Jason Sanford is a pretty upbeat, positive guy, quick to laugh and even quicker to express thanks for the good fortune that has dramatically raised the profile of his band, Rosco Bandana, in the last year.
Despite being together for just a few months before entering the competition in 2011, the Gulfport, Miss.-based roots rockers trumped more than 10,000 other artists to become one of four regional winners in the international Hard Rock Rising battle of the bands.
“Here we are, this band from Mississippi, and we beat out dudes from New York and Boston and L.A., who would have had way more votes, you’d think, than us,” Sanford says. “But we won and were able to be part of it.”
Saturday, Aug. 9, Rosco Bandana will bring the full might of its lineup to bear presenting a blend of blues, rock, country and folk as the second headliner of this year’s Riverfront Nights concert series.
The 2011 victory changed just about everything for Rosco Bandana and greatly accelerated the pace of its growth.
Six months after performing at the Hard Rock Calling Festival in London that June, Rosco Bandana was the first act to be signed to the newly founded Hard Rock Records. With the label’s backing, its members secured a touring van and trailer and a deal to record their first album with producer Greg Collins (U2, Red Hot Chili Peppers, No Doubt) at The Nook Studio in Los Angeles.
IF YOU GO
• What: Riverfront Nights concert series featuring Rosco Bandana.
• When: 8 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 9; Kelsey’s Woods opens at 7 p.m.
• Where: Ross’s Landing, 200 Riverfront Parkway.
• Admission: Free.
• Phone: 423-756-2211.
• Website: www.riverfrontnights.com.
• Artist website: www.roscobandana.com.
Kelsey’s Woods is an Americana/country quintet based out of Knoxville. The lineup includes Dave Kennedy (guitar, mandolin, mouth harp, vocals), Russ Torbett (doghouse bass, guitar, vocals), Andrew Bryant (drums, vocals), Austin Stepp (lead guitar, fiddle, vocals), and Stevie Jones (Hammond organ, honky-tonk piano). For more information, visit Facebook.com/KelseysWoods.
ON THE GREEN
Wild Trails, a nonprofit dedicated to protecting local trails, is hosting a running and paddling fitness challenge. Participants will paddle the seven miles between Ross’s Landing and Chickamauga Dam or the two-mile route around Maclellan Island. An 8-mile, half-road/half-trail run on Stringer’s Ridge begins at 5 p.m., and a 5K road run will start at 5:30 p.m. L2 Boards will offer reduced-rate rentals on standup paddle boards and kayaks on-site.
There, they crafted the lavishly textured “Time To Begin,” and in the process, swelled from five members to the current lineup of seven. The size of the band placed the musicians in the unusual position of not having to make compromises in translating a heavily orchestrated studio project into a travelable live show, Sanford says.
“We can play every track as it appears on the album,” he says. “It’s weird. We all work together like this perfect jigsaw puzzle that just — woop — came together.
“It’s been quite the journey. I was talking to our attorney, and he’s helped many bands to get on their way, and he said, ‘You guys have experienced in three years what most bands experience in 15 years.’ It’s been a roller-coaster ride, in a good way.”
Contact Casey Phillips at email@example.com or 423-757-6205. Follow him on Twitter at @PhillipsCTFP.
Casey Phillips has worked as a features reporter in the Life department since May 2007. He writes about entertainment, consumer technology, animals and news of the weird. Casey hails from Knoxville and earned a bachelor of science degree in journalism and a bachelor of arts in German from Middle Tennessee State University, where he worked as the features editor for the student newspaper, Sidelines. Casey's writing has earned numerous accolades, including first and second place ...