The name says it all.
Darius Rucker? They’ve got ya feelin’ “alright.” Lynrd Skynyrd? They’ll give ya three steps, mister. Johnny Cash? Yeah, they can walk the line.
Since their inception just under a year ago, American Band has been bringing their own style of country, classic rock and just about anything else that spells homegrown music in the good ol’ U.S. of A. to local venues including the Fat Tuna and High Stakes, and beach bars from Coconuts to M.R. Ducks.
Usually opening up with some modern country to set the tone, eventually they’ll juice it up when lead singer Eric Bomhardt starts belting out Southern and classic rock anthems, and face-melting guitar riffs bleed into jaw-dropping drum solos that bring the crowd to its feet.
“Our main thing is American music,” Bomhardt explained. “We started out mainly all country. Then we said, ‘Let’s be us,’ so we threw some Southern rock in there and some classic rock.”
“We do a lot of new country, but new country is basically rock,” added bassist Kevin Ward.
The “new country” covers usually include hit singles by stars such as Dirks Bentley and Darius Rucker but, depending on the crowd, the setlist carries on into classic rock favorites from artists including the Eagles, Tom Petty and Grand Funk Railroad — even venturing into ’90s favorites, including Sublime’s “What I Got.”
“We play stuff that makes people feel good, have a good time,” said drummer Rick Webster, who highlights the night with a hypnotizing drum solo during “One Way Out” by the Allman Brothers. “If somebody asks for something, we’re gonna play it — we’re here for them.”
But even though the band has been together for less than a year, they’re no strangers.
“We’ve all been doing it a long time. All of us have played together in different bands,” said lead guitarist Terry Wilson. “Everybody in the band is very talented. It’s a really good working unit.”
“Terry was the guitar player in the first band I ever played in,” Ward recalled.
That kind of history runs just as deep for the rest of the group.
Not only did Ward play with Wilson in his first band, but also with Bomhardt when he got his start, when Order Disorder opened for Eddie Money in the early ’90’s. Interestingly enough, a group called Mighty Big Richard also took the stage before Money that night, featuring Webster on the drums.
“We went on; then Mighty Big Richard went on; and then Eddie Money went on,” Bomhardt recalled of the performance at the old Scandals night club in Ocean City, Md. “That was my first gig ever — that was pretty awesome.”
Eventually, Bomhardt and Webster would go on to make a name for themselves playing in a group called Grassdaddy for nearly 20 years, before Webster joined up with Ward in to play in Scrapple for the last 10, but they’ve all had their own experiences with different types of music as individuals, as well.
“I’ve played blues. I’ve played rock. I’ve played metal. I’ve played jazz,” said Webster, who has also played in the Salisbury Symphony.
“I’ve been playing forever,” added Wilson. “There’s been very few weeks out of my life that I haven’t been in a band.”
On Saturday, July 18, they’ll storm Ocean City at Coconuts Beach Bar & Grill from 5 to 9 p.m., but they’ll also be making some more appearances locally, at the Fat Tuna and High Stakes, before taking the stage at Hooper’s Crab House in West Ocean City for Bike Week this fall.
And for a band that’s made music their lives, it’s not surprising to see that don’t care where they’re playing — they just want to play.
“It doesn’t matter where we play,” said Wilson. “If they don’t provide chicken wire, we’ve got some in the truck.”
For booking information, contact Eric Bomhardt at firstname.lastname@example.org.