The Wild Turkey Band/Hometown Rockers

Rock ‘n’ Roll


Coming soon…

Members of the Historical Archive Committee of the Rhode Island Music Hall of Fame are researching and documenting the career of these important Ocean State musicians. When work is completed, we will be posting an in-depth biography and complete discography on this page. In the meantime, please enjoy this introduction to their work.

In 1975, guitarists John Baldaia and Paul Gaudette, bassist Pat Davis and drummer David Bottai formed The Wild Turkey Band in Pawtucket with one goal in mind: to play their own kind of music. Their rootsy repertoire (Van Morrison, the Dead, Reggae, Blues) proved a hit. By 1977, they were on top of the scene and added Russ Lema on keyboards. In 1978, after Eric North replaced Lema on keys and they added Peter Hadden on sax, the band introduced originals by John, Paul and Peter into the mix and their fan base soon covered the entire Northeast. In 1980, John left the group to pursue a career in jazz and was replaced by singer-songwriter Tom Keegan. Along with a seamless transition to a leaner, harder sound came a new name, Hometown Rockers. They became an all-original act and after an indie single caught the attention of the major labels, the band began looking for a producer. In stepped Kevin Falvey of Warner Bros. recording artists American Standard Band who not only produced a great album, but joined the band as well. Despite brisk sales, good airplay and great reviews, the band did not get picked up. Tom and Eric left in 1984 and a final lineup featuring vocalists Debbe Lewis and Celeste Crosse carried on successfully until 1986. The stick-to-your-guns attitude and great success of both incarnations of the band set the bar high and influenced countless musicians as pioneers in the musical genres which are now called Jam Band Music and Americana.

At left, The Wild Turkey Band & Hometown Rockers on the right