Arts on the Square Spotlight: Meet the Coal Town Rounders

Tuesday, July 9, 2013
Coal Town Rounders is an area bluegrass favorite with broad appeal.  Cristin sat down with bandmember Chris Kearney to talk bluegrass, playing live and opening for Emmylou Harris. We're so excited to share this interview with you...

Hello Coal Town Rounders!  

Tell us a little about your quartet...Who’s who and who plays what?

Matthew Hiller: Mandolin and Vocals as well as any and all graphic design and letterpress work for the group.  He handmade each and every package for our new cd, Numero Uno.  

Jason Zarnowski: Upright Bass and Vocals, financial support and vehicle maintenance. He is the head of the sound department; making sure everything sounds perfect.

Christopher Kearney: Guitar and Vocals

Ian O’Hara: Banjo and Vocals and Head of Booking and Main Man to schedule travel and shows out of town.  Also the tallest of the group.

Photo: Sam Watson 

If I had to describe you guys, it would be old timey blue-grass with old country, is this correct?How do you describe yourselves?  

Straight ahead bluegrass pretty much sums it up.  We do a few old country tunes, some Hank Williams, Merle Haggard, George Jones, etc. but mostly bluegrass.  Every now and again we do a song that is out of the bluegrass realm and it’s always a challenge to make it have a bluegrass feel and make it our own.  For example we covered “Street Spirit” by Radiohead.  Not very bluegrass at all.  We made it work and it’s a really interesting song.  

Photo: Sam Watson 

Who are your major influences?

In bluegrass, Bill Monroe of course.  He’s the father of bluegrass and really one of the greatest American musicians of our time.  The Stanley Brothers, Flatt & Scruggs, Ricky Skaggs, J.D. Crowe, Tony Rice.  The big names.  We also love The Band, The Beatles, Frank Zappa, Ryan Adams, Michael Hurley.  Matt, Ian, and Jason are all really into jazz and swing.  They have a jazz quartet with Nick Driscol on sax.  Matt plays drums, Ian on electric guitar and Jason on bass.  We’re a pretty well rounded group of musicians.

How long has CTR been playing?

Our first official gig was at Beynons Lake Sheridan Pub, Halloween 2009

I’ve watched you guys grow so quickly and organically over the last few years, what’s your secret?
We play.  Constantly.  We try to get out every weekend. Everyone in the band is a great talent in their own right and once they get together, it just seems to take off.  We’re all really good friends too.  We all spend a lot of time together and we always have fun.

Photo: Sam Watson 

What do you enjoy most about playing music?

Everything.  Playing, singing, traveling, eating, hanging out together, meeting new people, playing to new crowds.  It’s all great.  We GET to play music.

I saw you opened for Emmylou Harris, tell us about that experience...  

It was pretty surreal.  One of the biggest crowds we’ve ever played to and it was nice to be in our home town.  She was really nice too.  She put on a great show, her band was great.  Everything was amazing.  She even remembered our name.  Whoa.

It sounds like a dream come true...what would be another dream for you guys to conquer?

Just more.  More shows, bigger venues, another record, tours.  Band stuff.  See how far we can go with it.

We’re really happy to have you guys performing at Arts on the Square, and saw you have a new EP out- will this be available at AotS?  Where else can folks find it?  
Yes.  We have it with us wherever we play.  It’s also available at Embassy Vinyl on Adams Ave in Scranton

Thanks guys!

Follow Coal Town Rounders:
Contact for Booking: Christopher Kearney
Facebook: coaltownrounders
Instagram:   #coaltownrounders

Follow Arts on the Square & ScrantonMade:
Facebook:  Arts on the Square and ScrantonMade
Twitter:  ScrantonMade
Instagram: @scrantonmade_blog

No comments:

Post a Comment