Jim Donovan brings almost three decades of experience to the Sun King Warriors. As a member of the popular Pittsburgh band Rusted Root, the drummer/percussionist helped shaped the group’s sound and toured with artists including Robert Plant and Jimmy Page, and the Allman Brothers. He co-authored the band’s biggest hit, “Send Me on My Way,” which has been played 100 million times on Spotify and used as the wakeup music for NASA’s Mars rover.
Rusted Root was merely the first act in Donovan’s career. After leaving the band in 2004, he began to explore the therapeutic effects of drumming. Donovan found a new path placing hand drumming programs nationally in organizations serving people with disabilities as well as people recovering from substance abuse.
But Donovan missed the fellowship that is the byproduct of the group dynamic. In 2013 he started working with Sean McDonald, a Pittsburgh-based producer who has worked with artists including Wynton Marsalis and Patty Griffin. As Donovan honed the songs that would become the eponymous album Sun King Warriors, he sought musicians who fit his vison and shared his spirit.
Guitarist Kevin McDonald, multi-instrumentalist Dan Murphy, and bassist Kent Tonkin were added, as were three percussionists/drummers: Bryan Fazio, Joe Marini and Harry Pepper.