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The Alan Fox Band: Classic Sound, Modern Rock


By Kimber Fountain

Any attempts to rigidly define the genre known as “Classic Rock” are about as futile as trying to label the corners of a circle. The lines are blurred from the get-go with the word “classic,” which implies music from a specific time period – in this case the 1960s and 70’s – but there was a lot of music made in that time frame that does not even breach the border of consideration as Classic Rock. To add to the confusion, some have chosen to broaden that generational window as time has passed, furthermore, even select, modern bands who exude the Classic Rock sound (whatever that is) have been labeled as such, although the parameters used are widely open for interpretation and personal taste.

alan fox band eguide tyler tx 1In fact, pretty much the only thing that can be said definitively about this particular genre is that ‘you know it when you hear it.’ But if dusting off your uncle’s old vinyl sounds about as appealing as turning the dial on an antique radio in a valiant attempt to get that needle exactly where it needs to be to pick up the 70’s radio station, never fear. The Alan Fox Band can singlehandedly fulfill all of your Classic Rock curiosities from the comfort of the 21st century.

That being said, the first thing that must be established about the Alan Fox Band is that their output would be much more aptly described as a revival, as opposed to a replication, or regurgitation of the hits of years past – which it is not. “We play it how we feel it,” says guitarist Donnie Pendleton. “We don’t try to emulate anyone else. [Our music] definitely has a Classic Rock vein, but,” he adds emphatically, “it is modern music.” In other words, these guys have a sound that was created from the inside-out; an assemblage of experienced and proficient musicians produce fresh and original tracks with a nostalgic alacrity that takes classic and makes it timeless.

Originally formed in 2000, The Alan Fox Band is a five-piece band comprised of members from all over northeast Texas. Namesake and founder Alan Fox is from Carthage and performs as a guitarist and vocalist, as does Donnie Pendleton, who hails from Fort Worth and has been with the band for over ten years. Donny Hart, the Lead Vocalist from Arlington, is the newest member with a still-impressive tenure of three years, and his time is matched by current drummer Terry Salyer out of Kilgore. Bass Player Greg Cagle from Palestine completes the lineup with his sixth year as a member of AFB. “We all knew each other from previous projects, gigs, and venues,” says Pendleton, who later explains that in the band’s earlier years, “it was Blues Rock.” As the band absorbed the talents and influences of Hart, Greg, and Terry, their sound evolved and began to evoke the deeper harmonies and more striking melodies of Classic Rock.

alan fox band eguide tyler tx 2Each member is an established musician in their own right, and each will attest that the band’s music is really a reflection of many different sounds, a collaboration of their individual talents and techniques which results in the whole being even greater than the sum of its parts. Of course, a firm foundation is necessary to support such a cacophony of talent, and for The Alan Fox Band that foundation is an innate cohesion that exists among all of the members. “We are greater as a unit, [which is] the reason that this band functions as well as it does,” explains Donny Hart. “ It is because we are old enough to be past all of the stuff that tears other bands apart.” Greg adds to this, remarking that, “there is no ego in the band, we record well together, we play well together, we all have the same work ethic.” This proves advantageous especially considering that no two members live in the same town, a fact which does not at all hinder the band’s progress or professionalism.

Donnie Pendleton describes the phenomena that naturally occurs in the band’s work. “It tends to motivate itself – it has an energy of its own. When I sit down with Donny [to write songs], things happen.” Greg agrees, “Anytime we are in pre-production for new material, I get excited. Just listening to rough cuts, is very gratifying.” Donny also says of Alan Fox that, “he makes huge contributions. When we have song ideas, he’ll have a hook or a perspective that makes it happen.” Often, the song-writing process is fleshed out in live rehearsals, as they allow inspiration to fill in the melodies and bass lines. In fact, Greg admits that often they “put stuff together so ‘off the cuff’ that I’ll say to myself, ‘I gotta sit down and learn that.’”

