The SandSpurs blends folk, jazz, bluegrass, Americana, and old-time traditional genres into a musically colorful performance of expertise and passion. The St. Augustine, Florida duo consists of acoustic guitar fingerstyle prodigy Charley Simmons with the “king of the low-end notes” and Bill Austin on upright bass. Together this pairing holds over five decades of performance experience beneath its belt. Lead vocalist and acoustic fingerstyle guitarist Charley Simmons made St. Augustine his home in 1970, when the folk music scene was at its peak and venues were predominantly listening rooms. He was exposed to local legend and national touring artist Gamble Rogers, the well known folk music artist and storyteller. It was during this time that Charley began to invent his own fingerstyle guitar technique.
Once Charley was exposed to Gamble’s ability to make one guitar sound like two by playing a moving bass line and melody simultaneously, he “threw away his flat pick” and began to teach himself. Watching Gamble perform for hours on end at the famous Tradewinds Tropical Lounge, Charley spent two years perfecting his style of playing before performing it live for audiences. His thousands of hours of rehearsal and repetition paid off. In 1992 he was named the Utah State Flattop Guitar Champion. In 2002 Charley won the Wyoming State Fingerstyle Championship and in 2003 placed first in the Gamble Rogers Fingerstyle Guitar Competition. Three years later he won the KRCL Singer-Songwriter Competition.