The Clay Creek Deaf Cowboy Band

Band Bios


ImageRick Martz picked up is first guitar when he was 9 years old learning what his sister (Jenny) had learned in her school lessons.  His interest waned until he was in the sixth grade and met his Uncle Ray at a family reunion.  They played all weekend.  In 1972 (Rick was in 8th grade) Ray came to live with Rick’s family.  He continued teaching Rick and that’s when Rick knew he wanted to play and sing.  Uncle Ray was Rick’s biggest influence.  Another influence was Rick’s dad Frank, who made Rick practice guitar for an equal amount of time as he rode his mini-bike.

Rick’s musical style was shaped by listening to Waylon Jennings, George Strait, Johnny Cash and the Eagles.

His most treasured memory was June 26, 2004 when the band played at a “Welcome Home” ceremony for the troops coming home from Iraq.  He had two sons serving there at the same time.  Rick thinks the secret to holding a band together for over 30 years is “having fun”. 

ImageKirk (Sorney) Sorensen got his first bass guitar when he was 15.  He played by ear.  He bought his beloved ’63 Fender Precision for $100 from a fellow college student who needed cash.  He didn’t play much until he met Rick.  Between an old “How to play Bass Guitar” book and Rick, Sorn learned the basics.  KXRB and WNAX were musical influences while he was growing up.  Waylon Jennings made Sorney want to play in a band.  Johnny Cash, Creedence, Cream and Chicago were favorite artists.  Sorn admired local musicians Johnny Harnois and Arnie Mockler while growing up. “There have been too many to pick one out” says Sorn when asked about a career highlight or favorite event. 

ImageDawn Nelson was taken off the karaoke circuit and started with the band New Year’s Eve 1999.In addition to singing, rhythm guitar and adding harmonies, she handles the scheduling, promotion and bookkeeping duites. Her musical influences were listening to her mother singing in church and WNAX in the car anytime she was on the road with her dad.Highlights have been singing three songs with the house band at Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge in Nashville and performing before the Trick Pony concert.   

ImageTom Zoss has been drumming all his life.  “I used to beat all the neighborhood garbage cans with twigs and used to make complete drum sets out of pots, pans, Tinker Toys, and just about anything else that made noise” says Zoss.  Tom’s formal training started in 5th grade and continued through college.  He fine tuned his craft by watching “live concerts” on MTV and by borrowing the school drum set on weekends.During high school Tom and high school buddies formed the Prairie Wind Band.  He was called upon by the late Gary Knutson to be the original drummer of the Poker Alice Band.  Since then Tom has played/filled in for over 20 area bands playing anything from country to jazz to rock and blues.  Tom returned to the country roots by joining the Clay Creek Deaf Cowboy Band in 2002, but still plays blues and rock with other local musicians.Tom’s influences include Phil Collins, Chester Thompson and Def Leppard’s one-armed drummer Rick Allen.Highlights from Tom’s career include the Trick Pony show, opening for Foghat, Marshall Tucker Band and Johnny Johnson, and playing the Sioux City Blues Fest and the Sioux Falls Jazz Fest.          






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