Music Notes for April 18, 2013

For Weekly SurgeApril 16, 2013 

With maturity that belies the young ages of its four core band members (the oldest is 23), Kentucky-based band Wayne Graham has released a very grown-up album, “Brighter By Now.” The alternative/Americana band is back and forth between Whitesburg, Ky. and wherever a gig might present itself. The band will revisit the Grand Strand, making a stop at Pine Lakes Tavern for a two-nighter, Friday and Saturday. Expect to hear Americana songs with poetic lyrics, and a musicality that is reminiscent of some complicated marriage between Ryan Adams, Tom Petty, Mumford & Sons, Van Morrison, Kings of Leon, with a little Phish thrown in for good measure. While its influences are broad, ultimately this band, still shy of the mainstream, has managed a sound all its own and is well worth checking out.

Kenny Miles, the band’s primary songwriter, front man, and one of two guitarists, skipped college to attend recording engineer school. The 32-week certificate based program at a Kentucky recording studio gave him the technical skills needed in a D.Y.I. world. “We built a studio in our basement, recorded our first album, and formed the band around that,” said Miles, just off his shift delivering mail for the U.S. Postal Service. “My brother, he’s a senior in high school, is our drummer.” The brothers named the band after their grandparents – a Wayne and a Graham.

The Miles boys are PKs (pastor’s kids), growing up on the fringes of Appalachia in eastern Kentucky, but the band shies away from going all the way into Y’all-ternative music (ala The Avett Brothers, Old Crow Medicine Show), though the mountain influences are there. When I suggested I heard Van Morrison in the arrangements Miles was flattered. “Thanks,” he said. “I take that as a great compliment. I’ve dug deep into the Van Morrison catalog, and Paul Simon’s, too.” A songwriter’s songwriter, Miles’ and his band have an edge on other emerging acts foraging for fame in the ridiculously competitive music business; an understanding of the most important part of a band; the songs. That, along with its collective youth, musical proficiency, and contemporary relevance, are major strikes in its favor.

“I feel like skipping college has given us a head-start,” he said, “and our parents are totally on board.” Wayne Graham appeared at the Hot Fish Club in Murrells Inlet last July, but will make its Myrtle Beach debut this weekend.

The free 21-and-older show will begin around 8 p.m. Pine Lakes Tavern is at 5201 North Kings Highway in Myrtle Beach where Droopy’s used to be.

Sideways or Strike-O-Matics-ways?

Hand selected for an inaugural marketing rollout, two Myrtle Beach acts have each made it to the Bottle Free Bands Contest finals sponsored by Brita. The campaign is a part of that company’s national effort to promote the drinking of filtered water from its reusable bottles instead of disposable bottled water. Joshua Grant’s original project Sideways Derby, along with the Strike-O-Matics, are among the 30 national finalists that will each receive 200 Brita Nalgene band logo bottles. Our hometown boys hope to win the grand prize, which includes 2,000 additional branded water bottles to sell at merch tables, and an additional eco-friendly prize package valued at $30,000. Each band is asking for your online vote by logging on to www.brita.com/filter-for-good/band.

Voting closes May 1.

Sideways Derby, which originally formed around 2000, will perform at the Earth Day Music Fest and Expo at the Boathouse Waterway Bar & Grill, at approximately 4 p.m. Sunday. Event starts at 1 p.m. with headliner Rehab closing the show in the early evening. In an ever-evolving line-up of players, the Derby will feature singer/songwriter Grant on lead vocals and guitar, Zack Webster (drums), Charles Funk (guitar) and Rob Rotondo (bass).

Have a thought, comment or newsworthy item for Weekly Surge Music Notes? Send an e-mail to pgrimshaw@sc.rr.com.

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