Music Video Recording! 

The Ripcords have performed across the Northeast to crowds in New York City, Boston and throughout their home area of Central New York. Some of the many stages they've graced include the New York State Blues Festival, Taste of Syracuse, Central New York Jazz Fest, the Inner Harbor Block Party, Performance Harley Davidson of Syracuse, Stage of Nations Blue Rain ECOfest and the Ganondagan Native American Festival.  Outside of New York, The Ripcords have played Saratoga Race Track, Brockton Blues Festival in Massachusetts and EarthDance in Napa Valley, California. The band and its members have opened for and played on bills with such noted musicians as Santana, Steve Miller, Blues Traveler, Ry Cooder, Rick Derringer, Phish, John Lee Hooker, Edgar Winter, Leon Russell, Kim Simmonds, Terrance Simien, Gene Taylor, Bill Kirchen, and Chip Taylor over the years.

Rex Lyons of The Ripcords


Rex Lyons is the respected guitar player, vocalist and band leader of The Fabulous Ripcords. Recently inducted into the Blues Archive Hall of Fame, he sits in regularly with Los Blancos, Pete McMahon, and other local luminaries around CNY.  Rex’s style is equal parts country, blues, rockabilly, and swing. Rex is best known for his work with Whiteboy and the Wagonburners, which rose to local and national acclaim. Rex has also played with The Roustabouts. 


Rex Lyons - Guitar and Vocals

Irv Lyons Jr. - Guitar and Vocals

Jay Gould - Bass and Backing Vocals

Steve Palumbo - Drums and Percussion

Tom Witkowski - Keyboards and Vocals 


Jeff Stockham - Trumpet

Nick Fields - Trumpet

Dunham Hall - Tenor Saxophone

Rick Huyge - Tenor Saxophone

Tom Witkowski - Trombone 

Bill Palange - Trombone


Performed Live from SubCat Studios


Publicity photos for press use and event promotions can be downloaded here and may only be used with permission from The Ripcords.

The Ripcords performing live on stage with lights shining down on the band.


The Ripcords "Last Dance” was nominated for “Best Blues Recording” for both 2019 Native American Music Awards and "Best Americana” 2019 Syracuse Area Music Awards”


The Ripcords “Unmasked” was recently nominated for "Best Blues Recording” and “Best Group of the Year” at the 2022 Native American Music Awards. As well as “Best Americana” category in the 2022 Syracuse Area Music Awards. 

Rex Lyons playing his guitar.


Subcat Records

Record Label

+1 315.478.0684

Artist Event Management

Artist Manager

John Pettigrass

+1 315.412.2922

OPK Solutions

Press Kit Manager

Lance Ziegler

+1 941.243.0414

© The Ripcords. Syracuse, New York, United States

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