Joel Young Band
“We are a cover band that is just about to write songs,” says Joel Young of the Joel Young Band. While the rest of his band gathered around a small table with my tiny tape recorder, laughed. Those words, and the casual attitude behind them, describe the laid-back attitude of Young and his band.
I got lost a few times trying to find Young’s country home where his band was meeting for practice. His basement, where they were waiting for me, was littered with instruments that appeared to be long forgotten – along with a pool table and a little booth from a restaurant that we all crowded into so I could pry out their history.
The Joel Young Band are a ragtag group of wizened musical philosophers who represent a broad cross-section of local musicians. Gary McMeekin, aka “Meatball,” has been a musician for most of his life and has played with all manner of groups. Now he is happy just to play lead guitar with Young and his gang of “seasoned, countrified rockers,” as their website states. Then there is the young Mitch Dimke on bass, Joe Flores on drums and Fred Feipel on guitar. Young is, of course, frontman and singer for the group; he also plays acoustic guitar.
In their most recent incarnation, the Joel Young Band have existed for a little over a year, but they lived before under the name Amarillo. Before Young joined Amarillo, he played for 14 years in the close-knit group ButtonHead. Young used his knowledge of music theory and extensive experience to write, create and produce two original CDs with the group, but he suggests that band’s familiarity might have been its downfall.
“At one point there were three of us, and we were really good friends. We did all the writing, and I think maybe we just got too close because people started expecting things to be the same all the time, and it’s a business too, and sometimes you have to tick somebody off.” ButtonHead started hemorrhaging members, but the nature of the group didn’t allow for the simple replacement of those lost members with new musicians, and one day it just fell apart.
It was the day after the demise of ButtonHead that Young got the call to action. Literally. The lead singer of Amarillo at the time called to tell Young he was retiring and needed a replacement. Young went out to sing for the group and after a day’s deliberation, the band accepted him as replacement for their lost frontman.
Amarillo played together for six months before parting company to pursue other projects, but six months later they found themselves back at the beginning and wanting to re-form the band. The drummer at the time, Scott Byler, didn’t want to regroup under the same old title though, suggesting instead the name of the Joel Young Band.
But the band I talked to was still not formed yet. Over the next few months members dropped out and were replaced. Three members in three months. The resulting group sat before me that night very much united in their strength of conviction to just play music, drink and write some originals eventually. Probably.
How are those originals going to sound? Either the band can’t agree on one sound, or they all agree on all sounds. Either way, as Young says, “the avenue will be wide.”
McMeekin says, “I think I’d like to do country and make it sound like country, and do some rock and make it sound like rock. I don’t think its going to be one thing or the other.” He makes it sound like writing and practicing might become difficult.
But according to Dimke, it all flows seamlessly. “We went from a bluesy feel the other night, to rock, and then a little bit of country.”
What troubles other bands doesn’t really bother the Joel Young Band. Of the petty squabbling and infighting that often plagues bands, Flores says, “We all have A.D.D.. and we forget about things pretty quickly. So when somebody looks at us the wrong way, we’re mad about it for 30 seconds, then we’re like, ‘What’s going on? Did you guys see that movie?’”
Young adds, jokingly, “As soon as the originals are written, then people are going to start quitting.”
In the meantime, the Joel Young Band will continue to play their crowd-pleasing covers that span the gamut from country rock to contemporary hits. They include artists like Blake Shelton, Queen, Brad Paisley, The Doors, The Violent Femmes, and Stevie Ray Vaughan. Plus, what country cover band would be complete without a little Skynyrd? When the subject of “Sweet Home Alabama” came up, though, there was a loud and collective groan. A good song in its own right, these guys seem to have covered it more times than they care to admit or remember. They play what the crowd wants, though, because sometimes that’s what gets you another booking.
It’s not surprising that bad financial times for businesses means bad financial times for bands too. The band has had their its share of slights recently – more personal than financial for some of the guys. “Obviously, it’s not about the money,” says McMeekin.
Flores is quick to counter, “I’ve got a kid on the way. For me it’s about the money.” He laughs while he says it, though.
Hard times or not, these guys are on their way to bigger and better venues if the listening populous enjoys good music at all. I was lucky enough to be serenaded with a sample of their musical styles before I left. The players come together like a symphony of personalities and talents culled from different musical backgrounds – a delight to the ears.
