Holy Smoke Band

Rick HolmesRick Holmes

Rick formed HOLY SMOKE in 1997. He was a previous member of the band “Southern Word.” Rick sings most of the lead vocals and plays guitar and harmonica. His zeal for praising the LORD through music is endless and he has a passion for reaching the unchurched through music, praise and by living out a life dedicated to JESUS. Rick is the worship leader at the North Glen Church on Furnace Branch Rd. Glen Burnie, MD.






Tony StramellaTony Stramella

Tony was previously the founder and leader of the band “Alexander,” a Christian rock band that shared the stage with Rez Band, White Cross, Holy Soldier, King James, Margaret Becker and a host of others. Tony plays lead guitar and sings lead and backup vocals. He has an extensive musical background, thus allowing him to express his love of the LORD in many ways. That love is experienced by anyone who sees and hears him play. Tony’s energy and passionate love of CHRIST resonate from the strings of his guitar, to his performance and into the hearts of the audience. He is also a producer, engineer and owner of STRAMSOUND Studios, located in Hanover, MD.






Ron RafterRon Rafter

Ron is the newest member of Holy Smoke, but is by no means a stranger to the universal language of music. He first started as a concert musician playing trumpet and tuba and later expanding his horizon playing bass with local Annapolis groups, “ODYSSEY” and “JADE”. With these groups he played 30’s and 40’s standards, Dixieland, jazz, blues, 50’s rock & roll, 60’s & 70’s classic rock. Saved by Grace in 1981, God led him down a new music path into Christian Music. He played guitar and bass in various worship teams and over the years played with Christian rock groups such as “STRAIGHT-UP”, “CROSSWIND”, “BLUES REVIVAL” and “WHIRLWIND” a Motown gospel genre. “Loving GOD, loving wife, loving music and loving life”…it doesn’t get any better than this. PRAISE JESUS.




Mark BuckMark Buck

Mark is the percussion half of the rhythm section in HOLY SMOKE. Mark is an Annapolis, Md. native and had previously played drums for the local band “Out to Lunch.” The LORD touched Mark’s heart and led him to play in the Christian band “SONRISE.” This group toured the east coast for Campus Life Young Life. SONRISE planted many seeds. Mark says that he's pleased that GOD has called him to continue this work: “Playing in HOLY SMOKE has been a blessing! Being able to play and continue to plant seeds…GOD is good!” Mark also plays drums at Broadneck Evangelical Presbyterian.







Sterling Spell Special Message  from Holy Smoke

We would like to thank Sterling Spell for the past 4 years he has blessed us with his God given talents, gentle spirit and stage energy. He added so much to the group with his strat and the Gospel Message in the lyrics to his God inspired songs. 

Sterling, remember that our stage will always have a place for you. 

Thanks again

Holy Smoke- Rick, Tony, Mark, Ron and John D.

From Annapolis, Maryland, Sterling started performing with bands at the age of 13 in nightclubs and studios in the Washington Metropolitan area. He played in the 60s, 70s, and 80s. Retiring from music in 1985, with his last stop being a member of the John Hall Band (formerly known as Orleans, ie Still the One, Dance With Me). Sterling formed and fronted Northbound from 2001-2010, one of the best local Christian bands around.

He found God in 1979 through 12 Step Recovery Groups dealing with chemical dependence and has been clean and sober ever since. He developed a personal relationship with Jesus Christ in the winter of 1999 through his involvement at Cedar Ridge Community Church in Spencerville, Maryland. He was led there after reading the book "The Sermon on the Mount".

With the encouragement of his wife, Janie, others at Cedar Ridge and in his recovery programs, he decided to let the music flow. His journey through music from nightclubs to the gutter, to the Father, to the Son, can shine some light and provide some hope for others in their search for God's peace and love, unconditionally. Sterling says, "If it's dawnin' on me, it's never too late, it can dawn on you!"