We are thrilled to offer an authentic “cowboy music” experience at the 5th Annual Tree to Table/Dinner in the Groves. Lon and Billy have both been interictal members of the local “Son’s of the San Joaquin”, and have long histories with Western music and our local community. The two recently joined forces to continue the long tradition of western music and will be joining us on Friday, May 5th, to entertain guests at the Farmer Bob’s World Fundraiser.

Lon Hannah was born on the opening day of the 1956 baseball season. This relevant because Lon’s dad, Joe, was the starting catcher on the Los Angeles Angel’s, playing opening day in San Diego against the Padres. Consequently,  on April 10, 1956, Lon’s Dad was unable to be at the hospital in Pasadena for the birth of his firstborn.

Lon grew up in Central California in and around Visalia. This is an area of the San Joaquin Valley covered in agriculture and cattle raising. Joe and Lon’s Uncle Jack sang lots of ‘Sons of the Pioneers’ songs with their dad, during their child hood. As a result, little Lonnie heard these songs at family events and birthdays for 20 years. Finally, while studying music at Fresno State University, Lon convinced Dad and Jack to sing a couple of old “Pioneer” songs. Lon thought their blend was glorious,  and the seed was planted that led to ‘Sons of the San Joaquin’.

Lon sang with Uncle Jack and Dad, Joe for 30 years, earning many awards from the Western Music Association, and the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum and Cowboy Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City. They recorded 13 Albums and sang on several albums of other Western and Country artists,  including Michael Martin Murphey and Suzi Boggus. Over the last several years Lon has filmed three Western Feature Films. All independent, and all filmed with local cast and crew from the Fresno area.

Lon’s latest project is musical. Teaming up with Billy Thornbury has been a “full circle” kind of experience. Billy shared tenor and guitar talents on the road with the “Sons”, alternating gigs with Lon for 6 years.

Billy Thornbury was born in Visalia, CA, but the family moved to Kingsburg when Billy was very young. After attending Reedley College, he moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in the music business.  Upon singing background vocals at CBS Television City for the I Believe In Miracles broadcast, he was approached by Hollywood talent agent, Dorothy Day- Otis, then landed numerous national television commercials including Chrysler, Sprite, Honda Motorcycles and many more.

He was cast in ABC’s Movie of the Week “Portrait of a Teenage Alcoholic, starring Linda Blair. Other film and tv credits include The Rockford Files, nighttime soap “Secrets of Midland Heights,” and the starring role in the cult hit Phantasm.

Billy was runner-up in ABC’s “In Search for the Singing Cowboy” giving him the opportunity to pursuer his first love, singing, playing guitar, and writing songs.  He signed a music publishing deal with Twentieth Century Fox as a staff songwriter and later signed with the MTM Music Group label in Nashville.

The birth of Billy’s son, Ben, changed the course that his career would take. He and wife, Sharon, with their baby boy, moved to Fresno. He went back to finish college and graduated with honors, a degree, and teaching credentials in music education from Fresno State. Billy went on to teach music for 26 years.  In 2000, he was approached by western music’s popular “Sons of the San Joaquin” members and asked to join their group. He enthusiastically accepted their offer! Currently, Billy is retired from teaching but happy to be performing with Lonnie Joe Hannah and carrying on the tradition of quality western music.

Join us at the Tree to Table dinner and hear this amazing duo live.