Dixie Peach was formed and began playing in the mid-70’s. The band included Ira Stanley (lead and slide guitar), Mike Rousculp (bass), Steve Williams (keyboards), Tony Paulus (keyboards & guitar), and Jerry Barnhart (drums). Beginning in 1973, Dixie Peach started touring full time and played gigs from Buffalo, New York to Tampa, Florida. The band released its first album in 1974. The band was very popular and was quite successful. Dixie Peach was an opening act for many national bands; these bands included Joe Walsh, Roy Buchanan, Spirit, New York Dolls, Billy Cobham, Blue Oyster Cult, and several others.
When the stress of travelling all the time led to the band to discontinue playing together, members of the band scattered. Some went on to college. Others began careers in business or education. Even though music was no longer their primary career, each member continued to perform for many years on a part time basis.
With a large local following, many friends of the band expressed a desire to see “one more” Dixie Peach show. In 1998, the band reformed with all the original members (except Steve Benson had replaced Jerry on drums) to play one last final appearance. The show was a complete sellout. As a result, the band began playing gigs again.
Activity for the band increased when, in 2002, Ira won “best guitarist” at the Fortune battle of the corporate bands held at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland. Gibson guitars was a sponsor of the event and began to use Dixie Peach as a house band for its musical functions. At these functions, the band has backed up several national performers and Gibson endorsees including Dickey Betts, Lee Roy Parnell, Johnny A, Jeff Carlisi (.38 Special), Kenny Olson (Kid Rock), and Carl Weathersby. The band has also opened for Johnny Winter, Cheap Trick, Tesla, and others.
In 2014, Dixie Peach released a new CD with all new original material. The CD is titled “Blues With Friends” and includes guest appearances by several friends including grammy nominated Lee Roy Parnell, Jack Pearson (formerly with the Allman Brothers Band), and Etta Britt on vocals. Many other personal friends were kind enough to add to the recording. “Blues With Friends” ended 2014 at #12 on the Blues Rock album charts. It has received airplay worldwide as well as across the country.