The Hudson Valley Bluegrass Express was formed in 2015. They are based in the Mid-Hudson Valley of New York State. The group's members are all seasoned musicians with decades of musical experience behind them.
Doctor Romo was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY and learned to play the piano accordion at the age of nine. The accordion was in fashion at that time and music theory was an essential part of learning the instrument. This early introduction to music whet his appetite for more. During the day, Romo practiced his accordion but at night, he loved tuning in AM radio stations from afar. When he discovered a station broadcasting old time and Bluegrass music from Virginia he was hooked.
It wasn't until Romo was in his early twenties that he could apply the old timey sounds he had heard as a child. He took up fiddle and mandolin and played along to songs by Charlie Poole and the North Carolina Ramblers and Gid Tanner and the Skillet Lickers. In the early 1980's Romo got his chance to play old timey fiddle and sing harmonies with a band called Old Faithful. He performed with that band from 1980-85. From 1985-89 Romo hooked up with and Irish/folk band called Public Employee. From 1989-94 he played fiddle and accordion in a singer/songwriter band called Time Flies. Romo continued playing with many different musicians and during a trip to Louisiana in 1992, he discovered Cajun Music. Romo found that Cajun music was so similar to the old time music he loved, that he formed a Cajun band called Doctor Romo and the Cajun Swing Orchestra. He played with this band from 1994-2004, and credits his unique style, sort of “bluegrass with some Cajun spice” to that experience. Dr. Romo has also worked recently with Earl Pardini and the Slide Mountain String band and Chris Gilli and the New Lazy Boys.. Doctor Romo is now the fiddle and mandolin player as well as tenor vocalist for the Hudson Valley Bluegrass Express. Although he is not a real doctor, he plays one in a band.
Mike Aiese was raised in Brooklyn, New York and grew up listening to the music of the 1960's…the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye and the music of Motown. One of his earliest inspirations was the Motown session bass player James Jameson. Hearing Jamison's solid groove behind all those songs was what first turned Mike on to the idea of playing the bass. Mike then studied at Brooklyn College and completed his BA in music. He soon decided to play acoustic bass fiddle. He also played electric bass in various bands, but always returned to the sound of the acoustic bass. Mike had the opportunity to play in the house band at the Nevele Hotel in Ellenville, NY for eighteen years and was able to performs with such artists as The Fifth Dimension, Rita Moreno, Ben E. King and Robert Goulet. Mike also studied classical repertoire and performs regularly with area big bands and symphony orchestras. Mike plays both stand up bass and lead and rhythm guitar. Mike's unique playing style and diverse music experience brings a very special sound to the bluegrass arrangements of the Hudson Valley Bluegrass Express.
Matt Lamborn started playing the guitar at age nine. Inspired by his father Bill who sang folk songs and accompanied himself on a post- WWll Martin nylon string guitar, he developed a love for folk music and received a small acoustic guitar for his ninth birthday.
His father started Matt on his first three-string -chords, and Matt immediately began applying them to a number of tunes, mostly by the Kingston Trio. Folk music was listened to regularly in the house, and Matt would learn the tunes by ear, through trial and error. It didn’t occur to him that there was any other way to do it.
When the Beatles came along in 1964 his interest turned to the rock music of the day, but interest in playing remained more hobby rather than career. During the 1960's Matt was inspired by the Doors, Jimi Hendrix, Cream, and a host of other “new” bands and this piqued his interest even more.
During high school his musical interests varied greatly, from the progressive rock of the day to the more casual San Fransisco jam bands like Quicksilver Messenger Service, Grateful Dead, and Jefferson Airplane. A female friend turned him on to Hot Tuna (an acoustic offshoot of Jefferson Airplane) one night. Jorma Kaukonen was a master at the fingerpicking styles of Reverend Gary Davis, Blind Blake, and others. Matt was mystified as to how somebody got that much sound out of the guitar, and focused on this polyphonic approach for a number of years before going to Westchester Conservatory of Music to study Jazz guitar, which he studied with noted jazz luminary Chuck Wayne.
Always looking to forge new frontiers, in the nineties he took on the challenge of “hot” country guitar, studying the styles of people like Vince Gill, Albert Lee, Brent Mason, and later Brad Paisley. He played with country singer Ray Cook from 1996 to the present. Together they released an album under the moniker “Cook-Lamborn” titled “Looking Back. They spent quite a bit of time down in Nashville doing TV competitions and radio interviews, as well as full length performances. This was his gateway to Bluegrass music. Matt plays and teaches electric and acoustic guitar in many styles, as well as mandolin, dobro, electric fretted and fretless basses, and ukulele.