By Timothy G Beeman II
Winston-Salem’s uniquely wonderful music venue, The Garage, had a most genuine experience on Friday, August 30, 2013. Local band, The Genuine, was highlighted with special guests Old North State. Some libations to accompany the aural festivity and you have a musical celebration.
The night started with Old North State, a duo of brothers Dillon and Jantzen Wray. ONS are like alternative bluegrass in sound, but definitely traditional bluegrass in nature; subdued and properly melodic. They weren’t afraid to belt, however, and the fact that they’re brothers is a perfect explanation as to why the harmonies were so good. Armed with a banjo and acoustic guitar, Jantzen has a smoother baritone voice than his brother, while Dillon produces a more tenor range. Dillon spends triple duty with voice, hands and feet. In addition to singing, he is also playing acoustic guitar, a kick drum, and a pedal-based tambourine.
It felt as if they really wanted to break out some harder rocking stuff, but kept true to their bluegrass selves in songs like “Great White Buffalo” and “Hello, Darlin’.” The crowd, at this time, was a bit light but enthusiastic and welcoming for the boys. When they finished their set they were beckoned back to the stage with passionate “one more song! One more song!” chants. With a threat of a Taylor Swift song they didn’t disappoint when instead they delivered a “Weird Al”-esque rendition of Destiny Child’s “Say My Name.” For just being two of them, it was a powerful experience.
Explore more about Old North State HERE https://www.facebook.com/oldnorthstate
Next up was the headliner, The Genuine. Sounding equal parts Americana, progressive folk, and pop, The Genuine gives off a vibe not unlike The Civil Wars, at least in the live setting. Cohesion on stage doesn’t seem to be a problem and they enjoy each other’s company.
The affianced dual-lead singers Katelyn Brouwer and Matthew Allivato are not only in harmony romantically but perfectly in musicality. Dual-lead is probably not right but for most of the songs they sang note for note in harmony. Rarely did one or the other sing without some vocal backup. Katelyn and Matthew pulled off playing one digital piano together for many songs while Matthew sometimes stepped to another mic with acoustic guitar in tow.
Also on the stage was probably the most fashionably-stylish drummer seen in the Garage in a long time, if ever: Devin Forkel. He played a scaled down kit but with vigor and punch. The “golden boy” seemed to be the 18-year old UNC-Chapel Hill student and guitarist/vocalist, Gunnar Nagel. Gunnar provided lead vocals for a couple of songs. One, “Crimes,” he played on guitar in which Brouwer and Allivato provided stomping and clapping accents to Forkel’s intermittent drum parts. While Nagel’s vocals were more soulful than Allivato’s, he seemed a bit reaching at times or maybe he was trying too hard. That’s not at all saying he did a bad job; he’s only 18! His voice was quite distinctive and he sang with conviction. The band showed its command and comfort of the stage when Matthew broke a guitar string in the middle of a song. The band played on until the end of the song, thanks to Dillon Wray from Old North State rushing a replacement axe to the stage. There was one conspicuous hole in the band with the absence of a bass player. But the piano was written heavy in the lower register to somewhat offset that void. Katelyn’s vocals were powerful when she sang solo and disciplined when she was harmonizing. She played piano solo when not accompanying Matthew and was a skilled pianist in her own right.
This was the CD release party for The Genuine and they performed many selections from the album entitled Blooms. Those songs include “Western Carolina,” “The Spinning,” and the aforementioned “Crimes.”
You can read more about The Genuine HERE.
The crowd for The Genuine was heftier than for ONS and they poured in before the second act. The female constituency was especially excited and they were quite verbal. The atmosphere sent through the crowd from the stage was welcoming, warm and fun. The audience that witnessed this show, especially seeing both bands, received a mellow and enjoyable treat. Another great night “Under the Big Ass Fan.”