Joseph Barton: guitar/bass/vocals/writing
Melanie Owen: guitar/bass/vocals/writing
The Groovetramps play as a duo, trio or four to five piece, hiring the best local musicians available in the Seattle area and on the road.
The core Groovetramps are Melanie Owen & Joseph Barton. Joseph has worked with Denver bands such as The Clam Daddies, The Train Wreckers, Tempa & the Tamtrums, Potcheen and The Thommy Knoxvilles. He also spent some time on the road with Randy MacAllister and Buddy Whittington. Currently, in addition to The Groovetramps, he plays bass and guitar for Seattle bands Red Sun Revue and Gin Creek, and recently has spent time touring with Portland powerhouse Karen Lovely. Melanie fronted Cedar Avenue Blues Band in Denver for 4 years with John Weeks and has worked with Denver artists Eef, Thommy Knox and Moses Walker. She has worked with Seattle artists Cody Rentas, Michelle Taylor, Rafael Tranquilino, Gin Creek, Tommy Cook and Teri Ann Wilson and Red Sun Revue, and currently plays bass for the West Coast Women's Blues Revue where she gets to back up awesome Seattle artists like Patti Allen, Lady A, Stacy Jones and Teri Anne Wilson. Joseph and Melanie, with Rick Jacobson of the Wired Band on drums, run a super fun Sunday Afternoon Blues Jam (3-7:30pm, outside when weather permits) at the 192 Brewing Company in Kenmore that has been going since April 2015. The Groovetramps bring a fun, fresh take on old school blues, R&B, zydeco, jazz standards, classic rock and americana and present smart, soulful originals. Their live show is fun, interactive, full of energy and humor. They play clubs and stages of all sizes as well as private events.
At about the age of 17, I bought myself a 12-string acoustic guitar. I was really drawn to the big full sound I got when I played it. It was when I got my first Gibson, an ES 355 that things changed. It was a sanded down, re-wired, original mono 1961. It wasn't the prettiest guitar, but it helped to spark my interest in vintage guitars and collecting. I studied some music theory, but without a live musical outlet for applying what I was learning, music would become stale. After several years of music projects not working out, I put music aside and traveled the country for a few years. Music would always haunt me, and finally, I knew that I had to play again. I figured the best way to reintroduce myself to music would be by picking up the bass guitar. So, I bought myself an inexpensive bass rig and quickly became a full time bass player, playing with the Clam Daddys, The Trainwreckers and various other Denver bands where I learned the subtleties of rhythmic variation, the importance of groove, and felt the addiction of a good pocket. In March of 2000 I joined forces with Tempa Singer, an excellent and well-known Denver vocalist, to form Tempa and the Tantrums, a band that would later play many of Colorado's finest festivals, host an award-winning open stage, and even play internationally. In 2008 I started the Joseph Barton Trio, (JBT) and began working first in Denver area clubs, then other cities. In late 2009 I started touring with a songwriter out of Texas named Randy McAllister. I spend a lot of time on the road with Randy playing both bass and guitar. Also, about that same time I started looking at, and working towards, living in Seattle. I started networking with players in the Seattle area early in 2010, and JBT shows soon followed. I also continue to pick up work, on both guitar and bass with other very talented local and national players. The year 2016 is upon us and I am not touring as much as I have in the past giving me the chance to book more JBT and Groovetramps shows between both Denver and Seattle. I am currently finishing up an all original CD with a new live CD in the works. I consider myself very blessed to be a musician and to have music in my life. It has brought me many wonderful experiences. It has allowed me to travel and to play with so many great and talented people. I hope to continue to grow and travel with music for a very long time to come.
Influenced by singers like Big Mama Thornton, Etta James & Janis Joplin, writers like John Prine, Kris Kristofferson & Joni Mitchel, and bluesmen like T-Bone Walker, Howlin' Wolf & Muddy Waters, Melanie plays from-the-soul blues and other stories. Melanie is originally from Great Falls, Montana, but has been in Denver since 1986. She enjoyed growing up along side the Denver arts scene (as well as working every possible kind of customer service job available in order to pay the bills while doing so). Her love of singing comes from sitting in church next to her dad, learning the bass lines and harmonies to old hymns. Her musical training is a mishmash of school marching band, early piano lessons, and picking up a guitar now and then to either play in the church band or impress a boy. She studied Theater at the University of Denver, spent some time in France and then jumped into the Denver theatre scene in 1998. In 2000, she joined the Slam Poetry scene and found her love of writing. In 2007 she began songwriting seriously, threw herself into the open mic scene, met her songwriting partner, Emily Saunar, and began the acoustic rock duo, middleroad. In 2010 she met John Weeks, blues guitar extraordinaire. They soon formed the project that became Cedar Avenue Blues Band, which was her main project in Denver until she moved to Seattle. She met Joseph Barton through the Denver scene and began touring with him in Washington, Oregon and Colorado as The Groovetramps in 2013. She teaches beginning and intermediate guitar, bass, voice & performance to kids and beginning adults, and co-created the end-of-year holiday show, BALLS! A Holiday Spectacular which celebrated a 6 year run in Denver, CO.