Whenever they get those originals written, if one should be powerful, the guys seem confident they can get it into the right hands. And hey, they just might take off. Until then, they’re happy to play at the bars and the Legion halls and generally wherever they get a crowd and free beer.
by Kathleen Christian
Friday, February 24, 2017
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Click header for complete Things To Do calendar
Summerbruise w/Stay Away, Jess Thrower — Rock at Brass Rail, Fort Wayne, 10 p.m., $5, 267-5303
All Fired Up — Rock at Latch String Bar & Grill, Fort Wayne, 10 p.m., no cover, 483-5526
Chris Worth & Company — Variety at Arena Bar & Grill, Fort Wayne, 9 p.m.-1 a.m., no cover, 557-1563
Classic Voice — Swing/variety at The Venice Restaurant, Fort Wayne, 7-10 p.m., no cover, (260) 482-1618
Dan Smyth Band — Variety at Mitchell's Sports Bar & Neighborhood Grill, Fort Wayne, 10 p.m.-2 a.m., $3, (260) 387-5063
Eric Clancy and Friends — Jazz/blues at Club Soda, Fort Wayne, 9 p.m.-12 a.m., no cover, 426-3442
Evan Lee Trio — Variety at Deer Park Irish Pub, Fort Wayne, 9 p.m.-12 a.m., no cover, 432-8966
The Hambricks — Acoustic vairety at Nick's Martini & Wine Bar, Fort Wayne, 8:30 p.m., no cover, 482-6425
Hubie Ashcraft — Acoustic at Country Heritage Winery, Laotto, 5-8 p.m., no cover, 637-2980
Joe Stabelli — Jazz at Don Hall's Gas House, Fort Wayne, 5:45-9 p.m., no cover, 426-3411
Kat Bowser — Variety at Don Hall's Guesthouse, Fort Wayne, 9 p.m.-12 a.m., no cover, 489-2524
Makayla — Variety at Duesy's Sports Bar, Fort Wayne, 9 p.m.-12 a.m., no cover, 484-0411
Morning After — Rock at Dupont Bar & Grill, Fort Wayne, 9:30 p.m.-1:30 a.m., cover, 483-1311
Teen Rock Takeover — Variety at C2G Music Hall, Fort Wayne , 8 p.m., $3, 426-6434
Todd Harrold & Nick Bobay Duo — R&B/blues/variety at O'Sullivan's Italian Irish Pub, Fort Wayne, 10 p.m.-1 a.m., no cover, 422-5896
West Central Quartet — PAWS fundraiser/jazz at Cottage Event Center, Roanoke, 7:30 p.m., $12, 483-3508
Big Dawg Karaoke w/Brian — Variety at Wrigley Field Bar & Grill, Fort Wayne, 7-11 p.m., no cover, 485-1038
Bradley Scott — DJ at Pikes Pub, Fort Wayne, 8 p.m., no cover, 478-6200
Bucca Karaoke w/Ashley — Variety at Tower Bar & Grill, Fort Wayne, 10 p.m., no cover, 436-6310
Classic City Karaoke w/Bryan Lee — Karaoke at Pine Valley Bar & Grill, Fort Wayne, 9:30 p.m.-1:30 a.m., no cover, 490-9464
Classic City Karaoke w/Juice — Karaoke at Meteor Bar & Grill, Auburn, 9 p.m.-3 a.m., no cover, 925-6226
Dance Party w/DJ Rich — Variety at Columbia Street West, Fort Wayne, 10:30 p.m., cover, 422-5055
DJ dance party — at Rum Runners, Fort Wayne, 8:30 p.m., ,
DJ Shawn — Karaoke/variety at Club Paradise, Angola, 10 p.m., no cover, 833-7082
DJ — Variety at Piggy's Brew Pub, Angola, 10 p.m., no cover, 665-7550
Fort Wayne Karaoke — Variety at Tap Haus, New Haven, 9 p.m., no cover, 493-6622
Fort Wayne Karaoke w/Jay — Variety at Coconutz @ Crazy Pinz, Fort Wayne, 9 p.m., no cover, 490-2695
Fort Wayne Karaoke w/Scott — Variety at JR's Pub, Leo, 9 p.m., no cover, 627-2500
Fort Wayne Karaoke w/TJ — at Chevvy's, Fort Wayne, 10 p.m., ,
House DJ — Variety at Early Bird's Ultra Lounge, Fort Wayne, 9 p.m., cover, 483-1979
House DJ — Variety at Flashback on the Landing, Fort Wayne, 9 p.m., cover, 422-5292
Karaoke w/DJ Chuck — Variety at DW Bar & Grill, Churubusco, 10 p.m., no cover, 693-8172
Karaoke — Variety at Coconutz @ Crazy Pinz, Fort Wayne, 9-11 p.m., no cover, 490-2695
Karaoke — Variety at Hamilton House, Hamilton, 9 p.m., no cover, 488-3344
Karaoke — Variety at Beamer's Sports Grill, Fort Wayne, 9 p.m.-12 a.m., no cover, 625-1002
Karaoke — Karaoke at Wrigley Field Bar & Grill, Fort Wayne, 7-11 p.m., no cover, 485-1038
Karaoke — Variety at Crooner's Karaoke Bar, Fort Wayne, 10 p.m.-3 a.m., no cover, 486-1979
