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The Cousin Cricket Story


click here to read about the History of Cousin Cricket
click here to see the current Band lineup

Northern California's premier Western Swing band has been delighting audiences throughout the west for over thirty years. With their own take on classic country, swing and rockabilly they continue to deliver top notch entertainment for discerning audiences.

Original members, Ken Miele { guitar & lead vocals} and Doug Cohen {bass}, have assembled a star-studded group of musicians. Included in the latest ensemble are Grace Fae {vocals}, Craig Palmer {piano & vocals }, Paul Kraushaar {drums}.

Special guest plaers include: Ronnie Elkan {fiddle}, Bob Woods {guitar&vocals}, Pete Grant {pedal steel guitar, lap steel & banjo}.

The band is also produced by Paul Kraushaar of Para-Sight Records in Nevada City.

If the musical styles of Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys, Willie Nelson, Asleep At The Wheel, Merle Haggard, Hank Williams, Elvis, Carl Perkins, Patsy Cline and George Jones are in your blood you are sure to love our interpretations of their songs. Cousin Cricket's original music reflects the band's roots in western music and the rural California lifestyle.

The band's latest release, 'Ridin' The Rails To Reno', is fast becoming a classic. With original songs about gold miners, full moon boogies, star-crossed lovers and pick-up trucks, from steamy ballads to full ahead western swing and (even a polka), listeners are hard-pressed to keep their toes from tappin'.

While you are here, check out their video of the title cut, Produced by the Emmy award winning Flexitoon Puppets Ltd. of New York City. The video was recently awarded with Official Selection, World Puppetry Festival in Prague during 2009.

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In The Beginning

Original members Ken Miele and Doug Cohen moved from New York to California in 1971, traveling cross country in two vans full of musical and puppet theater equipment. They appeared in colleges and nightclubs performing psychedelic puppet shows followed by a musical dance concert.

Early successes in California included a guest invitation to perform at the National Puppetry Convention. The invitation came from Mike Oznewitz, father of Muppet Master Frank Oz. A one hour Christmas special written and performed by the duo was aired on the CBS affiliate KPIX in San Francisco which resulted in The highlight of this airing...an invitation to perform at Jerry Garcia's birthday party in Marin County.

In 1973 Ken and Doug moved to Nevada County and officially named the band Cousin Cricket. The puppeteers split up with two members retuning to New York City and who continue to pursue music and puppetry to this day.

Cousin Cricket circa 1973
click here for a full size photo

Ken Miele rejoined former partner Craig Marin in New York and over the last 15 years has appeared with the Flexitoon Puppets on TV series spanning several networks, including Fox Kids, Nickelodeon, Showtime, Plum TV and the Emmy Award Winning 'Shining Time Station' on PBS. The show centered around the adventures of Thomas the Tank Engine and starred Ringo Starr and George Carlin.

The Flexitoons have received numerous awards including the prestigious "Puppeteers of the Year" at Lincoln Center in New York City. Their work has been the subject of many gallery and museum retrospectives. Last year they were chosen to represent the U.S. at the International Puppetry Festival in Taiwan. This year they will be serving in the same capacity in Romania.

A fortuitous convergence of puppetry and music has led to the creation of the original DVD "Ridin' the Rails to Reno". The song, written by Ken Miele and Paul Kraushaar has been interpreted by the Flexitoon Troup. Painstaking care was put into the video along with 'green screen' technology that enables the puppet world to intermix with human actors.


click here to see the current Band lineup

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