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Millheim, PA - Elk Creek Cafe + Aleworks

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What do they sound like? Think Led Zeppelin meets Mumford & Sons with 2 tons of drums. Sun King Warriors can be best described as a mix of American roots rock, with a strong dose of tribal style drumming.

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Jim Donovan brings almost three decades of experience to the Sun King Warriors.

As a member of the popular platinum selling recording Pittsburgh band Rusted Root, the drummer/percussionist helped shaped the group’s sound and toured with artists including Robert Plant and Jimmy Page, and the Allman Brothers. He co-authored the band’s biggest hit, “Send Me On My Way,” which has been played over 100 million times on Spotify and used as the wakeup music for NASA’s Mars rover.

Rusted Root was merely the first act in Donovan’s career. After leaving the band in 2004, he began to explore the therapeutic effects of drumming. Donovan found a new path placing drum circles programs nationally in organizations serving people with disabilities as well as people recovering from substance abuse.

But, Donovan missed the fellowship that is the byproduct of the group dynamic. In 2013, he started working with Sean McDonald, a Pittsburgh-based producer who has worked with artists including Wynton Marsalis and Patty Griffin. As Donovan honed the songs that would become the eponymous album, Sun King Warriors, he sought musicians who fit his vison and shared his spirit. Guitarist Kevin McDonald, multi-instrumentalist Dan Murphy, and bassist Kent Tonkin were added, as were three percussionists/drummers: Bryan Fazio, Joe Marini and Harry Pepper.

These veterans of Western Pennsylvania bands helped give Sun King Warriors national traction. The critically acclaimed debut record, released in 2016, made the Billboard Americana charts and earned airplay on radio stations in The US and Canada.