Alan Fox Band released the album “JuJu Ear Rub” in 2008, and their live performances have expanded far beyond the local dive to the national festival circuit. Then in 2013, the band was given huge honors at the L.A. Music Awards, a nationwide red-carpet media event that was founded in 1991 to increase exposure to the independent music scene. That year, the band was named “Hard Rock Band of the Year” and Donnie Pendleton was awarded “Guitarist of the Year.” Currently they are putting together a new album to be released in its entirety in the fall of this year, but they are taking a different approach with its release. “Our strategy this time has been to let [each song] out as a single as it is completed,” explains Greg, “and then we will release a collection of those on a CD.”

Most importantly, the band’s song-writing reaches to all of the depths and heights that their musical prowess can take them. “Our lyrics mean something,” says Hart. “We tell stories, [the music] feels how we all sometimes feel – heavy and bluesy.” Full-length versions of two of AFB’s most recent singles are available for free on ReverbNation.com. Produced by Aaron Avenue Records, “El Cabron” and “Redemption” are quintessential Classic Rock ballads which perfectly showcase the band’s electric and powerful live performances, punctuated by the crisp and clean wails of Donny Hart that can be heard all the way back in 1973.

AFB is endorsed by Curt Mangan Strings.com, and Donnie Pendleton is endorsed by Goulding Guitars in England, gouldingguitars.com.

Find the music of Alan Fox Band on iTunes, Amazon, ReverbNation.com, and YouTube; or see them live at the Main Street Festival in Grapevine, Texas on May 16th, and in Longview at the T-Bone Walker Blues Festival on June 6th.

Visit them online at www.alanfoxband.com. Also, for more gigs, see EGuide’s Gig Guide.


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Around East Texas

April 21st: Mouse and the Traps and Bowling for Soup

Upcoming Concerts

April 21st (8pm) – Mouse & The Traps – After more than 50 years together, Mouse & the Traps continue to be one of the best examples of “Texas Rock & Roll.” Formed in Tyler, Texas in 1965, Mouse, Nardo, Dave & Larry continue to give the public just what they want – great rock and roll. Whether you remember “Public Execution,” “Hit the Bricks,” or not, Mouse & The Traps has something for everyone. Tickets are $20-$25.

April 21st – Bowling For Soup at Clicks Live (8pm) – American pop-punk band Bowling For Soup emerged in Wichita Falls, Texas in 1994, but have since relocated to Denton Texas. Tickets are on sale at the door for $19, and may be purchased in advance online for $15 at etix.com.

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Blind Pursuit: Chasing Dreams

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By Johnny Griffith

In science, there is a phenomenon known as the Butterfly Effect which states, that in a complex system, small changes in one place can have a larger effect elsewhere. This is best illustrated in the hypothetical example of a butterfly flapping its wings in Mexico and causing a hurricane in China.

A more practical example of this would be the formation of the band Blind Pursuit, based out of Palestine, Texas. An amalgamation of sound and styles brought to the table by each individual member, Blind Pursuit is the end result of five people from different backgrounds and geographical origins ending up in a small town in East Texas and magic happening.

Hailing from Southeast Louisiana, Maine, Cayuga, and Harmony, the odds of these five people interacting were astronomical, but small changes had large effects and Blind Pursuit has been a staple in the east Texas music scene for three years now. We recently tracked them down to get to know them just a little better.

Johnny: Blind Pursuit has been playing gigs around East Texas since 2015. What was the genesis of the band and what is the current line up?

Blind Pursuit: Our first show was February 28th, 2015 opening for our good friends Blacktop Mojo at Click’s Live in Tyler.

Our current lineup includes Marc Mitchell on drums, Craig Jones on bass guitar, John Reed on lead guitar, Katie Reed with lead vocals, and Michael Jones on lead vocals and acoustic guitar.

Craig and Katie hail from Cayuga, Texas. John was raised right down the road in the Harmony Community just outside of Palestine. Marc migrated from the great state of Maine; and Mike spent most of his time about 45 minutes southwest of New Orleans, Louisiana. He has been in Texas since 1998 and spends his time filling in behind the bar at Pint & Barrel Drafthouse in Palestine, and working construction. He met John and Katie again in 2013. John and Katie own Reed Construction where John builds custom homes and Katie does interior design. Craig owns Oak Floor Supply in Tyler, Texas and Marc is in marketing and communications and sometimes moonlights at the Appleton Coffee House.

