Meet the Band
John Martin: Mandolin, Fiddle, Vocals
John was born and raised in rural Henrico, Virginia, and grew up on a farm in nearby Goochland County. Besides raising and showing horses, John picked up an interest in playing bass. After high school, he went straight into the work force, moving to South Richmond and working for C&P Telephone.
Despite a busy life of work, marriage and raising three children, John never lost his love for bluegrass. After returning to the slower, country life on a farm in King William County. John began taking mandolin lessons. Before long, he was off and running. He met fellow musicians and mandolin players at local bluegrass jams, and those influences have been priceless. One of John’s greatest inspirations was the late Sonny Mead, a seasoned musician and fiddle instructor. Sonny took John under his wing, teaching him a little fiddle and refining his skills on the mandolin.
John co-founded Old Dogs, New Tricks in 2011, and just hit the 17-year milestone as a musician. He also enjoys playing in his churches men's group. His love for bluegrass is strong, and camaraderie for his fellow Old Dogs, New Tricks band members is even stronger. So with the support of his wife Pam, his children and now three grandchildren, John will enjoy many more years of playing bluegrass with the dogs!
Mitch Tolson: Bass, Guitar, Vocals
Originally from Lorton, Virginia, Mitch has spent the past 25 years in the Richmond area. Growing up playing in church with his dad, sister, and cousins, Mitch has played guitar and bass in several country, bluegrass and bluegrass-gospel bands through the years. His biggest musical influences have been Jackson Browne, Merle Haggard, Ricky Skaggs, Ben Isaacs, and cousin Ray Tolson. He joined Old Dogs, New Tricks in September 2016. Mitch continues to enjoy singing and playing with children Elizabeth, Sarah and Matthew whenever possible. He is also active in Richmond's Redemption Hill Church, where he plays in the church praise band.
Ricky Bonovitch: Banjo, Guitar, Vocals
Born and raised in Richmond, Ricky grew up surrounded by a love for bluegrass and country music. His father played a little mandolin, but Ricky’s true inspiration came from Reno and Smiley. In 1976, he picked up a banjo for the first time, and began taking lessons. Not long after, Ricky and his younger brother, Russell, started the Winding Creek Bluegrass boys in the late ‘70s. The group would record an album in 1984, but split shortly after.
After raising two children, daughter, Sara, and son, Aaron, Ricky got back into bluegrass. In October of 2015, Old Dogs, New Tricks invited him to play with them, and, as they say in the business, the rest is history.
When Ricky’s not pickin’ his banjo, he’s exploring history books, enjoying favorite local restaurants and breweries with wife, Natalie, and cheering for the Atlanta Braves.
Ronnie Harlow: Guitar, Vocals
Ronnie grew up in Laurel Park, Virginia, and graduated from Hermitage High School. After spending four years in the Navy, Ronnie began working in the hardwood flooring industry, where he has been for 30 years. Ronnie learned to play the guitar during his service in the Navy, and he’s taken those talents to other bands before settling in with Old Dogs, New Tricks. Ronnie plays both bass and guitar, and loves playing with the fellas of Old Dogs, New Tricks. Some of Ronnie’s current music inspirations come from Tim O’Brien and Nashville Bluegrass. When he’s not busy performing, he enjoys spending time with his three children and four, soon-to-be five, grandchildren.