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Who we are.


Crooked Counsel has been on the music scene in Gainesville for many years now. The band was originally formed in 1994 by lead vocalist Shuri Pass and used the name “Santa Fe” for several years, playing various venues in and around Gainesville, Palatka and Ocala. Keyboard and second guitarist, John Middleton joined about 10 months after the band originated and put some new pizazz into the repertoire. John also sings back-up and a few lead vocals. Santa Fe played out for another year or so when personnel difficulties brought them to a halt for about six months. During this time Tim Sellers, joined the band. Santa Fe played a mixture of rock, blues and country music. The influence of the then new drummer, Tim Sellers, brought about the removal of the country tunes and created a new focus on solid classic rock and roll. When it began to appear that Santa Fe was missing out on certain venues due to the more country sound of the name, it was decided a new name would be needed to further their pursuits. The name Crooked Counsel was chosen – John Middleton is a practicing attorney in Melrose, FL and Tim Sellers was, at that time, a substance abuse counselor – the obvious basis for the new name. Our current drummer is Donnie Ray. He has played all over the U.S.A. and has been one of the most sought after musicians in the studio and on the stage for many years. Donnie's exposure to all styles of music has given him the ability to adapt to the many musical styles the band plays. Initially Crooked Counsel used two bassists – Joe Loper and Fritz Knaggs who alternated gigs but eventually Joe Loper decided to settle down to one band and became the official bassist for the band. Joe has retired hand-build his beautiful basses. Yomi Olatunde is our bassist now and is an incredible player. Crooked Counsel has had several excellent lead guitarists over the years, starting out with Randy Walker of Gainesville, Carl Haskins, Pat Davis and Jesse Smith, also from the area. Our current lead player is Rick Hutton who also sings lead. He is a dedicated and tasteful guitarist – a true class act !! Shuri, the lead vocalist and front person for the band is originally from Starke, FL and now resides in Keystone Heights. She sings everything from Adele to Zepplin and folks just can’t seem to help comparing her to Janis Joplin, something Shuri considers the ultimate compliment. She also plays acoustic guitar and you can sometimes find her performing solo at local restaurants. Crooked Counsel is an energetic classic rock cover band with a large and diverse repertoire and a capacity to please any audience.