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House Band takes part in summer series

By Alex Jacobi
On June 24, 2013

This past Thursday, Martin community members gathered at Festival Park to enjoy the summer heat with some easy-going tunes from the House Band, a group made up of UTM's Dr. David Coffey, Dr. David Carithers, Dr. James Fieser, Dr. Chris Brown and alumnus Micah Barnes.

Along with a variety of covers that included the Allman Brothers Band, Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash, the band also performed original songs, written by Coffey and Carithers.

"Our favorites to play are the originals," Carithers said.

Even though the band as it is now officially began at a UTM College of Humanities and Fine Arts picnic over five years ago, some of the band members have been playing since 2004.

"[In 2004], some of us in the Department of History and Philosophy began jamming together, with David Coffey on vocals and harmonica and me on guitar. We were later joined by Chris Brown on drums and another faculty on bass guitar. In the mean time, David Carithers from the Department of English was performing in an acoustic duo. We all joined forces and the House Band was born. Our most recent band member, Micah Barnes, joined on bass guitar around two years ago," Fieser said.

While the band enjoys giving audiences good music, they also enjoy being together and learning from the process.

"Being a part of this band has allowed me to expand musically from someone who only did the occasional acoustic open mic to being a member of a full, electric Rock and Roll band. I have learned so much about music and songwriting from all of my band mates, and it is always a pleasure to perform with them," Carithers said.

The band not only learns together, but has the opportunity to experience something much different than each of their daytime jobs and responsibilities.

"We all love playing music together and performing for our friends and neighbors here in West Tennessee. It is also a significant diversion from our regular jobs, which is quite rewarding. It's fun to show a different side, strap on a guitar, and play. For me it's literally a dream come true," Coffey said.

Along with the rewards and entertainment, it gives them the musical practice to keep up their craft.

"For any musician or musical hobbyist, it's all too easy to just keep one's instrument in the closet where it will collect dust, and this is especially so for us House Band members who have demanding work obligations at the University. The band keeps us musically active, and thus, helps wear off some of that rust," Fieser said.

As for being a part of the Martin summer music series, the band is appreciative to be able to play at a venue that is both personally and locally beneficial.

"In this day and age of globalized (and therefore, somewhat sterile) entertainment, I think we're all interested in seeing local culture flourish. Whether people are playing or watching, this downtown performance series is a great way to participate in building up a culture that is unique to Martin, Tenn.," Brown said.

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