|Hometown - Norfolk, Nebraska|
|Don Sohl and Country Cookin|
|Don Sohl Trio|
|Don Sohl and the Roadrunners|
|The king of rock and roll in the Midwest started playing country music around Northeast Nebraska in the mid-1950s, before the dawn of rock and roll. He was one of the very first to pick up on the new rock and roll craze, forming Don Sohl and the Roadrunners around 1957-58, covering all the hits of the day.
An early innovator, he was one of, if not the first, to record rock music in Nebraska. His 45-rpm records from that era are some of the best ever recorded, and are treasured and highly collectable recordings today.
Early recordings were done on DREEM Records (see Dreem Records at www.nebrocks.org) out of Norfolk. Consisting primarily of instrumental originals such as “Rampage,” “Knockout,” “Twin City Blues” and the amazing and early multi-tracked regional hit “Ticker Tape.” The Roadrunners began to tour the Midwest on the strength of their hits, stage presence, showmanship and charisma.
They linked up with another early Norfolk band (Norfolk was simply the hot-bed of early rock music in Nebraska), “Ron Thompson and the Broughams” with Dick Allison. They shared the talents of piano legend Denny Volk and frequently performed together bringing an entire “rock and roll road show” to their fans. The late Denny Volk can be heard on most Sohl early recordings.
Around 1963, Don decided to take the band to New York City. They performed at the legendary Metropol as well as the nearby Wagon Wheel on Broadway. The band was there for several years, with Don taking a number of excellent young musicians from the Norfolk area with him.
They were a hit on Broadway and played in 7-8 hour lounge performances, alternating sets with such musicians as Gene Krupa, Mitch Ryder (later of the Detroit Wheels) and David Clayton Thomas (later of Blood, Sweat and Tears).
When he returned to Nebraska, he formed the Don Sohl Trio, which performed music and comedy routines to packed houses at clubs throughout the Midwest. They released several country-rock records on the Shue label.
In the early 1970s, Don moved more toward country music, still keeping his rock music in the set list. He toured doing an Elvis Presley tribute and later formed ”Don Sohl and Country Cookin'” with success into the 1980s and '90s.
Don Sohl and the Roadrunners were among the first inductees into the Nebraska Music Hall of Fame (www.nebrocks.org) and Don personally received the first Hall of Fame “Lifetime Achievement Award/Pioneer of Nebraska Rock and Roll” award several years ago. The Roadrunners with most of the original musicians peformed in 1994 and continued to play annual ”Nebraska Rocks” shows throughout the Midwest, always being the “headliner” to close the show, to capacity crowds.
Many an aspiring musician was drawn into the world of rock and roll by seeing Don and his Roadrunners perform and literally hundreds of musicians can point to Don Sohl as being their inspiration to venture into the world of music, whether it be rock, country, blues, or rhythm and blues, all of which he played and mastered during his 50-plus years in the entertainment business. God bless you Don and thank you for enriching our lives thorough your music, your laughter and your friendship.