Country rockers McGuffey Lane, performing Saturday in Troy, sustained by hardcore fan base



The mainstream success of country rock contemporaries 38 Special and Marshall Tucker Band eluded McGuffey Lane. However, the Columbus-based outfit, performing at Arbogast Performing Arts Center in Troy on Saturday, May 6, forged a deep connection with its hardcore regional fan base that sustains five decades later.

McGuffey Lane formed in 1972 and built a solid regional following before making a national splash in 1980 with its self-titled debut. The group released several albums for Atco Records and one for Atlantic Records before breaking up in 1990. McGuffey Lane reformed six years later but stopped touring nationally, preferring to maintain a presence in Ohio.

Today, the group is still anchored by longtime leader John Schwab (lead vocals, lead guitar) and founding members Terry Efaw (electric guitar, steel guitar) and Steve Reis (vocals, bass). The band is rounded out by longtime members Molly Pauken (mandolin, acoustic guitar, vocals) Kevin Reed (harmonica, vocals) and Randy Huff (drums, vocals).

Although McGuffey Lane remains rooted in Ohio, there are exceptions to that rule like participating in the annual the Decades of Rock & Roll Cruise. The group just wrapped a 2023 outing alongside Phil Dirt & the Dozers, the Steve Probst Band and the Hadden Sayers Band. These performers are already onboard for the next nine-day, eight-night cruise in March 2024.

Schwab recently reflected on the group in advance of their Saturday appearance.

Q: How long have you been doing these cruises?

A: We’ve been doing this Decades of Rock & Roll Cruise for about 10 years. I turned it down two years in a row because I just didn’t think I’d like a cruise, but I’ve grown to like it. This was the first one we’ve done since COVID. The last time we got off the boat before this was March 14, 2020. We were close because the lockdown started on March 16. We hadn’t done one since then but it’s a lot of fun.



Q: What keeps you playing this music after all this time?

A: Well, the three original members that are still alive are still in the band. The other people have been with us for 25 years-plus so it’s a great group of people. We all still enjoy what we do. I can honestly say I enjoy what I’m doing now more than I ever did. Some people go, ‘How can you still be playing the songs you wrote 40 years ago?’ I still love playing every song we play in our setlist. I didn’t really expect to still be singing and playing music at this age so I’m just happy people want to hear us. I’m amazed we’re still getting younger people. It’s not a big percentage but people in their 20s and 30s are coming out and that’s encouraging. Don’t get me wrong, we love those longtime fans, too. The reason we can still do this is because of the people that keep coming to see us.

Check out “I Am Who I Am” by McGuffey Lane:

Q: What does the summer look like for McGuffey Lane?

A: We’ll be busy enough. The band broke up in the 1990 and when I brought it back in ‘96, I didn’t want to get into a tour bus and hit the road. I wanted to keep it pretty much Ohio-based. We do that except we do the cruise and we’ve also been asked to play in Europe a few times. My goal was to get maybe 20 gigs a year and not burn it out in Ohio, but we’ve been doing about 40 to 45.

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Q: What else do you have going on?

A: Well, Molly and I do a little acoustic duo thing. She has been playing with us 32 years and we do some patios and stuff in the summer together and that’s a lot of fun. I also play with other people. I have a gig on Tuesdays on the patio at Gatsby’s in Gahanna and it’s always jammed. I have a different musical guest every week and we just wing it. It’s a lot of fun. It’s really laidback and all the people that come are there to hear us. It’s still playing a patio but it’s kind of a concert setting with the way the crowd listens.

Contact this contributing writer at 937-287-6139 or


Who: McGuffey Lane

Where: Arbogast Performing Arts Center, 500 S. Dorset Road, Troy

When: Saturday, May 6 at 7:30 p.m.

Cost: $20-$40

More info: 937-418-8392 or

Artist info:

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