Last year's Make-A-Band event was a huge deal for Central Oregon. There wasn't quite anything like that in town before and it teamed up some of the most ridiculously talented producers and musicians in the region. To recap, the series invited local musicians to perform at one of six events at Silver Moon Brewing. Producers then brought selected musicians together as a band, culminating at the Make-A-Band showcase at the Tower Theatre in Bend in November 2015.
Wayward Soul absolutely swept the competition—one of the few bands created for the event that stayed together over the last year.
"A lot of the credit for the band's formation has to go to Stacie Lynn Johnson of the Broken Down Guitars," says Cameron Harris, the bassist and band manager. "She was the 'producer' of the Make-A-Band event that hand selected each of the members of the band. I don't think any of us were attached to the band being a permanent fixture; rather, we were just interested in meeting new people in the local scene and having a fun experience, which the MAB format was perfect for. It was only after the audience's response at our debut performance at the Tower Theater a month later that we started to think that this could turn into something bigger."
Wayward Soul comfortably fits into the country and Americana genres, but also sounds equally at home playing funk, R&B, blues and bluegrass. The musicians' disparate experiences playing for a variety of different bands means there really isn't a genre they can't tackle. "I think one of the most interesting things about our band is the obvious differences in our musical styles and influences," says Harris. "At the outset, the conversation was that we would primarily focus on country and American roots music. With the country instrumentation (pedal steel, fiddle, mandolin) this seemed to be a logical choice. While the influences are pretty much all over the map, we are challenging ourselves to integrate those into a sound that represents each of us in some way."
The work they've done in the last year has really cemented how they sound as a band, not just in recordings, but the live show as well. "I think one of the most interesting things is that the performances are truly focused on the songs," says Harris. "Aaron Rehn, our primary songwriter, has a special gift for creating songs that sound like classics the first time you ever hear them. It's easy for a new band to cater to the party crowds and dish out easily digestible dance tunes, but that's not where our focus is. We are more interested in reaching people with the songs and vocal performances... trying to create special moments of connection between ourselves and the audience."
Monday, Dec. 26, 7pm
McMenamins Old St. Francis School, 700 NW Bond St., Bend