Band History

             The Sandspur Band got it’s start in the summer of 2002 when Mel Middlebrooks and Clarence Bauer got together to pick a few tunes.    Mel had just moved from Gardendale, Alabama where he had been involved in a home-bound music ministry with a couple of fellow church members.  Once a week the small group wouldvisit members of their church who were home-bound or shut-in because of sickness, age, or whatever.  After joining the Gulf Shores United Methodist Church, Mel heard that Clarence was somewhat musically inclined, was retired and had some free time to devote to this idea.  They immediately started working up a few songs and decided pretty quickly to add more members to the fun.

             George Hasenbein, also retired from Gardendale, was asked if he would be interested in joining the band. Fishing was slack at the time, and George,recognizing a chance for an excuse to get out of household chores, jumped at the invitation.  After he joined the band, it was discovered that he didn’t know how to play the autoharp. However, he has done a good job learning in the past couple of years and his music adds a lot to the band’s sound.

           Clarence had heard Larry Davis play harmonica at a church youth event, so in late 2002, we asked Larry to come on board.  In December, we started working on some Christmas music and needed a good alto voice to do justice to some of the selections.  Susie Davis wasn’t about to let an opportunity to sing get by her and, quite frankly, the band needed better vocals than we could supply.  So she was invited to sing with us and she sounded so good, that we decided we wanted to keep her with the group.

            In May of 2003, the church hired a full-time Director of Music, James Keith Posey.  James Keith had performed professionally, had a superb tenor voice and could play several musical instruments.  After giving him a few months to settle in, we invited him to sit in with us. Besides the tenor vocals, he plays bass, mandolin and guitar.

            Friends got tired of calling us The Band, or The Church Band, or You Guys, or Y’all and started asking us to settle on a band name.   Fellow church member and well-known local rock icon, Brent Burns, came up with the name The Sandspur Band, so we decided to go with that.  Later we came up with the analogy  of  'a sandspur  sticking in your sole'  to  'our music sticking in your soul'.  We later realized that Brent’s record label is Sandspur Records, so either he was being charitable, or we
should be expecting him to produce our next CD.  

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           James Keith's work schedule and growing family responsibilities naturally took an increasing amount of his time.  We found Neil Wade, a recent transplant to the Orange Beach area and he agreed to sit in with the group on home visits.  Neil plays violin, guitar and was quickly 'getting up to speed' on the upright bass.  At that time, the idea was to present a seven-member band, with Neil on the bass and James Keith on mandolin and guitar.         

             h o w e v e r    .    .    .

          James Keith suddenly quit the band in January 2009, so soon thereafter, we added a new vocalist to the group.  Audrey Hasenbein was a welcome addition; we were getting great harmony sounds from her and Susie. In 2012, Neil Wade became unable  to continue full time with the band, so we added a new bass player to the group.  When Neil lost his battle with cancer, Tommy Salter became our full time bass player.  In April, 2013,  Audrey Hasenbein quit the band and in June the following year, George Hassenbein quit.

            So here we are now, The Sandspur Band; four spurs with a rose amongst them.  From humble and stumbling beginnings, the band has evolved into a solid, five-member group with a very smooth, well-blended sound.  We love playing and singing and we have a lot of fun whether we’re practicing or playing for an audience. When you get the chance to hear us, you can be assured that we’ll have a good time;  we just hope that you will receive a blessing from our music.

Copyright © April, 2004 by:  The Sandspur Band   Last revision to this site was posted on:   October 20 2017