Homeward Bound played from one end of the province to the other, packing rooms and setting sales records at the door and at the bar. Ken Sitter joined brother Jamie Sitter and Neil and formed the venerable group Free Ride. After close to 20 years of entertaining Neil and the Sitter brothers retired from music. Neil continued to raise cattle west of Calgary on a picturesque ranch nestled in the foothills with his beautiful wife and family. Then they moved to a larger ranch south of Calgary, still in the foothills, where they still reside.
The next generation of Sitters came on the scene and hauled Neil out of retirement to start the commercially successful Jo-Hikk. Kelly's vocals, Neil’s lightning fast riffs on his Tele, along with newcomers Jerry Toland on drums and classically trained Ron Baker on everything else, keyboards, acoustic guitar and synthesizer swept the local industry like a chinook wind. They packed everywhere they played. After that Neil, Jerry and the multi-talented Ron brought their talents together with the witty and talented Randy Ross on bass. The boys are proud of their new act KIXXSIN. Rockin' Country, Classic Rock, some blues, some top 40 country.
Jerry is a third generation drummer. His roots go back to his renowned Grandfather Ted Pire. Ted’s resume in the music scene is so long, you can’t see from end to end. Ted has played the big shows, huge clubs, and TV appearances. And Ted and his beautiful wife Carol are still active playing nightly with the Cheyenne Band. Jerry’s Uncle Theo has been playing since the 80’s and is still playing out west with talented artists like Ken McCoy and Eric Neilson.
Jerry’ tastes started with the big hair rock of the 80’s then drifted to the jazz and country his grandfather played.
Jerry is in high demand as a gifted session and freelance drummer. With a enormous repertoire of music he has played with some of the biggest local acts around; Big Mike Callan, Shane Yellowbird, CCMA’s Chevy Rising Star, Willie Mack, JoHikk, Damian Marshall , Chris leBlanc, Ken McCoy, Melanie Lane, Justin Ament, Erin Haley, Craig Moritz, Marty Grambo just to name a few.
Jerry’s unique style of playing keeps the crowd bouncing with heart thumping bottom end back beats that blend smoothly to his jazz/funk influenced fills that add a unique blend to the KIXXSIN sound, his sound just has to be danced to!
Ron studied classical and jazz guitar at the University of Alberta under Master Dale Ketchinson. This gifted classical guitarist then taught himself how to become an accomplished keyboardist. With this new ability, he played with the successful recording artists River Road and Scott Skirving and Skyward all across Canada. His success in these acts include the co-writing of five of their radio played songs in Eastern Canada. He has shared stages with KixxSin and JoHikk opening for recording artists Prism, Johnny Reid, The Road Hammers, Jason McCoy, Carolyn Dawn Johnson, Clayton Bellamy, Aaron Pritchett, Brad Johner, Paul Brandt and Chris Leblanc just to name a few. He has had the honors of playing on stage with Chris Cagle while at Big Valley Jamboree and several great Canadian artists.
Ron missed the prairies and the Rockies and immigrated back to the land of the Chinook. His keyboard abilities, perfect harmonies and great guitar abilities piqued the attention of second generation country rockers Kenny and Kelly Sitter. The Sitter's asked Ron to join them in the Brenner Brothers act. The band evolved to include Jerry Toland and Neil Waters when Kenny went overseas to tour with Julian Austin. The sound of this act quickly surpassed the Brenner Brothers moniker and they renamed themselves Jo Hikk.
Jo Hikk soon became a commercial success. Ron on keys/acoustic guitar, Jerry Toland on drums, Neil Waters on lead guitar/vocals, and Kelly Sitter on bass/vocals. Ron left Jo Hikk during their first album "Closer" recording sessions to join Neil and Jerry in the hot country rock band, KixxSin.
Ron's musical influences besides the classics include Jason Aldean, Toby Keith, Brad Paisley, Jake Owen, Rodney Atkins, Paul Brandt, Kenny Chesney, Carrie Underwood, Trace Adkins, George Strait, Blake Shelton, Billy Joel, Rascal Flatts, Emerson Drive, Jason McCoy, The Road Hammers, Garth Brooks, Keith Urban, Diamond Rio, The Blackhawks, Journey, Dianna Krall, Elton John and Rush..the list is huge with so many great artists in this planet.
The clever wit and charisma that are a part of his songs are an extension of his personality. With his strong traditional voice and an imposing physical presence, Mike owns the stage when he steps on it. There is a great energy in his performance, administered with a nudge and a wink in the up tempo numbers, but he can deliver a ballad enough to persuade he might be the strong silent type while you wipe away a tear.
HURRICANE, Big Mike’s album (Universal/ICON/Fontana North), delivers on the promise implied by the title. The quiet becomes the storm and you get caught up in it. Sensitive serenading one minute and hot-headed honkytonk stomp the next - HURRICANE is a collection of songs about a life lived, and the range of emotions worked through in the process. From the roadhouse to the trailer park, it references all the familiar themes in popular country music - both traditional and contemporary.
With producer Steve Fox at the helm, who also shared co-writing duties, HURRICANE includes contributions from other great writers such as Johnny Reid, Buddy Jewel, Billy Tarkington and John Rich (Big & Rich).