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Story published: 06-07-2011 • Print ArticleE-mail Story to a Friend

The Twang Bangers to headline Relay For Life on June 10


By Kristen Swing
Executive Editor

If you ask Jonesborough resident Tyler McCoy what spurred him and his buddies to form the local band, The Twang Bangers, he’ll tell you they were just having fun playing some music. But the truth is, talent created this group, one that is now seeing a huge surge in popularity both locally and throughout parts of the southeast.

The Twang Bangers, formed in 2008, includes six members, five of whom are either current students or alumni of the East Tennessee State University’s Bluegrass, Old Time and Country Music program.

“That’s how we met each other,” McCoy explains. “It really just started as a group of us playing around.”

The band includes McCoy on guitar and vocals, Aaron Jackson on guitar and vocals, Brent Strange on drums, Burl Williams on bass, Clint Riddle on lead guitar and vocals, and Wes Holtsclaw on lead vocals.

Abe Spear, an original member of the band, left The Twang Bangers to tour with country star Josh Thompson, whose current song, I Won’t Be Lonely Long, is getting major airtime on radio stations.

“When Abe was called to go to Nashville, I think that’s when we really realized we had some talent here,” McCoy said of the band and its members. “That’s when we got serious about it.”

While the band will play just about anything – except, maybe rap – its main focus is southern music.

“It’s southern rock and traditional country music thrown together. We’ll play anything from Garth Brooks and Tom Petty to Marvin Gaye and Townes Van Zandt,” McCoy says. “We all have completely different tastes in music. I think that’s one of the reasons we’ve done so well.”

The Twang Bangers play three to four gigs a month during the summer. The group was the first independent band to ever play the infield at the Bristol Motor Speedway prior to a night race. Collectively, members of the band have played alongside national artists such as Trent Tomlinson, Cowboy Troy, James Wesley and Delta Saints and performed at venues such as Nashville’s famed Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge.

The Twang Bangers will take on some new adventures this summer, too, performing at weddings for the first time and heading out of town for shows booked throughout areas of Tennessee as well as in Alabama, South Carolina and Kentucky.

And with seven original songs already under their belts, members of The Twang Bangers are looking to create their first album this fall.

“We’ve had a few offers to go to Nashville to work with producers,” McCoy says. “But we’re undecided on whether we want to leave home to do it or stay right here where it all started.”

In the mean time, the group is gearing up to play a free show on Friday, June 10 as a part of the Relay For Life of Washington County. The outdoor concert, set to take place at Indian Trail Middle School on Car Mol Drive in Johnson City, will feature several of The Twang Bangers’ original songs as well as plenty of covers.

“We’ve all – everyone in the band – been directly or indirectly affected by cancer,” McCoy says. “And we want to do all we can to help find a cure.”

For more about The Twang Bangers, visit www.ourstage.com/epk/thetwangbangers or find the band’s page on Facebook.

For more information about the Relay For Life event, call the American Cancer Society at 282-7009.