Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Familiar, but a little different

Can a folkie and a funkster peacefully coexist in a band? Apparently so, according to Now & Then guitarist Mike Holley.

Little more than a year ago, Holley, acoustic guitarist and singer Pete LeBlanc, and bassist Tom Coleman put together Now & Then.  All three are longtime friends but been involved in other, separate musical projects.

"We got together to just jam and see how it would go," Holley says. "I'm an R&B, funk and blues guy. Pete is a folkie. The jamming went well, then the goal became to find songs we could bring in and  make our own."

To that end, Now & Then can take a familiar tune such as Steve Miller's "Fly Like an Eagle" and give it new accents.

"On that song Pete will play a djembe and we'll look for ways to weave the guitar and bass that make the song structure a little different," Holley says.

Now & Then makes its Coppertop debut Friday, starting at 8 p.m.

Now & Then also has pretty broad tastes, bringing in some left-field song choices such as "Spooky" and "So Into You" by Atlanta Rhythm Section.

But, Holley says, the band won't tackle material that doesn't connect with an audience, no matter how much fun it may be to play from a musical point of view.

"It's not about how many notes or how intricate the guitar solo is," Holley says."We want a song to bring someone back to a to a time in their life."

And sometimes the audience members themselves come up with the ideas for Now & Then.

"Someone asked us to play 'Dock of the Bay.' We ripped out a version that went over well," he says. "Now we worked on the song some and play it early in the set a lot because it gets people warmed up."

The guitarist notes that Now & Then is playing for the fun of it _ both the fun of musicians that enjoy working together, and the fun of an audience willing to go out and support live music.

But as fun as it is, Now & Then takes its job seriously.

"We work hard on the songs and arrangements.They are like our babies, and we see what happens when we put them out into the world," Holley says.

And when he sees someone grooving in a seat, tapping a foot, or singing along, Holley knows the kid is all right.

1 comment:

  1. These guys definitely put their own mark on some classic tunes. Their version of Withers "Ain't no Sunshine" is excellent. The Coppertop will be a great venue for them.