About Us

Rich Layton & The Troublemakers are the house band at the crossroads of twang and tremolo, playing high octane honky tonk, harmonica-fueled and swampified. It's the sound of an East Texas roadhouse, where the crowds are a little bit country, a little bit rock ‘n roll, and out on the dance floor all night long.
Rich Layton - vocals & harmonica | Tommy Pierson - guitar
Joanie Formoso - guitar & vocals | Ryan Ellsworth - bass | Troy Stutzman - drums

About The Band
Rich Layton & The Troublemakers are keepers of the flame for American roots music. It's high octane swamp rock, country, rockabilly and the honky tonk blues echoing from an East Texas roadhouse. The band's signature sound sits right alongside contemporary acts like J.D. McPherson, Sturgill Simpson and Hayes Carll. Each live show takes audiences for a ride from Sun Studios to Chess Records, and Muscle Shoals to Bakersfield. Rich's original songs thread seamlessly into the mix, weaving his Gulf Coast roots through tales of rock and roll redemption, harmonica-fueled and swampified.

Together a decade now, the band has released two albums and performs at multiple festivals and events throughout the NW, including the Safeway Waterfront Blues Fest, The Bite of Seattle, Sunbanks Blues Festival and many more. Rich and the band are seasoned festival performers who know how to entertain and engage crowds of all ages. Each year, Rich joins Lyle Lovett as a special guest when Lyle tours the NW. Rich also has played on Portland tour stops by his friends Lucinda Williams, Buckwheat Zydeco and Dale Watson.

Rich's Bio

The Back Story. Rich Layton began his serious musical education after college, playing harmonica with then-girlfriend Lucinda Williams in Austin, Texas. After honing their chops on street corners and dives, the two moved to Houston to join the seminal music scene at Anderson Fair. Rich became house harp player at the inner city club that was home to Townes Van Zandt, Nanci Griffith, Lightning Hopkins, Lyle Lovett and many others.

Breaking out of the folk circuit, Rich became a founding member of Houston’s premier rockin’ blues revue, Dr. Rockit & The Sisters of Mercy. He went on to play, record and tour with many Texas talents including Alan Haynes, the late Rocky Hill (brother of ZZ Top’s Dusty Hill) and Fort Worth sax maniac Johnny Reno. In 1985, the Lone Star State’s leading music magazine honored Rich as one of six Texas Harmonica Tornados, a list that included such luminaries as Kim Wilson and Delbert McClinton.

After 30 years in Texas, Rich moved to Portland and entered the vibrant NW music scene. In 2003, Rich Layton & The Troublemakers emerged with a high energy mix of original roots rock, honky-tonk and more to a growing local and regional audience. The band's mission – worldwide swampification, one local beer joint at a time – continues.

Songwriting Influences. Musical currents along the Texas Gulf Coast create a confluence of styles found nowhere else in the world, blending rock, blues, country, R&B, blue-eyed soul, Cajun, zydeco, Tejano and more. Growing up in Houston, Rich Layton learned to play them all while traveling a rough and tumble circuit of clubs, dance halls and roadhouses along Interstate 10. As a late-blooming songwriter, he populates this wide musical terrain with sharply drawn tales of good ti mes and bad choices, big dreams and bad timing. For the characters that inhabit his songs, hope may hang by a thread, but it’s never out of reach.

Recordings. In
2005, the band released its first album Chop Shop Pit Stop featuring a stark and intense version of Lucinda Williams’ “Still I Long for Your Kiss.”

The 2012 album Tough Town reached #24 on the worldwide FAR Chart (Freeform Americana Radio) and continues to garner radio airplay and podcast spins. The album was co-produced by Rich and LA-based Terry Wilson, an ex-Texan, A-list bass player, producer and long-time music director for Eric Burdon.The 12 originals songs are sharply drawn tales of good times and bad choices, big dreams and bad timing. For the characters who inhabit Rich's songs, hope may hang by a thread, but it’s never out of reach. The recording captures Rich and his band at the crossroads of twang and tremolo, weaving a swampadelic soundtrack for the heart of a Gulf Coast Saturday night. Your table waits under the broken Lone Star beer sign.

No Parole From Rock & Roll!!