Shooting Star Prod. w/Barbie — Variety at Uncle Lou's Steel Mill, Fort Wayne, 10 p.m., no cover, 436-5787
Sidecar Gary's Karaoke & DJ — Karaoke at 4 Crowns, Auburn, 10 p.m.-2 a.m., no cover, 925-9805
Sidecar Gary's Karaoke & DJ w/Kevin — Variety at Danny's Italian Grill, Fort Wayne, 9 p.m.-12 a.m., no cover, 484-4444
SureShot Karaoke w/David — Variety at The Green Frog Inn, Fort Wayne, 9:30 p.m.-1:30 a.m., no cover, 426-1088
Three Rivers Karaoke — at Bottle and Bottega, Fort Wayne, 8:30-10:30 p.m., no cover, 494-1020
Memphis — Fort Wayne Civic Theatre production featuring music from the underground dance clubs of 1950s Memphis, Tennessee, 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday, Feb. 24-25; 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 26, Arts United Center, Fort Wayne, $17-$29, 424-5220
Picasso at the Lapin Agile — Steve Martin’s absurdist comedy involving a conversation between Albert Einstein and Pablo Picasso in a Parisian cafe in 1904, 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday, Feb. 24-25 and 2 p.m Sunday, Feb. 26, USF Performing Arts Center, Fort Wayne, $10-$12, 422-4226
Stupid F*@%ing Bird — IPFW Department of Theatre’s performance of a comedic send-up of Anton Checkov’s The Seagull, 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday, Feb. 24-25, Williams Theatre, IPFW, Fort Wayne, $5-$16, 481-6555
William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet — all for One productions’ immersive-theater adaptation of the Shakespeare tragedy, 7:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday, Feb. 24-25; 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 26, PPG ArtsLab, Auer Center for Arts & Culture, Fort Wayne, $11-20, 422-4226
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22nd Annual Valentine’s Invitational — Works from local and national artists, Tuesday-Saturday and by appointment thru March 31 , Castle Gallery Fine Art, Fort Wayne, 426-6568
2017 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards — Award-winning works from northern Indiana and northwest Ohio middle and high school students, Tuesday-Sunday thru April 9, Fort Wayne Museum of Art, $5-$7 (members, free), 422-6467
Afros: A Celebration of African Hair by Michael July — Contemporary photography exhibit by Brooklyn author/photographer, daily thru April 14, D’Agostino Art Gallery, Indiana Tech, Fort Wayne, 399-8626
Beeswax & Baskets — Works of encaustic painting, basketry and woven sculpture from Ruth Koomler, Monday-Saturday thru Feb. 28, Orchard Gallery of Fine Art, Fort Wayne, 436-0927
Decatur Sculpture Tour — 31 original sculptures and 15 permanent exhibits on display, walking tour maps available, thru April 1, Decatur, free, 724-2605
Emily Geodesky — Contemporary photographs, Sunday-Friday thru Feb. 26 at First Presbyterian Art Gallery, First Presbyterian Church, Fort Wayne, 426-7421
Entropy — Daniel Swartz solo exhibition explores relationship between death and mourning through combinations of mythology, mathematics, multi-dimensional physics and pop culture, Monday-Saturday thru April 1, Jennifer Ford Art, Fort Wayne, 740-1309
Fort Wayne Artist Guild February Exhibitions — Works by Darlene Selzer Miller at Aldersgate United Methodist Church, Alice Siefert at Allen County Retinal Surgeons, John Kelty at Citizens Square (2nd and 3rd floors), Curtis Rose at The Einhaus Group for Women’s Health, Dick Heffelfinger at Heritage of Fort Wayne, Carolyn Stachera at Ophthalmology Consultants (Southwest), Linda Binek at Ophthalmology Consultants (North), Doni Adam at Rehabilitation Hospital of Fort Wayne, Anita Trick at ResCare Inc. Adult Day Service and Town House Retirement, Karen Harvey at Visiting Nurse Hospice and Brenda Baeumier and Randy Roberts at Will Jewelers, thru Feb. 28, fortwayneartistguild.org.
