Bob Hiltunen comes from the small town of Dollar Bay, MI where he attended Dollar Bay High School and played percussion in the school pep band and concert band. It was his music teacher, Paula McKaig, (also a local rock musician) that helped nurture his passion for music. Bob has always aspired to play any and every instrument that he can get his hands on, and began playing piano with his mother at a very young age, but it was at the age of 17 that he purchased his first guitar and that instrument became his true musical passion.
As with many young guitar players of his age, he discovered the music of Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughn and was cast forth into the world of improvised electric blues, and quickly began researching the songs of the old blues masters. He joined the Breakers Blues Band in 2002 and began his professional gigging career. At the same time he formed an acoustic guitar duo with friend Dave Brotherton, and later they would form a larger band known as the Dave Brotherton Band. After the break up of the Breakers Blues Band, Bob joined forces with Breakers drummer Ray Francis (now of Permanent Crush) and bassist Mark Olson and formed a blues/reggae group known as Variance.
After the Variance stint, Bob was now completely supporting himself with music and teaching music lessons at the local music store. In this era he joined Finnish Dance Hall band the Pasi Cats, and also joined country group the Outlaws with Keweenaw area legends Kenny O’Conner and Lee Sterbenz with Bob originally on the drums and later guitar and back up vocals.
Next came Bob’s original variety group known as the Humidors with Variance drummer Josh Johnson and the great Chuck Tun on bass. At this time he was approached by Mike Irish to form a “copper country super group” known as Uncle Pete’s All-Star BBQ Blues Band.
After the Humidors disbanded, Bob was fortunate enough to be stuck in an airport with Jazz guitar wizard Steve Jones and they joined forces with Bassist Scott Macintosh to form the Garden City Hot club.