We are from the Hills of West Virginia. We all grew up in the same small town and three of us on the same street all but Griffin and he grew up in St. Albans, West Virginia.

Blackhander’s main focus right now is promoting our own music. All of our songs tell a story...a true story of the lives of the musicians. We went to Nashville, TN in June of 2005 and recorded on Music Row at Universal Studios. We were able to work with such professionals as producer Robert White Johnson and Engineer Garry Dales and recorded with Curt Towne who is now playing with the VanZants. We have opened up for such artists as Blackfoot, Molly Hatchet, Blake Shelton, The Southern Rock Stars, and we were asked to open up at a tribute show in honor of the late Jackson Spires of Blackfoot.

We have been honored to receive an unfinished, untitled and non-composed song that Leon Wilkeson had originally started that we titled “Thirty Years.” We also remade the song “Michelle” that Ronnie Vanzant wrote for his oldest daughter Tammy “Michelle” Vanzant.

Shawn Marra is our lead singer and drummer and the founder of Blackhander. Shawn started out with just a couple of drum pieces ended up winning a drumming contest at age sixteen on a broken drum set and has been unstoppable since. Shawn plays drums, guitar, keyboard, along with writing and composing.

Roy Moore is our lead guitarist, back-ups, and some lead singing. Roy has been playing guitar since early childhood. Roy and Shawn lived side by side and every opportunity they got they were in Shawn’s basement playing music, which is exactly where we still practice.

Bob Jackson moved here from Texas as a child, he plays a five and six string bass guitar, back-ups, lead vocals, and he is also a song writer and composer. Bob started playing bass around twelve years of age. His cousin was the founding member of the band Road Dawgs.

Griffin Haddad became a member of Blackhander around 2 years ago. He was originally a member of the band named Due South. He is a lead guitarist, rhythm guitarist, singer/songwriter and composer. He plays the fiddle, and also keyboards. Griff started playing guitar at age 15 after watching a friend’s band play Sweet Home Alabama by Lynyrd Skynyrd. Griff grew up in Saint Albans, WV near Charleston.

I grew up in Shinnston on the same street as Roy and Shawn. I would be out in the yard singing and they were hitting the drums and playing guitar. I started singing around the age of 4 in church and in the bathtub before then. I was determined to be a singer like Loretta Lynn since I am a Coalminer’s Daughter myself. I landed in Blackhander in 2001. I love music from all walks of life; I guess this comes from being raised by a Coalminer and a hippie. I would love to actually have the chance to make it to give back to my family what they have given to me.

Toshua Dorsey started singing in her church choir as a child. Toshua continued her singing career all through high school. She was in show choir and she also modeled for JCPennys. Toshua became a member of Blackhander in 2007. Toshua is our back-up singer and tambourine player.

| written by Melissa Hardesty