The Dirt Road Jam Band
Jason FratesiJason Fratesi is the lead vocalist of Jason Fratesi and the Dirt Road Jam Band. He also plays the acoustic guitar. Jason was born and raised in Leland, MS.
Jason got his start in music at the age of 18, after singing a song in a karaoke bar and receiving a strong reaction. He quickly learned to play the guitar and began playing country gigs around town, mostly for family events and for friends, with his good friend Raymond Longoria. This eventually led to weddings and parties in various bands. Although country music has always been his passion, he now plays a mix of rock, blues and country.
Taking a break from playing gigs to focus on family, it wasn’t until recently, that Jason and his good friend, Jeff Mathews, began playing again at family events. They were joined by Ray Billman, Bill Copeage, Jonathan “Lil G” Warmack, and Freddie Hart and the Dirt Road Jam Band was born!
Jeff "Spoons" MathewsJeff Mathews plays the drums, the spoons and is a backup vocalist for Jason Fratesi and the Dirt Road Jam Band. He was raised in Pine Bluff, Arkansas and moved to Mississippi in 1999.
Jeff is strongly influenced by his grandfather, a fantastic singer who taught him how to play the spoons when he was a little boy. His father, who played the trombone in a Chicago cover band for many years and several pit bands for large musicals, bought him his first trombone in the fifth grade and nurtured Jeff’s love of music. Both men were instrumental in developing his talent.
Jeff played the trombone all through high school and went on to learn the drums. In college, he joined his first band, “10 after 10.” He loves to sing, and you can hear him singing background on many of DRJB’s songs. Jeff sites Ray Billman, the band’s bassist, as the true reason he still plays the drums today. Ray told him, “It’s okay if you don’t play like the other guys…play like Jeff.” Those words allowed him to relax and feel the music, instead of simply playing the beats. Having played with both Ray and Jason individually for years, adding Bill, Lil G and Freddie to the mix completed the puzzle.
Jeff’s philosophy can be summed up in a recent quote. “Hold your family tight, play your music with love and let the people hear your soul.”
"Cool" Ray BillmanRay was born cool. When he was just a little boy he learned to play the bass, because it was cool. He grew up playing cool music. He currently still plays cool music. Ray is the coolest there is. This is why Ray does not need a bio, he is just that cool and that is all that you need to know about Ray.
Bill CoppageBill Coppage is the keyboardist for Jason Fratesi and the Dirt Road Jam Band. His skills also include the piano, bass and guitar. At the age of 15, Bill picked up the bass and never looked back. During his college years, his roommate at the time, who went on to play piano for Eddie Rabbit and the band Little Texas, piqued his interest and inspired him to learn the piano.
Bill has played with many local bands over the years, opened for several well known bands, and has jammed with Bud Cockerel and Pablo Cruz. He passed along his love of music to his son, who is skilled in several instruments like his father. Bill says that the Dirt Road Jam Band is one of the most fun bands he’s ever played with. When they get together, the chemistry is fantastic and many wonderful memories are made.
Freddie HartFreddie Hart plays the rhythm guitar for Jason Fratesi and the Dirt Road Jam Band. He grew up in Greenville, MS.
Freddie began playing the guitar at the tender age of 12 and was in his first band by the age of 15. He played regular gigs throughout high school, where he met his good friend Jason Fratesi, and played with the Steve Azar Band and Grandma’s Attic in college. He and Jason continued to jam together throughout the years. They both took a break to raise their families, and when Jason formed the Dirt Road Jam Band, Freddie was a natural choice.
Freddie loves to play, plain and simple. He says, “I have fun when I play and hopefully the audience is having fun with me.” He isn’t out to make a huge statement, or solve the world’s problems. He’s having a great time when he’s playing, and if everyone in the crowd is having a great time as well, all the better.
Jonathan “Lil G” Warmack
Jonathan “Lil G” Warmack is the lead guitarist for Jason Fratesi and the Dirt Road Jam Band.
Born in the Mississippi Delta, he learned to pick the blues at a young age from his father. He notes Jimi
Hendrix, Freddie King, Lightnin’ Hopkins, BB King, and Jeff Healey as just a few of his influences. He
describes his music as “blues southern country funk, baby.”
Luckily, Lil G grew up in a house where nobody cared how loud the amps were. There were parties and
rock n’ roll going all the time around his house! He loves the way you can express yourself through
music and dreams of one day seeing the band’s first album made.
As do many of the band, Lil G says playing with DRJB is like playing with family. He was originally
picked up after he posted an ad on Craig’s list and was quickly welcomed into the fold. He plays ever
spare moment he gets because, as he says, “If you’re going to lay a lick down as a guitarist in front of
thousands, you better make sure nobody forgets it!”