Joe McNichols, a Naples, Florida native, started playing guitar in the 1980s just for fun. He has played with friends in several bands in the South Florida area. In 2008 he was talked into starting a bluegrass jam class. The goal wasn’t to teach people to play, but to encourage folks to get together and play with others. His motto is: the best way to learn is to just jump in and play. He encouraged so many. Many people have met other musicians and have formed groups after attending his class. In 2010 Joe asked what is now the Bottom Feeders to form a group to play for friends and parties. The rest is history. Joe is also a great fishing guide and guides around the South Florida area. Whether on the water or in a jam session, he is encouraging and friendly to all.
Pat Morrison hails from Louisville, Kentucky. He met Sharon in college and they moved to Florida in the 1960s, where he became the first art teacher at Naples High School and stayed for 35 years. Pat has always been involved with music, playing in jazz & rock & roll bands when he was still in high school. He always loved playing to an audience. He has played trumpet, piano, ukelele, and now bass. He started in bluegrass playing a washtub bass when his brother, Russ Morrison, formed a group called Beargrass Bluegrass with Sharon and some friends. As the band improved and became well-known, Pat upgraded to the upright bass and became one of the better bass players in the Southwest Florida bluegrass scene. We’re proud to have him here on the Bottom!
Sharon Morrison is originally from Louisville, Kentucky but has lived in Southwest Florida since 1968. She says it’s hard to tell which is really home now. She was first introduced to bluegrass music in the 70s when her brother-in-law, Russ Morrison, and husband, Pat, began playing in a band called Beargrass Bluegrass. At that time she sang harmony and rhythm mandolin. She then focused on her career as an art teacher, and took a 20-year absence from bluegrass. Upon retirement, she renewed her interest in bluegrass music and has grown to sing lead vocals and play mandolin with the Bottom Feeders. “I will never be as skilled as those that were born and raised playing bluegrass, but no one could have more fun than I have had with this music. The folks who listen are so great and enthusiastic, they become like family. The music and the people just get inside your heart. I sing these songs and tap my foot everywhere I go.”
Larry Wicker comes from Eastern Kentucky but has been a Florida resident since around 1980. He started playing bluegrass in the 70s jamming with friends. After a brief hiatus, he started playing banjo again when he and the Morrisons joined Captain Joe’s bluegrass jam class. Larry’s banjo skills and traditional vocal sound are a big part of what keeps things tasty down here on the bottom .
Angela Girdley joined the Bottom Feeders in 2017. She also hails from Kentucky where she still spends some months each summer. Her hard driving fiddle adds greatly to the band. Angela still works part time as a college professor.
Angela began her fiddle journey at age ten when her grandmother taught her Turkey in the Straw. She took both classical and fiddle lessons, playing in orchestras and country and bluegrass bands. Now she is a college professor-fiddles when she can and works when she should. She’s originally from Kentucky but lives in Naples now-been swimming with these bottom feeders for 2 years.