Ned Sutton on stage at Music on the Mountain in Summerhaven on Mount Lemmon.


Chuck Maultsby, of Chuck Wagon and the Wheels fame, has put together an impressive lineup of musicians for this year's Music on the Mountain series. His own band, now affectionately known as "Chuck Wagon and the Wheelchairs," will be playing three more shows over the remaining 13 weeks of the season, and they will be joined by different guest musicians for each show.

Their guests this Saturday afternoon will be Ned Sutton & Last Dance.

Sutton, who will turn 65 tomorrow, grew up in rural Missouri where he started singing as a child in his local Methodist church. Years later he was one of five junior high boys selected to accompany the high school girls in a local singing competition. That weekend forever changed his life. He made his living in the mid 1970s and early '80s playing roots country and old-time rock 'n' roll, rockabilly and Americana music with his bands Fast Eddie and the Rodeo Kings and The Disco Ramblers.

After the release of his 1978 album "Drugstore Cowboy," Sutton put together the band for which he is most remembered, Ned Sutton and the Rabbits. The Rabbits were Sandy Staples on acoustic guitar and harmonies, Terry Oubre on electric guitar, Steve Grams on bass and Ralph Gilmore on drums. They performed frequently at Honkytonk Sue's in Phoenix as well as the Oxbow and the Depot in Tucson.

Aside from working with developmentally disabled children many moons ago, Sutton has primarily made his living through playing music. But his greatest joy in life has been his 40-year marriage to his wife Kathy, and he takes tremendous pride in his children, Cisco and Thelma Jean.

When I caught up with him for a phone interview, he was out trying to find horchata for his 93-year-old father, who had never tasted it.

Sutton has sat in with both Chuck Wagon and the Wheelchairs and the Crystal Ridge Bluegrass Band for a few songs during past seasons of Music on the Mountain, and his love of singing is always evident.

After Sutton suffered a heart attack in February 2011, he put together his current band, Last Dance. He considers every day to be a gift, and he began playing with a renewed passion for life, determined to deliver more heart, soul and appreciation for his audiences than ever before.

Joining Sutton Saturday will be Neil Harry on pedal steel, Dan Sorenson on bass, Aaron Emery on drums and Chris Davis, formerly of The Rowdies, on guitar. They will be paying tribute to American roots country and old-time roots rock 'n' roll.

Music on the Mountain is presented by Chuck "Wagon" Maultsby and sponsored by Mesquite Homes and the Sawmill Run Restaurant.

If you go

• What: Music on the Mountain featuring Chuck Wagon and the Wheels and Ned Sutton & Last Dance.

• When: 12:30-4:30 p.m. Saturday.

• Where: Under the big tent at 12901 N. Sabino Canyon Parkway in Summerhaven on Mount Lemmon.

• Admission: Free; bring a lawn chair.

• Food: No outside food or beverages are allowed, but they are available for purchase to help pay the musicians and other costs of producing Music on the Mountain.

• Info: Email

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