Jason Craig - Vocals/Guitar/Songwriting
Jason Craig grew up on a small piece of land in Hatfield, Missouri...population 72. He spent his youth baling hay, moving cattle, and working at his parents' general store, all while singing along to a steady soundtrack of George Jones, David Allan Coe, and the Charlie Daniels Band. Back then his dad’s 1965 Dodge Power Wagon was his concert stage, and the AM radio was his backing band. As a young man Craig filled in on piano at his tiny rural church, and continued to fuel his love of performing through high school musicals and as an a Capella singer in college. As an adult Craig began to pursue songwriting in earnest, and taught himself to play a left-handed Alvarez guitar to give his original words a musical voice. After testing his original songs and refining his stage show at regional BBQ contests and neighborhood parties, he formed Jason Craig & the Wingmen in 2011. That year he also released his first full-length album, “Half a Lifetime,” which garnered regional attention for its authentic songwriting and Craig’s dynamic vocals.
Since then, JC&W have become a popular act all over the Midwest, playing their engaging brand of “rockified country and countrified rock” at clubs, corporate events, and town festivals. Craig also regularly books acoustic shows that provide a more intimate country music experience, while still providing the compelling stage show his fans have come to love and expect.
Ben Patel - Lead Guitar/Keyboards/Trumpet/VocalsGrowing up in Kansas City’s Northland, Ben Patel’s path to become a top-flight country multi-instrumentalist wasn’t a typical one. A child of first-generation immigrants, Patel spent his youth adopting American traditions with his family, learning piano and trumpet, and exceling at soccer and tennis. Patel’s passion for Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, the Beatles, Radiohead and Pearl Jam led to teaching himself guitar and drums to rock along with his legendary musical influences. Patel went on to study aeronautical engineering at Stanford but never turned from music, playing drums in the indie group Plot Against Rachel and honing his music production creds by recording several San Francisco bands.
After college, Patel returned home to the KC area and established himself professionally, writing and recording original music and playing guitar for Simple Story. Then, in 2006, Jason Craig moved in three doors down and a musical partnership was quickly forged. Their collaborations evolved from playing music in the driveway to Craig and Patel laying down tracks that would become the foundation of Craig’s 2011 “Half a Lifetime” album. These days Patel can now be found wielding his Telecaster on lead guitar, while adding backing vocals, keyboards, and the occasional trumpet part to the JC&W stage show.
Scott Parman - Bass/VocalsScott Parman was born three years after his brother Jason Craig, and they’ve been wingmen since the day he was born. Growing up in tiny Hatfield, MO, Parman was immersed in small town life. He spent his early years riding motorcycles at breakneck speed through pastures, and as a young man became a standout basketball player, a state record-holding high jumper, and the drum major of his high school’s marching band. Parman was never far away from music, listening to Dwight Yoakam and Conway Twitty, and singing with his musical relatives after Sunday dinners at Grandma Evaleen’s.
Parman spent the next decade serving his country, graduating from the Air Force Academy and flying AWACS missions over Iraq and Afghanistan as a commissioned officer. After completing his military service, Parman came back to his Missouri roots, where he now has a successful career in real estate. Parman taught himself guitar and bass almost a decade ago, and his imposing 6’8” figure can be spotted to Craig’s right at all JC&W shows, holding down the bass line and contributing backing vocals. Parman also has a talent for songwriting, having co-written “Steel Toes” and “This Ain’t the Islands” on JC&W’s forthcoming second album.
Joe Rogers - DrumsJoe Rogers (known affectionately as “Joe the Drummer” to his fans) is the most recent addition to JC&W. Rogers joined the band in late 2011, turning Craig’s existing soft-spoken country trio into a full-tilt, rockified country foursome…and they’ve never looked back. Rogers grew up in rural Independence, MO, listening to the hallowed country sounds of Hank Williams Jr., Merle Haggard and Johnny Cash, but as a young man found himself also drawn to rock bands like Foo Fighters, Stone Temple Pilots, and Soundgarden.
Rogers knew early on that he wanted to be a drummer, so he saved his money, bought his own kit, took some lessons, and taught himself to be an entertaining and “in the pocket” drummer. He comes by his musical influences honestly, having played in Kansas City rock bands Shift Kit and Famous FM. Rogers is glad to have gotten back to his country roots in JC&W, however, and fans all over the Midwest now rave about his high-energy style, tasteful beats and excellent showmanship. Joe the Drummer is truly the “show within the show” at a JC&W event...and he’s a show worth watching.