Sons of the San Joaquin - The upbeat, airtight, three-part family
harmonies of the Sons of the San Joaquin are being heard in a lot more places
these days. This sound has carried Joe, Jack, and Lon Hannah from church and
community gatherings to places like Switzerland, where traditional cowboy music
is even more revered than modern country music. In the Arabian Peninsula they
found enthusiastic receptions from people who regard their own traditions to be
a close parallel to our cowboy heritage.
Here at home, their widespread
acceptance is an indication of the rich durability of the music and the quality
presentation of Jack Hannah’s highly respected original cowboy material. Cowboy
Waddie Mitchell refers to Jack Hannah as “one of the very best cowboy
The Sons of the San Joaquin sound
first took shape in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, where the
Hannah family had moved from depression-era Missouri. “There were some prominent
cattle ranches there,” says Jack, “and that’s where our romance with cowboys
began. Our dad became a fan of the Sons of the Pioneers back in the 1930’s, and
he’d sing a lot of those songs. We learned our first ones from him, and became
great fans of theirs, too.” Joe and Jack performed with their family at local
gatherings and eventually began traveling on weekends while pursuing degrees in
education, playing some professional baseball, and becoming school teachers.
Jack was a high school counselor and coach (he was baseball Coach of the Year
for the Western Region United States in 1980). Joe was a junior high teacher and
coach. Both have performed as church soloists and in opera and musical theater.
All the Hannahs are horsemen. Jack also breaks horses, ropes steers and does day
work on area ranches. Lon became a second grade-teacher and also had experience
singing in church, in musical theater and with the Bennett Consort (a college
vocal group often compared to Manhattan Transfer). In 1987, Lon approached his
father (Joe) and Uncle Jack with the desire that they sing together for his
grandfather’s birthday celebration. Almost by accident, the Sons of the San
Joaquin were born.
They gained a needed break when Lon
met cowboy singer Gary
McMahan at a Western Music Association convention. He invited the trio to
perform at the 1989 Elko
Nevada Poetry Gathering. There they ended up singing on stage with
Murphey, who invited them to join him on his Cowboy Songs album.
In 1992, Joe and Jack were able to
take early retirement from teaching to pursue the Son’s growing career
full-time. Lon took leave of absence from teaching before resigning in mid 1993.
There are a number of avenues of expression opening up to this dynamic trio.
Their repertoire includes arrangements for an evening of Western Music and
symphony orchestra and they are continuing to field international invitations.
Television appearances include the
Grand Ole Opry,
Austin City Limits,
Nashville Now, American Music Shop, Prime-Time Country and Old Time Country
Since 1992, the Sons of the San
Joaquin have recorded several albums. One of them being “Gospel Trails” which
features some of the Hannnah’s favorite hymns. One of the selections, “In the
Sweet By and By”, features a special appearance by Dale Evans Rogers as
A lifetime of family singing combined
with their true love of cowboy music has the Sons of the San Joaquin in constant
demand. Family is the key word for the Sons of the San Joaquin. Joe, Jack and
Linda, and Lon and Susan consider anyone who has ever picked up a rope, watched
an old Western, or hummed a cowboy tune, to be part of their family.
Contact Grabow for more information or to book the Sons of
the San Joaquin for your next corporate or private event.