Johnny: How about the name – there’s a lot to be said in that name. What does it mean to the band and where did the idea come from?

Blind Pursuit: The name Blind Pursuit stems from the belief that we are all pursuing something, whether it be chasing dreams, running after love, or following your passions; at some point, it takes a blind leap of faith to achieve something truly great. In all actuality, we started with the word ‘Pursuit’ and since we had no idea of how or where we were going or how to get there, ‘Blind’ seemed like the obvious choice.

Johnny: Blind Pursuit has a pretty eclectic mix of sounds in your catalog but how would you describe ‘your’ sound?

Blind Pursuit: Wow! That’s a great question, one that we’ve been asking for quite some time. We play what we love. We are a varied group of musicians with different musical backgrounds and tastes, and we play what we would like to hear if we were sitting in the audience. Our own sound stems from songwriting, which is mainly done by our lead singer Michael, and so it definitely has a soulful, emotional style to it, and has a layered Indie rock feel. You can hear a little bit of our southern influences layered in as well as the obvious differences of having two lead vocalists. So if you wanted to pigeonhole us into a specific genre, I would say we fall into the Indie Rock genre, just because it encompasses such a wide variety of sounds and musical stylings.

Johnny: How much of your show is covers versus originals these days?

Blind Pursuit: After the release of our debut album “Offramp,” we do about ¾ covers and the rest originals. New material is constantly being added and we hope to shift the number of originals to a larger segment of the show.

Johnny: About how many shows does the band try to play a month?

Blind Pursuit: We’re currently averaging five shows a month but we are always looking to add to that.

Johnny: Are most of the gigs in the east Texas area or do you travel out of the area?

Blind Pursuit: The majority of our shows are in East Texas. We do travel to north and central Texas on occasion and we are hoping to broaden our travel radius this year.

Johnny: What are you most proud of as a band?

Blind Pursuit: Our album, without a doubt. We feel like it is such an outpouring of who we are and our evolution over the past couple years. It’s like we have given birth to our own child. So much love, nurturing and hard work has gone into this project. Our resources and time have been singularly focused towards this and we could not be prouder of how it has turned out. We worked with so many great musicians and our Producer, Phillip Moseley was a great asset. They have been invaluable in helping us birth this album.

Johnny: What has been your favorite moment, on stage or off, as a group so far?

Blind Pursuit: I think it has been a thousand small moments of connection with our fans. We’ve heard stories where our songs touched someone going through a divorce, or something we sang really resonated with someone going through a tough time, and you just stop for a second after the mad rush and adrenaline goes away, and you think about how you’re affecting people and the connections you’re making. When we see people singing along with our songs, grabbing their person and dancing, when you see an emotional reaction – that’s the good stuff, the reason we do what we do.

Johnny: What is in the works for the year?

Blind Pursuit: We’ve got another handful of songs and hopefully, that will translate into a new project as well. Whether the next step is an EP or a full-length album is yet to be determined.

Johnny: What’s in the water down in Palestine, between Blind Pursuit, Blacktop Mojo, Kolby Cooper, and others… seems like Palestine has become a serious music town. What’s your take on it?

Blind Pursuit: Every once in awhile, “magic” happens in the most unlikely of places. If you’ve seen the documentary on Muscle Shoals and the music that came out of that small studio in Alabama, then you kind of have insight into the madness behind the magic.

All these acts from Palestine are backed by the most awesome community of people who rally behind us and get the word out, grassroots style. The people here truly love music and they believe in us, or we wouldn’t be able to do what we love. We have a connection, not only through the town we’re from but through our producer and the studio we’ve all recorded at, Audioworx.

Johnny: What experience do you hope first timers will have at a Blind Pursuit show?

Blind Pursuit: Someone recently left a review on our Facebook page that sums it up perfectly: “Bet you will leave their concert feeling like your soul is a little more free than when you walked in.” We hope that everyone will leave feeling a little lighter and a little more connected to their fellow man. In a world where we are bombarded with distractions, we hope people can come and reconnect and feel more human than when they came in. We hope the love and passion that we have for life and music can be felt and translates well to concert goers.

Blind Pursuit can be found at facebook.com/Blindpursuit and blindpursuit.com.

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