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Wednesday, 25 June 2014 00:00

This must be the place

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art theplaceIt’s a sound that immediately turns your head.

Sitting at a table within the 5 Walnut Wine Bar in downtown Asheville one lazy, sunny Appalachian afternoon, a trio of musicians took to the floor and eased into the subtle ambiance of the cozy space.

With a V8 blend of genres spilling out of the speakers, The Get Right Band has a main thread of rock-n-roll running through it, adding in one part reggae, one part blues, a dash of jazz and a pinch of pop sensibilities. 

Led by singer/guitarist Silas Durocher, the ensemble also includes bassist Jesse Gentry and drummer J.C. Mears. Alongside their 2013 album “Shake” and a recent successful national tour, the group was also selected as an On The Verge pick by Relix magazine. Their follow-up record, Bass Treble Angel Devil, will be released on Aug. 16.

The band will be performing at 8 p.m. Wednesday, July 2 as part of the “Week of Rock” at Nantahala Brewing Company in Bryson City.

Watching them perform you think two things: “Who the hell are these guys?” and “Why aren’t they playing sold-out arenas?” With such an embracing tone, the band cuts across the musical spectrum, where you sit and look around the room and see the feet of hipsters, tourists, young couples and older folks tappin’ along to the sound. 

Smoky Mountain News: When did you start playing music?

Silas Durocher: I started playing music when I stubbed my toe on my dad’s old acoustic guitar in our basement under a pile of stuff. I was 12 years old. I pulled it out, strummed it once, and the heavens parted and everything became clear. I say it like that to be funny, but it’s pretty much what happened. It was kind of like being struck by a bolt of lightening — the connection was so deep and so intense. And I haven’t put the guitar down for a minute since. Music is everything to me. It’s a way to express myself, to connect with other people, to let go of stress. It’s therapeutic, it’s challenging and loving. It’s really how I self-identify.

SMN: How did y’all come about?

Jesse Gentry: Fate brought us together. Silas and I met in the tiniest of towns in rural Maryland in late middle school. Silas coerced me into quitting my band at the time to join his band, and from there, a musical brotherhood was formed. After many years of playing together, followed by several years apart, during which I was living in the Virgin Islands swimming with turtles and sipping tasty beverages, Silas convinced me to move to Asheville to play with him once again.

SMN: What’s it like being an aspiring musician in the 21st century? 

J.C. Mears: Technology is really both an advantage and a disadvantage. More people than ever have the ability to record and put their music out there, which is great for the artists putting out music. But with the saturation of the music industry, the value that people put on music is decreasing. And that makes it harder to make a living doing this. So, that means there has to be a stronger focus by musicians on the business side of things, marketing and booking.

SMN: What do you want folks to feel leaving your show?

JM: When people leave our show, we want them to feel like they had a chance to have some weight lifted off of them, even if only temporarily. That’s what we feel when we play music, and that’s what we hope for our audience — to get lost in the experience, to get right. 

SMN: What has a life playing music taught you about being a human?

SD: It’s so easy to get caught up in the rat race and the daily routines of life. Music, and the lifestyle of being a touring musician, keeps us really connected to the fun and the spontaneous. We’re always going on adventures on the road — seeing new cities, checking out new beaches, meeting new people — it teaches us to keep things fresh.

JG: We’ve only got a short life and we should spend it doing the things we love. Music is what we love, so that’s what we do.

Editor’s Note: The “Week of Rock” celebration will run June 27-July 5 at Nantahala Brewing Company in Bryson City. All shows are free and begin at 8 p.m. Performers include Freeway Revival on June 27 (country rock/blues), Guy Marshall June 28 (folk/Americana), The Wilhelm Brothers June 29 (Americana), Dogwood Winter June 30 (bluegrass/string), Husky Burnette July 1 (blues/rock), The Get Right Band July 2 (rock/reggae), Mangas Colorado July 3 (newgrass/Americana), Jordan Hallquist & The Outfit July 4 (singer/songwriter) and The Black Arts Ensemble with Artimus Pyle (of Lynyrd Skynyrd) July 5 (southern rock/rock).

Hot picks

1The “Week of Rock” music series will run at 8 p.m. June 27-July 5 at Nantahala Brewing in Bryson City.

2The Ram Rodeo Series will be held at 8 p.m. July 4-5 at the Haywood County Fairgrounds in Waynesville.

3The “Stecoah Artisans Drive About Tour” will be from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. June 27-28.

4“The Civil War: A Musical Experience” will be held at 7:30 p.m. June 26-27 at the Franklin High School Fine Arts Center.

5Darren & The Buttered Toast will perform at 9 p.m. June 28 at the Water’n Hole Bar & Grill in Waynesville.

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