The Range Benders perform a diversified mix of Americana, blues, and roots with a bit of attitude. The line-up is loaded with Kelly Riley's originals, peppered with some traditional tunes, and out of the mainstream covers - from relaxing to rowdy, from back roads to bone-weary, blues. Kelly Riley's acoustic, rhythm guitar is the anchor for her rich, deep, and strong vocals. Pete Lupi, with lightning, flavorful fretwork on lead guitar. Malinda Ritts holds down the low end with upright bass and bow. Janet Anders brings fills, trills, and color on her flute. With a passion for their music, with enthusiastic energy, and spirited camaraderie the Range Benders bring a buzz to the stage.
Kelly Riley is a singer/songwriter telling heartfelt stories that reflect roads traveled. From dusty trails to the metaphorical road, her lyrics resonate with a strong connection to western landscape and her quest for wide open spaces. Dan Maher, host of Northwest Public Radio Inland Folk, commented on Kellys first album, My Kind of Road; 'this album is as easy going, as relaxed, as somebody who doesn't have to prove anything - good songs, well sung, well written a cross between Kate Wolf, Bill Staines, and Hank Williams.' While her music continues to evolve and embrace new genres, there is a constant thread. Kelly's songs are sharply perceptive and prosodic inviting the listener to step into the experience, pack a bag with the words, and begin a journey of their own. Delivered with Kelly's genuine vocals, backed by her acoustic guitar, and embellished with emotive instrumentals - the places, the humor, the pain, the inspiration, and the music create a connection with the audience.
Peter Lupi has a long history as a guitar player. Since learning his first two guitar chords in the mid-sixties, he has played and performed with a myriad of bands. The rock genre and music from the Beatles, the Stones, and Jimi Hendrix, enticed him to play. Later, his connection with Jon Woodhead from the band, Ace proved to be the catalyst to push him forward. Pete developed scales and riffs that formed the backbone for the guitar leads he plays today. His listening and improvisational skills create an ability to lay down the licks to a diversity of music styles. In recent years, as lead guitarist for the band, The Cowboy Heroes, Pete embraced the original, pure Americana sound that blended country blues, rock-a-billy, and western swing. Pete Lupi's guitar leads are highly engaging as he reaches for sounds and riffs that are unique, intriguing, and a very far distance from out of the box.
Malinda Ritts came on board in 2021 with her upright bass. She brings many years of experience as a classically trained cellist. She holds the low end with a steadfast tempo. Her cello experience comes to light on several songs when she shows her stellar bowing skills. Malinda played mandolin and bass with previous bands.
Our newest band member, Janet Anders, played piano, flute and oboe as a young musician. She picked up the flute again when she met her husband, Paul Anders. She added the penny whistle and melodica to her talents. She and Paul performed Celtic and Old Time tunes together in Hood River, Oregon and in Moscow, Idaho where they also played with the band, Spare Time. Janet has continued to play with musician friends and family and is thrilled to be joining the Range Benders. She brings her talented flute improvisation skills adding interesting fills, leads and harmonies to the music.