High Road Interview: Part II

17 03 2010

Happy St. Patrick’s Day, everyone! Pinch, Pinch!

SIT: We’re back with High Road, a Celtic band, based in the great Southern city of Memphis, Tennessee. Today, let’s get into a little of what influences y’all, musically and in life. First of all, most of you were born and raised in Memphis, TN. How did growing up in such a musical city define your musical tastes?

Larry: In high school, my band director was Allen Goldsmith, a great jazz and Dixieland trombonist. Two of my favorite pieces that I remember from that time were a lush, slow jazz arrangement of Danny Boy and a marching band arrangement of W.C. Handy’s St. Louis Blues March.  The other great influences were being a part of touring choirs and ensembles from First Baptist Memphis, Union University, and University of Memphis.  My high school band director was retired US Army.  He also was the music and worship leader in his Methodist church.  He once challenged me to consider the idea of a traveling witnessing marching band and God helped it happen with my good friend Carter Threlkeld allowing me to serve as assistant director and later director of the Victory Marching Bands of Bellevue Baptist Church.

Mollie: Memphis is so versatile in its offerings of music—blues, jazz, rock and roll, etc.  I believe it has allowed me to be open to different sounds and styles of music.  Instead of putting a certain genre of music in a box, I can glean different elements from each style to use in my own playing.  I think every musician should draw from styles outside their own in order to not become boring or predictable.

Jesse: Defiantly puts a southern lilt on any music I perform. Everything I sing ends up being the blues!

Rose: My grandmother was a music teacher, and my whole family loves music! Memphis, TN is full of all genres, and has pricked my interest in music from the time I was little. Living in this city, and being raised the way I have has really taught me the importance of music and how to really appreciate it.

SIT: What styles or bands are musical influences?

Larry: John Williams compositions from Stars Wars to Indiana Jones, Riverdance and a local radio program of Celtic music called “Strands of the Celtic Knot.”

Cecily: I love basically every musical genre. Obviously groups/bands like Keith and Kristen Getty, Andrew Peterson, Celtic Woman and Nickel Creek have influenced the music we play in the band. Outside of that I have very eclectic musical tastes and like a lot of pretty much every kind of music. That’s what is so great about music – there are so many varieties and quality options out there to glean inspiration from. It never ends!

Mollie: Celtic and folk music have been the most influential to our style–Keith and Kristyn Getty, Andrew Peterson, Nickel Creek, Jars of Clay and the Chieftains.

Jesse: Blues, Celtic, and bluegrass. The Chieftains, Nickel Creek….many many Celtic folk bands.

Noah: I’ve always been a fan of acoustic music. My favorite kind of music has always been hymns, and my favorite artist is Andrew Peterson.

Rose: Well, I think as a group we are influenced by the Chieftains, Celtic women, Andrew Peterson, the Getty’s and some artists who aren’t Celtic, but have some really nice, classic sounds and cool instruments.

David: Progressive rock, classical music, and jazz.

SIT: Who are your influences or heroes in other areas of life?

Larry: My dad is a strong Christian who taught 4th grade Sunday School for 40 years.  He was my Scout master and helped me build my house.  My mom, a high school and college music teacher for over 30 years, gave me my earliest and deepest love for music.  Other music ministers in my life, such as Earl Holloway, Tommy Lane, Kenneth Hartley, Jim Whitmire and Carter Threlkeld gave me a love for the discipline of music and for directing.

Mollie: Definitely Dr. Adrian Rogers had a profound influence on my life, in my commitment to God’s Word and His plan for my life.  I also would say my mom and dad, for their careful and Christ-like parenting, not to mention their training and encouraging in the world of music.  Also, my grandmother, Rose Mary Anderson, who taught me vocal technique and piano–her love of music is infectious.

Jesse: I want to live my life with integrity and happiness and I rely on my “paw paw” for an example.

Rose: My parents, grandparents, for encouraging me in my pursuits and being such good role models, and Louis Pasteur, a remarkable scientist who had the most important thing right-he believed in God, the creator of this world and all the amazing creation in it.

David: Curt Sines, our set player at church and Tom, Bellevue’s sous chef have been strong influences in the two main areas of my life – percussion and cooking.

SIT: You’ve had the opportunity to be on the road a little bit, traveling with the band. What is your favorite place you’ve performed, at home or away?

Larry: Churches in general, though we have played several outdoor events, including Starlight Spectacular as opener for Big Daddy Weave.  My favorite venues are concerts and leading in worship in a regular church worship service.  Standouts in my mind, include Crosspoint Baptist Church, Bellevue Baptist Church, FBC Jacksonville, and First Baptist Senatobia, Mississippi.

Cecily: Performing for 20,000+ people at Bellevue’s Starlight Spectacular this past summer was also a blast!

Mollie: Probably my favorite place we performed was actually a barn party honoring the choir and orchestra at my church.  We were staged on an old trailer, among hay bails and pumpkins.  We were so relaxed and the sound was surprisingly good (echoed out over the field).  We got to throw in some of our more casual, bluegrass pieces, including “Froggy Went a’Courtin’ ” and “Flow Gently Sweet Afton”.  It was such a great night! We enjoyed warming by the bonfire afterwards.

Jesse: Defiantly First Baptist Jacksonville in Jacksonville Florida. We went there at the invitation of Jim Whitmire, our music minister emeritus. I think we gelled that night like never before.

Noah: It’s hard to choose just one favorite place that we have performed as a group.  God has blessed us in so many different ways over the years.  My favorite local place we’ve played was Crosspointe Baptist Church in Millington, TN.  When it comes to playing at an away church, I really enjoyed getting to play at and meet the people of First Baptist Jacksonville.

Rose: The places we’ve played at have been such blessings; I’ve enjoyed all the different experiences we’ve had! I’m terrible at picking a favorite, but I loved our January tour last year, and 2 specific places we’ve played at that really stand out to me are First Baptist Senatobia and Crosspoint Baptist Church in Millington.

David: Churches of any size are my favorite place to perform.

SIT: Ok, last questions. Thank you all for being such good sports and for giving of your time to let us peak into the world of a Southern Celtic band. I’ve enjoyed learning a lot that I didn’t even know! Ok, just for fun, your life had a soundtrack, what would be the title track?

Larry: “I Can See Clearly Now”.

Mollie: Actually, a gospel piece called “He’s Never Failed Me Yet”.  I sang it my freshman and senior undergraduate years at U of M with the University Singers.  The message is so true-He never has!

Jesse: Come Together, The Beatles.

Noah: Something by John Williams. Probably Star Wars.

Rose: “Here comes the sun” or “She’s my Sunny girlfriend”. I’m always thinking things will work out somehow and like trying to cheer people up.

David: Lonesome River

SIT: Thanks so much, friends! Hey, those title tracks sound like a pretty good mixed soundtrack in themselves! We’ll look forward to hearing much more from y’all in the near future, hopefully!

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17 03 2010
‘American Idol’ Recap: Highs And Lows With The Rolling Stones

[…] High Road Interview: Part II « Sweet Iced Tea […]

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