OUR HOUSE BAND

Produced by Chicago co-founder of Jam Productions, Arny Granat – OUR HOUSE has been wowing Chicago audiences since its debut in March 2021 followed by several SOLD OUT performances at Le Piano in Rogers Park, Arcada Speakeasy in St Charles, the Fine Arts Building on Michigan Avenue, and the historic Jazz Showcase.

Granat saw a burning desire for LIVE MUSIC kindled by the restrictions of the pandemic and went on to form OUR HOUSE which embodies 6 very notable singers and musicians, Irene Michaels, Sonny Luca, Bob Davis, Yvonne Gage, and Michael Austin led by musical director, Fred Simon.

Irene Michaels, Lead Singer
Irene Michaels has always been a part of the entertainment industry. Her artistic interest began early at age 11 as a dancer, taking lessons then eventually touring with a young dance group. They worked in state fairs, private parties, and even the circus! Ultimately she landed a part in an Off-Broadway production of A Chorus Line.

Irene became one of the top ten models in Chicago.  She was in several local magazines and won several beauty contests.  She built the Showtime modeling agency from the ground up and kept it running flawlessly for over two decades. She became known as the “leader of fashion shows”. 

Her career shifted from working in front of the camera to behind the camera as a producer, leading to the creation of two production companies that produced promotional events for corporations, hotels, and convention centers.

In the 1970s she appeared as a vocalist and played guitar at leading jazz restaurant clubs performing her own material.

As an actress, she appeared in television, film, theater, and most notably a recurring role in the popular daytime soap opera, General Hospital. Her film roles include Mickey One, Killer Klowns From Outer Space, Straight Talk, Cold Night Into Dawn, and River Made to Drown In.  She appears as herself in the documentary, Live at Mister Kelly’s. Irene was also an Executive Producer of the docudrama, Betrayal: When the Government Took Over the Teamsters Union.

Irene is a singer, songwriter, musician, and plays the guitar. She is an active member of Chicago Cabaret Professionals and has performed as a vocalist in many venues including Winter’s Jazz Club, Davenport’s, Le Piano, Arcada Theatre, The Chicago Fine Arts Building, and Jazz Showcase.

Fred Simon, Musical Director
Fred Simon has been making music for over forty-five years, performing and composing for records, concerts, film, dance, and television, with instrumentation ranging from solo piano to symphonic orchestra. Since childhood he has been convinced that he is a singer/songwriter trapped in the body of someone who can’t sing. He has been on the faculty of the Chicago College for the Performing Arts at Roosevelt University since 2005, the Merit School of Music in Chicago since 2006, and the Music Institute of Chicago since 2011, teaching piano, jazz ensemble, composition, improvisation, theory, ear-training, music history and music appreciation.

His compositions appear on his albums Short Story, Time and the River, Usually/Always, Open Book, Dreamhouse, Remember the River, and Since Forever; on albums with the Simon & Bard Group Music, Tear It Up, and The Enormous Radio; on Twilight, with Paul McCandless and Teja Bell; and on compilations released by Windham Hill, Columbia, Narada, and Naim among other labels. He also recorded an album of songs by Brian Wilson, The Beach Boys Distilled. Fred has recorded and/or performed with Ralph Towner, Paul McCandless, Larry Coryell, Lyle Mays, Iain Matthews, Jerry Goodman, Megon McDonough, Fareed Haque, Bonnie Herman, Kurt Elling, Tributosaurus, The Stan Kenton Orchestra, and many others.

Sonny Luca, Singer/Guitarist
Sonny Luca is a Chicago based singer-songwriter & multi-instrumentalist. His sound is a fusion of Laurel Canyon folk-pop. alt-rock and soul. And his off-of-center lyrics are haunting melodies which evoke an intimate and moving experience.

Studio Pastorale was founded by Sonny Luca and C.M. Sutton in 2019 and is where Luca wrote, produced and recorded his debut EP. 

Yvonne Gage, Singer/Song Stylist
Yvonne Gage is an American singer from ChicagoIllinois. Active since the late 1970s, she has done background vocals for artists prior to and after her own solo success.

As a session musician, she has provided vocals for many well-known artists, including Aretha Franklin, Stevie WonderMichael McDonaldThe Doobie BrothersMinistryCeline DionAshford & SimpsonKemJanelle Monáe, and Kindred the Family Soul.

Gage began singing in the church choir. At 14, She joined a local R&B band, The Soulettes, and sang with them for seven years. During this time, the band was renamed “First Love”, then simply “Love”, and released an album, Love at First Sight, under the independent Chicago International Music label in 1980.

