Phoenix Tree started in 2004-ish out of the Cousin Larry’s Cafe Open Mic Danbury scene as “DanO and Friends” where Hudson Valley out-of-towner, Dan O’Connor played with a rotating cast of like-minded musicians until he found the ones he wanted; Art Sousa, Dave Bonan, Jeremy Anderson and Justin Virga. We changed our name to Phoenix Tree after a group contest to pick 2 words in succession from our more than 30 songs.
We broke up for a brief period in late Spring 2007 but not for long. We reunited in 2009 sans Art and Dave, with local keyboardist/harmonizer, Pete Herger, a dual talent dream that DanO had envisioned from the beginning. Soon after Justin surprised everyone with his newly honed harmonies that he shared with DanO. They played a headlining show at the CT Film Festival in 2009 and 2010 on the Danbury Green bandshell main stage. They were still a staple at the weekly Open Mic as a trio with others filling in drum duties AND at Tuxedo Junction’s Open Mic since Larry’s closed. Dave Bonan re-joined the band for the last few months of Open Mic and played their first reunited show on December 18, 2011 at the Molten Java Benefit Concert.
In 2012, Phoenix Tree opened for a touring 60s tribute band at the Danbury Green Bandshell/Summer Concert Series to a packed lawn crowd.
In April 2014, our friends decided the open mic energy needed to be brought back downtown so with the help of Billy Bean’s Cafe and Pub, it was retooled as the “Original Singers/Songwriters Showcase” with rotating co-hosts. It was the first time in many years that this venue hosted live, original music more than a one-off show. It’s a tight fit with no room for a drum kit, but Dave’s percussion rig IS holding down the fort and the magic is brought weekly.
Rob Johnson left the band in the Summer of 2013 but was quickly replaced by local drummer, Jay Margolin. He joins DanO and Justin for trio shows. Jay left in early fall 2014 and Rob Johnson is now back on the throne. Scott travels a lot for work and we miss him, so local swing bassist, Rob LaSalle filled in for a while.
In early winter 2015, local musician, Hector Jimenez joined our group. He was previously a touring guitar/bass tech with the jamband moe and Kings of Leon. He’s a triple threat; he can play bass, sing and blow the harp. His first show was at Widow Brown’s Cafe on Feb 13. His groovy energy is infectious. We don’t need a cure.
Recently (May 16), our show was recorded live at Billy Beans by local/infamous college radio station, WXCI 91.7FM on the Music Notes program.
Dan O’Connor (Guitar, Vocals)
Justin Virga (Guitar, Vocals)
Hector Jimenez (Bass/Vocals, Harp)
Dave Bonan (Percussion)
Jan Jurgielewicz IV (Drums)
Scott Anderson (Bass)
Art Sousa (Drums)
Peter Herger (Keys, Vocals)
Jay Margolin (Drums)
Rob LaSalle (Bass)
Rob Johnson (Drums)