Neon Valley Boys
2023 RIBA Hall of Fame inductee
The Neon Valley Boys came together in April 1979 when Jeff Horton asked Mike Bresler if he knew of any bands looking for a bass player. Mike had a booked gig for a bluegrass band at The Met Café but had no band yet. He put together a band that consisted of Mike Bresler on mandolin, Jeff Horton on bass, Karl Dennis on fiddle, Ed Stern on banjo and Ray “Wyatt” Lema on guitar. The guys all knew each other from playing in other bands and at events.
After six months, Wyatt left the band and Paul Mellyn was asked to join as guitar player and lead singer. This was the beginning of a lengthy run during which the band performed at numerous venues, festivals and events with enthusiastic audiences.
Mike Bresler left the band in 1980 and was replaced by Tom McLaughlin on mandolin. Karl left a year later and the band continued as a quartet.
In 1983, the Neon Valley Boys released an LP that received favorable reviews. A re-release of the album on CD in 1999 resulted in four annual reunion concerts at the Blackstone River Theater in Cumberland, RI.
Following a long break, the band returned to the Blackstone River Theater and played a show at Nick-a-Nee’s in Providence that was reportedly the largest turnout for the venue. The band continues as a casual group of like-minded musicians.