Bio

The Beagles

The Beagles' original sound blends harmony hooks and sultry seductions in a power pop package featuring catchy tunes, infectious instrumental riffs and high live performance energy. On their debut CD, Bed of Roses, they also show their range with a few jazz and country inflected tunes.

The Beagles formed in 2013 as a duo pairing guitarist Rob Freeman's original songs with Steve Wolpert's sax leads and harmony vocals. They soon expanded to a quintet with the addition of Vanessa Rose (vocals), Chris Clark (bass) and David Ross (drums). With these pieces in place, Rob finally had the sound he had been looking for since he was a teen, and started work with producer Lon Van Eaton (a former Apple Records artist who regularly collaborated with George Harrison and Ringo Starr) capturing this blend to release on CD.

In live performance, The Beagles also present unique arrangements of rock, soul and country covers, jazz standards, and folk classics, enabling them to entertain diverse audiences at events ranging from outdoor electric concerts to wedding cocktail hours, mellow winery shows, and family oriented acoustic events. They tailor their lineup to suit the needs of events, appearing as anything from a duo to a sextet and enlisting a variety of personnel as needed. Several singers who work with the band have bios below.

In 2017-18, The Beagles have greatly expanded their repertoire as the house band for an ongoing series of collaborations with Princeton cultural institutions McCarter Theatre Center; Morven Museum & Garden; Princeton Public Library; paying tribute to 20th Century musical icons at events such as:

  • Bruce Springsteen: A Musical Journey (May 2017);
  • Before There Was Janis - Songs of Janis Joplin and the Artists who Inspired Her – Bessie Smith, Odetta, Etta James, Nina Simone and Aretha Franklin (October 2017);
  • A Tribute to the Million Dollar Quartet – songs played by Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins (March and June 2018); and
  • An Historical Celebration of Motown (coming September 30, 2018).

Rob Freeman

Rob Freeman fell in love with music when he saw the Yellow Submarine film at age 3, and had set himself a goal by age 5 of “becoming a Beatle.” He missed by one letter, but has nonetheless been writing and recording music (over 100 songs) and leading bands such as Not the Catfish and Botticelli’s Niece since he was a teen. Rob’s first commercial release was a reinvention of “Just One Victory” for Still There Is More . . . A Tribute To Todd Rundgren, Part II” on Third Lock Records. In 2017, Rob had the special thrills of performing at The Cavern Club in Liverpool and recording with Apple Records artist and Beatles collaborator Lon Van Eaton – who produced 17 of the 19 tracks on The Beagles’ debut CD, Bed of Roses. Rob has been a leader of the Einstein Alley Musicians Collaborative (EAMC) since 2014 and, in this role, has worked closely with Princeton cultural institutions including the McCarter Theatre Center and Morven Museum & Garden as Producer and Musical Director of an ongoing series featuring The Beagles and their friends paying tribute to 20th Century musical icons such as Bruce Springsteen; Janis Joplin; the “Million Dollar Quartet” and Motown Records. Rob is grateful to all of The Beagles and our collaborators for putting so much talent, effort and care into making his music sound better than it ever has before on our debut CD. You make him so “Happy Happy.”

Vanessa Rose

Vanessa Rose is a classically trained vocalist who performs many genres of music. Her specialties include Jazz, Big Band, Blues and Classic Country music. Over the past several years, she has enjoyed working and performing with some very talented musicians and vocalists. Vanessa has collaborated with The Beagles on a wide range of musical projects, including their series of productions with EAMC and the McCarter Theatre Center, paying tribute to 20th century musical icons. In that series, Vanessa had the opportunity to sing material by such artists as Nina Simone, Wanda Jackson, and Johnny Cash - just to name a few, and will be part of their upcoming Motown tribute. Vanessa was delighted to make vocal and lyrical contributions to The Beagles Bed of Roses CD and would like to wish everyone who worked with her on these projects all the best in their future musical endeavors.  

Steve Wolpert

Steve Wolpert “It’s all John McKee’s fault!” Steve was happy as a music fan (he first picked up the sax about a decade ago) until John “made” him perform and set him on a collision course with The Beagles. Steve’s son Jacob gets a share of the blame too. He planned “Wolpstock” in Summer 2013 and recruited Steve and his friend Rob to form a sax/ guitar/ vocals duo (the first incarnation of The Beagles) to play original material at the show. Next thing they grew a band. Sorry Mom. Thanks John!  

Chris Clark

Christopher M. Clark has contributed to recordings as electric and upright bassist for local Mercer County, New Jersey artists Off the Map, the Alex Otey Trio, and most recently with The Beagles on their 2018 release Bed of Roses. In 2010, he appeared as bassist on the Grammy-nominated release Fitness Rock & Roll by Miss Amy, performing at Fort MacArthur in San Pedro, California, and at the Easter Egg Roll at the White House and the Corcoran Gallery, both in Washington, D.C. in support of the album. Chris is also a classically trained double bassist who has taught privately at The College of New Jersey, Arcadia University, Rider University, the Lawrenceville School, and the University of North Texas.  

David Ross

David Ross has been playing drums and percussion pretty much exclusively with singer-songwriter projects for the past several years, including some dates on one of Sarah McLachlan's Lilith Fair tours. In the recent past, he has also become very happily involved in the Princeton area's local music scene, sometimes playing with The Beagles. He's an original member of Frances Catherine and Union County and Helen O'Shea's Shanakee Project. He's also performing with Tuomo-Kohrs, a project based in Massachusetts' Berkshires. You can find tracks from other records he's played on at https://davidrossonline.com.

Ynes Simone

Ynes Simone got her start singing in college as the lead singer for campus-based bands Jellymouth and the Buffalo Wings and Filthy Penny, Jr. She loves blues, rock, R&B, and old standards. After several years where her singing was limited to embarrassing her kids on long car trips, she recently reconnected with college classmate Rob and is pleased to have joined The Beagles in time to contribute vocals to their debut CD Bed of Roses and perform with the band.

Olive Joseph

Olive Joseph hails from 5th Avenue in Harlem, NYC, and earned a degree in Music Performance. Having started taking piano lessons from the age of 3, she did her first professional show at the age of four at the Canaan Baptist Church in Harlem, rendering The Spinning Song, Op. 14, No. 4 (A. Ellmenreich, composer) on piano. It had been music ever since. Olive has served as the Music Director to the Princeton H. S. Inspirational Choir, as a background and lead singer for Arlene Smith and the Shantels, traveled on three tours to Brazil with Grammy winner Billy Paul (“Me and Mrs. Jones”) and Les Paul Roque. She was twice a guest jazz artist on a contemporary Jazz tour of the U.K., toured with and still currently appears with Grammy Nominee Jason "Malletman" Taylor, and is a lead vocalist on Skip Scarborough’s (That’s the Way of the World)/Les Paul Roque's recording, “The Essence of Mother.” From 2015 to the present, Olive has been a guest vocalist with The Beagles including at their tributes to Bruce Springsteen, Janis Joplin, the Million Dollar Quartet and the history of Motown--all part of EAMC, sponsored by partnerships with the McCarter Theatre Center and the Princeton Public Library. Olive can’t help but to do what she knows, and will always be “Painting by Voice.” Hanging with The Beagles is always a blast!