The Sin City Band//Photo by Leslie Barbaro
One word describes The Sin City Band’s secret to survival for 43 years: fun. “It’s been more fun than anything else,” says Steve Hobson, a member since 1976.
Scott Birney, a 1971 Tatnall alumnus, started Sin City at college in New Hampshire because he thought “country rock would be more fun” than Top 40. He brought the band to Delaware in 1975, tested Colorado for one ski season, then came back home for good.
Sin City’s repertoire includes originals (Birney’s “Yellow Sun” and “That Chester County Song” are often requested) and covers. “I see our band as true to old-world country (Hank Williams, Johnny Cash) and old rock (Creedence Clearwater Revival),” he says.
Today’s lineup features Birney (vocals, acoustic guitar), Hobson (vocals, electric guitar), David Berry (piano, bass), Jim Ficca (drums) and Alan Berdoulay (pedal steel guitar). Sin City keeps eight to 10 performers at its core, freelancing out as needed.
Over the decades, the band has also remained true to meaningful music. Birney cites Woody Guthrie’s “Deportee” as important now as it was in 1971.
It plays weekly at Argilla Brewing Company in Newark. “We’ve found our niche at weddings and parties and being a house band, and we just love it,” Birney says. “My wife and I don’t have much of a social life outside the band. It’s a bit of a family.”
No swan song is in sight, says Birney, who, at 64, is the band’s youngest member. “Hank Williams and Johnny Cash played right up to the end,” he says. “We’ve incorporated stools into our act so we can relax.”