Dad, Daughter, Son-in-law, Rhythm Section: Meet Ruff House | Southern hill life

By Harry Funk

A night out for Lacey Thurner and husband Matt usually means her dad joins them.

Paul Kazior joins them on stage, of course.

Dad and the six-year-old couple make up three-fifths of Ruff House, a band that wows audiences with an eclectic mix of material, instrumental versatility and Lacey’s undeniable stage presence as a vocalist.

“She’s arrived,” Paul said of joining the band, “and she’s everything now.”

Well, she does a dynamic job as the lead vocalist, and she’s definitely photogenic. But let’s not forget the guys who play instruments: Matt on Gibson guitar, Dave Balzama on bass, Rob Capozzolo on drums and Paul mixing with his Fender guitars, harmonica and tenor saxophone.

Originally from Castle Shannon and a graduate of Keystone Oaks High School, Paul played in various bands for a few decades – a bass player passing through South Side Gordy was often a fellow member – which were primarily based in the blues.

“Stevie Ray Vaughan got me hooked,” he recalled, along with local guitar heroes including Glenn Pavone and Warren King, both of whom have since passed away.

Of course, her daughter grew up listening to music, which inspired her to sing quite a bit. Lacey remembers Paul telling her:

“You know, you have a really good voice. Maybe we should add you to the group.

She was 13 when she accepted the offer.

“We threw a friend’s sister’s 40th birthday party, and she sang a few songs with us. People really liked it, so I started taking it with me,” Paul recalls. “She would sing the first two sets and then she would leave before it was too late.”

Dave joined the band a few years later, initially playing rhythm guitar before switching to bass. The Cecil Township resident also takes lead vocals on certain numbers — “Roadhouse Blues” by the Doors, for example — to spell out Lacey.

Rob came on board in 2019 as the personification of the mighty percussionist, providing a steady beat to every genre Ruff House is tackling right now, from blues and classic rock to alternative and country, or maybe to be pop with a rock ‘n’ roll bent. .

As for Matt, he grew up near the Kaziors near Finleyville, graduating from Ringgold High School with Lacey.

“He was always into music, always played guitar and was really talented,” she said.

In high school, he honed his skills by performing in the jazz band, as well as in various bands with his buddies.

“I kind of put it aside for a little while. Then I started hanging out with Lacey again after high school and went to see her play in a band with her dad,” Matt recalled. “After we got married, I was like, ‘I can play guitar. Let’s see what happens.’ So I jumped in, practiced with them a bit, and the rest is history.

That goes for the wedding as well as the music of the former residents of Bethel Park, who now live in North Fayette.

“We talked about how busy we are on the weekends, and if it was just one or the other who was that busy with the band, the other would get upset about it,” Matt said. “But because we’re doing it together, it’s a lot of fun.”

With Ruff House members spanning two generations – Rob and Dave sit between Paul and the Thurners – the band’s repertoire draws on all sorts of influences.

“Pride and Joy” by Vaughan or “Mary Had a Little Lamb”, the latter by Buddy Guy, could be interspersed with songs by Elle King, Alanis Morisette, Miranda Lambert. Lacey pays a stellar homage to Janis Joplin with “Piece of My Heart” and “Me and Bobby McGee,” and also nails vocals typically associated with men on tracks like Kaleo’s “No Good” and the band’s “Gold On the Ceiling.” BlackKeys. ”

For the Ruff House cover of Led Zeppelin’s “Bring It On Home,” Dave and Lacey alternate lead vocals while Paul doubles on harmonica for the intro and outro, and scorching guitar with Matt during the midsection. hard rock.

And for audience members who love to dance, the band has plenty of gear to get people moving to the music.

Regardless of genre, Lacey dances with them, at least when she’s holding a mic.

“I do financial planning and advice for a living. It’s my day job,” the University of Pittsburgh graduate said. “People always laugh at me. They’re like, which one is the real you? Finance or band? It’s such a weird transition.

But it works.

Just ask her dad, husband, bassist, drummer, and anyone who enjoys an afternoon or evening of top notch entertainment thanks to Ruff House.

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