Reid Masson - Lead Vocals, Bass Guitar, Acoustic Guitar
A latecomer to music, Reid started playing only in 2011, first learning mandolin and then switching full time to bass in 2012. He started singing for fun after joining up with Gilles Lemieux to form an acoustic duo and carried that into the formation of 50 PROOF. The group had no singer, so Reid volunteered to sing until someone better came along. After a few rehearsals with Reid on lead vocals he asked if they had found a singer yet and the reply was "Yes we have... you."
Reid loves all kinds of music, from Classic Rock to Celtic to Classical. His musical influences include Steve Earle, Blue Rodeo, REM, Thin Lizzy, Bob Dylan, Tom Petty and many others. Reid also loves bass guitars and has developed a small collection of both electric and acoustic instruments.
Reid's favourite thing about 50 PROOF is being able to give something back to the community by playing at charity events and fundraisers and all of the wonderful people he has met through the band.
Dr. Shawn Hayley - Lead Guitar
50 PROOF's Guitar Doctor Shawn Hayley is a Research Scientist and Professor at Carleton University by day and a rock guitarist by night (and most Saturday mornings).
Shawn started playing guitar and jamming in rock bands in the late 1980s before taking an extended hiatus to earn Bachelor’s and PhD degrees in Neuroscience. He and Reid were lucky enough to team up a few years ago in another Classic Rock band and the two are together again in 50 PROOF. these days Shawn enjoys splitting his time between his scientific research and love of music.
Shawn has a large number of influences, ranging from the classic rock of Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and Eric Clapton to the blues of Joe Bonamassa and Mike Bloomfield to the jazz of Miles Davis and acoustic work of Tom Petty and Johnny Cash. He also has a hidden nostalgic love of '80s heavy metal and pop.
Playing in 50 PROOF allows Shawn to explore many facets of his guitar influences and hang out with the greatest bunch of guys around. Also, he loves performing for those who love music.
Thaila Riden - Drums, Cajon, Djembe,Vocals
Simply put, Thaila loves to play drums. In addition to running The Grand Barn Bed & Breakfast in Vankleek Hill, Thaila plays music whenever he can. Lots and lots of music. And not just on drums... Thaila can play guitar, bass, mandolin... you name it.
But it is on the drums that Thaila shines. Receiving his first drum kit - a Remo Junior Pro - at the tender age of six, Thaila honed his senses by first learning to drum along to his father's progressive guitar style. While so many musicians are busy hearing themselves, Thaila's active listening and care for dynamics is a refreshing change of pace.
Always ready to release his inner groove, Thaila is right at home with 50 PROOF, channeling Bonham, Moon and Mitchell as he lays down the beat for the band's Classic Rock songs. In additon to a full drum kit, Thaila also plays the Cajon and Djembe when 50 PROOF goes acoustic. His versatility on all types of percussion instruments has allowed the band the opportunity to explore a wide catalogue of music.
Gilles Lemieux - Guitar, Harmonica, Vocals
50 PROOF's resident snowbird heads south every December and then returns in the Spring to add his acoustic guitar and harmonica to the band's sounds of summer. Growing up left-handed with two right-handed brothers, Gilles learned to play guitar upside-down and backwards so as not to have to change strings all the time. Returning to music a few years ago, he decided to start all over again and learn to play left-handed.
Gilles is one of the most dedicated players one could ever meet, practicing for hours almost daily on both guitar and harmonica. He absolutely loves to play. Gilles loves the fact that 50 PROOF is now also playing as an acoustic group, as it allows him to explore both facets. For Gilles, playing with 50 PROOF is a dream realized and one notch off of his bucket list. He cites his ace-guitarist brother Mike as his biggest influence.
Martin Lacelle - Guitar, Vocals
Filling the void left by Gilles when he leaves for milder climates during the winter, tourism management and marketing expert and consultant Martin Lacelle brings his own styles to the art of backing vocals and rhythm guitars. His musical influences vary widely, from Tool to Edith Piaf and criss-crossed through folk, jazz, soul/R&B and pop of the past 60 years. Martin has been playing off and on since he was 18 years old, when he picked up his dad's guitar to strum along with Nirvana's "Come as You Are" or Metallica's "Nothing Else Matters" (fyi, the 2 easiest picking intros you can find out there...).
Although he has decades of experience on guitar, Martin has been playing solo to crowds only since 2015, deconstructing tunes to their simplest to be able to play alone. You can often see him playing at the Vankleek Hill Farmers Market or other small events across the region. However his stint with 50 Proof has brought forward another element that Martin has grown fond of when playing...the art of band dynamics and just having fun making music with friends!