However, Gage already had left the band at the time of release, to become a backing vocalist for Captain Sky. While touring with him, and beside acts such as CameoStephanie MillsKleeer and Smokey Robinson, she met Don Burnside, Captain’s Sky producer at the time.

He produced her first solo single, “Garden of Eve”, in 1981 for Atlantic Records. The track managed to enter the Dance Club Songs chart, and rank at number 36.

Burnside also introduced her to then playing new wave band Ministry. Gage took part in their With Sympathy tour, appearing alongside MadnessThe Police and Culture Club. After finishing touring, she recorded a commercial for Ultra-Curl, before going back to studio.

Gage continues to record new material and make appearances.

Bob Davis, Guitarist/Composer
I attended the Berklee College of Music in Boston, where I studied arranging and composition and instrumental performance. After leaving Berklee, I studied privately with the famous Charles Banacos in Boston who also taught guitarists Mike Stern, John Scofield, Pat Matheney, Mick Goodrich, and many other excellent musicians of all instruments. I relocated to New York City where I played and toured with John Waite (of Polydor Records and Missing You fame) and Patty Smythe (on CBS Records). I had my own guitar column as Promotions Director at Guitar World Magazine. While in NYC, I took Les Paul, a mentor and dear friend, out of retirement and did feature stories on him and set him up with a steady Fat Tuesday’s gig.

In 1984, in partnership with Felicia Collins of the David Letterman Band fame, I started working for Nile Rodgers Productions as part of the production team working on fifteen major records, including artists such as David Bowie, Diana Ross, Duran Duran, Al Jarreau, Jeff Beck, the Thompson Twins, Grace Jones, and Sister Sledge. While working with Nile Rodgers, I became the Associate Publisher of Musician Magazine where my responsibilities included hiring staff, choosing cover artist and cover art, and acquiring major advertising.

After moving back to Chicago in 1990, I formed my own band (“Cooly Cool”) with Ari Brown and Daryll Jones. While playing with Jones, I met Robert Irving, III, another heavyweight, and, in 1992, started playing with him in his electric music adventures, including the Miles Davis tribute gigs. Two major record deals were born in 2006, and one in 2011, with my new band, Lake Effect, under the genre of contemporary jazz. Most recently I wrote music for my dear friend Jeff Golub, who passed in 2014, and re-arranged a record for Hall & Oates. I am still writing music for myself as well as for other major artists. I perform as “The Bob Davis Trio”, freelance with other musicians, and have been offering private guitar lessons for the past 20 years.

Today I teach under the direction of Robert Irving III’s School of Jazz Music at the Chicago Academy of Music (CAM) with a team of world-class artists and instructors at the University of Chicago branch (www.chicagoacademyofmusic.org).   My newest musical endeavor is with the new band put together by Glenn Burris, whose latest CD, produced by Robert Irving III, will be released after the first of the new year.

Michael Austin, Bodhran
Michael Austin comes from a family with a music performance tradition that reaches back three generations to his bandleading great-grandfather, a personal friend of John Phillip Sousa. Austin’s grandparents met as members of a Gibson string band, and his father co-founded the Joliet American Legion Band, the most celebrated concert and marching band of its kind in the nation. It was from his father that he took his first drum lessons at age 5. Today he is a faculty member of Chicago’s Old Town School of Folk Music, where he teaches bodhran, the Irish traditional drum. He has been a featured performer at several major music festivals, including the Ennis Traditional Music Festival in County Clare, Ireland; Celtic Fest Chicago; Taste of Chicago and Milwaukee Irish Fest. 

He has recorded and performed in venues large and small—from cozy pubs to Chicago’s Orchestra Hall at Symphony Center—with some of the world’s most renowned Irish musicians, including Liz Carroll, Laurence Nugent, Maurice Lennon (Stockton’s Wing), Deirdre Scanlan (Solas), John Williams (Solas), Jimmy Keane (Green Fields of America, Bohola), Dennis Cahill (Hayes & Cahill), Kathleen Keane (Gaelic Storm), Liz Knowles (Riverdance), and Carlos Nunez, affectionately known as “the 7th Chieftain.”

Beyond the realm of Irish traditional music, he has performed with a diverse array of ensembles, from the Chicago Children’s Choir to indie rocker Ike Reilly. A founding member of the Irish traditional band The Boils, Austin is a two-time finalist in the senior bodhran competition of Ireland’s Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann, and a former adjudicator of the Midwest Fleadh Cheoil. In addition to playing music, he is a freelance writer who has contributed to Esquire, GQ, Outside and several other publications, including a book collaboration (Back to the Family) with Oprah Winfrey’s personal chef Art Smith. His weekly wine column, “The Pour Man,” appeared in the Chicago Tribune and was syndicated nationally. He lives in Chicago.