Vocals & rhythm guitar
Cristina grew up in Detroit, Michigan, where Motown and Bob Seger dominated the airwaves of her radio. The day after she graduated from college she moved to New York City to pursue a career in music, where she quickly built her reputation in the city’s highly competitive and diverse music scene. She has performed in many of its best known venues, such as The Bitter End, Nell’s, CBGB’s, Kenny’s Castaways, S.O.B.’s, and the Wetlands. Her various bands spanned a variety of styles, including alternative rock, reggae, jazz and blues. Completely immersed in music, she held senior executive posts as a VP at RCA Records, Volcano Records, and Velvel Music alongside legendary music executive Walter Yetnikoff. Her daily routine afforded her substantial exposure to some of the world’s greatest musical talent, many of whose influences can be heard in her vocal style today.
LEAD GUITAR & BACKING VOCALS
Ray Brindley comes from a musical family in North Alabama, where he learned piano, drums and tenor saxophone before settling on the guitar. He was playing jazz and popular standards in his grandfather’s big band at a young age while also absorbing the influences of classic and southern rock such as The Who, Led Zeppelin and The Dixie Dregs. After leaving the South, he was a guitarist in the Stanford Jazz Band, had instruction by saxophonist Stan Getz and guitarist John Scofield, and played jazz and rock music in the San Francisco Bay Area and Boston while pursuing a medical degree. Despite his range of musical interests, Ray finds that while he can take the guitar out of Alabama, he can’t take Alabama out of the guitar.
Bob’s playing career began at age 13 after discovering a souvenir guitar his sister had purchased in Mexico. His early guitar heroes were both flamenco players: Sabicas and Manitas de Plata. Like most guitarists at the time, Bob went electric in the mid 60’s and played lead guitar until the early 80’s. At this point he began playing bass. A long time San Anselmo resident, Bob has been active in the Marin music scene for many years. An eclectic and diverse musician he has played in a host of bands ranging in styles that include Latin, Reggae, Blues, Rock, Pop, Jam, and even Berber (Algerian dance music). Clearly, he is unafraid to try and play anything he thinks sounds good.
Anna buchmann gilbert
keys, accordion, mandolin, harmonica, & Backing vocals
Firewheel is a sort of homecoming for Anna, where she rejoins her earliest stage partner: her brother, Ray. She has a diverse musical background – as a kid, she sang jazz standards in her grandparents’ big band, studied piano and was an Alabama All State clarinetist and choir member, in addition to playing in the German band. She played lead roles in musicals in community theater in Alabama and college theater at Georgetown University, and also sang with the National Cathedral Choral Society. She eventually found her way to California and rock ‘n’ roll, learning guitar and taking up songwriting. She and Ray formed the roots rock band Dry County Runners and performed at the W.C. Handy Music Festival in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, as well as Northern California coffeehouses. Since joining Firewheel she’s broadened her range to include mandolin, banjo, harmonica and that Oktoberfest staple, the accordion.
Robert is a native Californian who grew up in the LA area until moving to the North Bay in 2015. Inspired at an early age by the Beatles on Ed Sullivan, he picked up a cheap guitar and taught himself to play. A few years later he took up the drums and decided to make that his primary instrument. Upon graduating high school he went on the road with a professional group, which began a steady run of touring work throughout North America with a variety of different bands, playing all genres of popular rock, funk, and R & B, both covers and originals. After 10 years, weary of the road, and doubtful of hitting the dream of major fame and fortune, he traded his drumsticks for a successful business career, while maintaining his passion for music as a student and a fan. In 2004 he found his way back into live performances, finding ample opportunities to do what he loves most, playing to an appreciative crowd!