Salute the sound: Where veterans rock, and dreams take flight

Mike Ponder


Mike Ponder was born in Hot Springs, North Carolina. Mike first began playing the drums when he 6 years old. Soon he was touring with the family band, J. L.and the Country Squires, on weekends and after school, playing churches, festivals, and doing opening shows for the likes of little Jimmie Dickens, The Kendalls, Kitty Wells, and Archie Campbell.

As the years progressed, Mike joined the military at 18, serving in the United States Marine Corps and then joining the United States Navy serving as a Corpsman until retirement in 2009. Mike continued his music while enlisted and started the band, “Steel Rail Express,” in 2001 in Beaufort, South Carolina. Steel Rail Express entertains people with Classic Country, Top 40 Country, Beach and Funk, and Motown.

Mike and Steel Rail Express began to play the Beaufort Water Festival in June 2006 and continues to support and entertain the Beaufort Water Festival on local nights. Mike resides in Lady's Island, South Carolina with his partner Tanya, and his son, Jeremiah. Mike is also the CEO and owner of SREJAMS.COM.

Mike is an Alumni member of Zac Brown's Camp Southern Ground, where he completed the Warrior Week program and has volunteered to help veterans. Mike gives back to the military community by coordinating and leading active-duty local Marines and military family members every week in music lessons and jam sessions. Mike’s motto is, " Do good, feel good, repeat."


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