While pursuing a goal, a person may find himself in a new location. An article in Guitar Player about the Old Town School of Folk Music inspired Ric Harris to leave North Carolina and make his way to Chicago. After attending the Music Institute, Ric formed his own jazz group and appeared in the Chicago area until 1991. Ric returned to the music scene with a vision inspired by Gary Moore, Dickey Betts, and Tommy Castro.
The jam sessions around Chicago helped Ric to redevelop his playing, finding the work of new artists, such as Mark May, Matt Schofield, and Coco Montoya, more compelling. Ric considered the blues as something defined by more than improvisation. Inspired by the works of the Allman Brothers Band, Ric views the solo as a part of the song, not the focus of it.
As a solo artist, Ric released his first CD, Open For Business, in January of 2019. Building on that production, Ric Harris and The Heat Merchants was started in 2021. Enjoy what you hear and let Ric know what you think.
Greg Sarwa began playing the bass guitar in the seventh grade while in a small town in southern Poland. Raised and educated in a communist country, Greg gained a better perspective of life while making music, providing him at least the illusion of an escape.
While playing in local bands that were influenced by a wide range of styles, Greg slowly developed a love for the blues that fully matured when he immigrated to the United States. Pursuing a dream of playing the blues on the holy grounds of its origin, he joined The Heat Merchants.
Philip Soosloff began playing the drums in high school, and the lure of rack and roll led to his time in the band, "Chance", while at Maine South in Park Ridge, Illinois. In the 1990s, while living in Chicago, Philip was a member of "The Caulfields", a band that played at local places such as The Beat Kitchen, The Far Side, and The Cubby Bear. Philip spent time with with various cover bands in addition to pro bono work at several churches.
Philip is a Professor of Art at Rockford University and has enjoyed a career displaying his sculpture, many of which depict music related themes. Philip lives near Elgin with his wife, Laura, and their dog, Lucy.