OK, film trivia buffs…just where is the fictional town of Bedford Falls? If you guessed upstate or central New York, you know your stuff and you know your movies. Bedford Falls is, of course, the imagined town in Frank Capra’s 66-year-old holiday classic, “It’s a Wonderful Life.” And every time Ronnie O’Briant and Dave Sharrock (Act 2, Pale Horse, Echo 7) hear a bell ring, an angel gets its wings.
“Dave and I have been talking about this forever,” said O’Briant. “Ever since Echo 7 disbanded we’ve thrown around the idea of another full band.” Myrtle Beach-based Echo 7 had a brush with fame in the early 2000s, touring nationally, with a development deal, national distribution of a studio project, “One Step Away,” the whole nine yards. But as is often the case with these things, and especially with the crappy mood the music industry has been in since Al Gore invented the Internet, Echo 7 came to rest without worldwide domination. But in 2004 two of its co-founders forged ahead with marriages, babies, and bills, and put their formidable musical talents to use in an acoustic cover duo, Act 2.
Eight years later, O’Briant and Sharrock are still fully behind Act 2 and Pale Horse (an acoustic trio with vocalist Frank Braddock). While the pair stays busy gigging, writing and recording, they could no longer resist the pull of their electric guitars and were haunted by their favorite rock tunes, original and covers. In June they pulled the trigger on an all new four-piece rock band for the beach; Bedford Falls, with Freddy Ackerman (One Louder, Young Goodman) on drums, and 23-year-old Steve Bailey protégé, John Moore, on bass.
After squeezing in practices between gigs for months, Bedford Falls performed its debut last Friday (Nov. 9) at Wahoo’s in Murrells Inlet. The small, Tiki-hut of a bar is a regular haunt for Act 2, and so, as hoped, a large crowd turned out to see the new band. The same deft skills and natural born talent that brought Echo 7 to a national audience 10 years ago, was in evidence Friday night. Pitch-perfect vocals, smooth rock guitars, a tight and creative rhythm section, all in harmony with three hours of songs most everybody knew, including a few Echo 7 and Act 2 originals.
“We had a blast,” said Sharrock of Friday’s gig. “It was everything we’d hoped for and more. Great crowd, I think it sounded good, it was a good kick-off.” The diverse crowd at Wahoo’s ate up the well known covers by Fuel, Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains, Kings of Leon, Foo Fighters and more, but they were just as appreciative of the handful of originals, too. O’Briant and Sharrock are both quick to give praise to the newest members of the team for the buzz and success of their opening night.
“Freddy [Ackerman] had been out in California,” said O’Briant, “and played with Young Goodman. They were signed to an indie label, did the Warped Tour, but then Freddy moved back, and we kept running into him. One of the reasons Bedford Falls got going is because we kept running into him. Freddy had been jamming with this young jazz bassist, who can play anything, then we jammed, the chemistry was great, and now we’re a band.”
Bedford Falls will perform again Dec. 15 at the Hot Fish Club in Murrells Inlet, and hopes to perform three-to-four times per month by the time the season kicks in, in 2013.
Is there a happy ending lurking at the conclusion of this feel-good movie?
“We want to start writing together as a band,” said O’Briant. His longtime musical partner agrees. “We definitely have plans to do some Bedford Falls originals,” added Sharrock. “We’re excited to find out how we’ll write together. Who knows where that might lead?”
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