Fort Wayne, American Monologue — A new body of Fort Wayne-based works by Oakland, California-based artist Brett Armory, Tuesday-Sunday thru Feb. 26, Fort Wayne Museum of Art, $5-$7 (members, free), 422-6467
Generations: A View of Who Was Who — Works by Romare Bearden, Kara Walker, Alma Thomas, Jacob Lawrence and other African-American artists, Tuesday-Sunday thru April 9, Fort Wayne Museum of Art, $5-$7 (members, free), 422-6467
Glass: A Medium in Art and Automobiles — Dale Chihuly blown glass and fiberglass auto, daily thru Sept. 8, Auburn, $7.50-$12.50, 925-1444
IPFW Continuing Studies Professional Photography Graduate Exhibit — Photographs from 2017 graduates, Friday-Sunday thru March 5, Garrett Museum of Art, Garrett, 704-5400
Life in Full Bloom — Metal sculpture focused on a spirit of hope for women with breast cancer, Sunday-Friday thru Feb. 26 at First Presbyterian Art Gallery, First Presbyterian Church, Fort Wayne, 426-7421
A Mary Poppins Garden Party — Child-oriented garden exhibit, Tuesday-Sunday thru April 1, Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory, Fort Wayne, $3-$5 (2 and under, free), 427-6440
Moments in Time: Reflecting on the Human Spirit — Elizabeth Opalenik photographs from her recent Amish series A Journey Home and her Reflecting on the Edge exhibition, daily, Feb. 27-March 26 (artist reception and lecture, 5-7 p.m. Thursday, March 2), Visual Arts Gallery, IPFW, Fort Wayne, 481-6709
Outdoor Sculpture Invitational — Fifteen outdoor sculptures from regional artists, daily thru April 30, School of Creative Arts campus, University of Saint Francis North Campus, Fort Wayne, 399-7999
Patricia Biesen: Pastels, Ink Drawing & Acrylic — Works from Chicago-based artist recently relocated to Fort Wayne, Tuesday-Sunday thru Feb. 29, Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory, Fort Wayne, $3-$5 (2 and under, free), 427-6440
A Peek at the Studio Creations of Doc Wiedman: Traditional Carver of Wood Since 1980 — Nearly 70 original works by Huntington-based wood artist, Monday-Friday thru Feb. 28, Balentine Gallery, Arts, Commerce & Visitors Centre, Bluffton, 824-5222
RAW. Untamed. Unashamed. Visions of Freedom. — Abstract romanticist works in acrylics and epoxy from Kristy Jahn, Fridays and Saturday-Thursday by appointment, Feb. 25-March 25 (opening reception 6-9 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 25), The Gallery at Pranayoga, Fort Wayne, 423-9642
Semantic Sequences — Exhibition of letterpress prints by Stephanie Carpenter, assistant director of the Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum in Two Rivers, Wisconsin, Tuesday-Sunday thru March 24, Artlink Contemporary Art Gallery, Fort Wayne, 424-7195
Tim Brumbeloe Retrospective — A retrospective of local photographer’s works over the past 25 years, Monday-Friday thru March 17, Lupke Gallery, University of Saint Francis North Campus, Fort Wayne, 399-7999
Triangulations — Etchings and giclee prints, daily thru Feb. 28, Old Crown Coffee Roasters, Fort Wayne, 797-9821
A Winter Wonderland of Art — Works from over 20 artists including Norman Bradley, George McCullough, Austin Cartwright, Sayaka Ganz and more, Tuesday-Saturday thru Feb. 28, Crestwoods Frame Shop & Gallery, Roanoke, 672-2080
Woodcarvings by Dr. Larry Wiedman — “A peek at the studio creations of Doc Wiedman: traditional carver of wood since 1980,” Monday-Friday thru Feb. 24, Balentine Gallery, Arts Commerce & Visitors Center, Bluffton, 824-5222
Artlink Educational Programs — Art classes offered by Artlink Contemporary Art Gallery, dates and times vary, Artlink, Fort Wayne, fees vary, 424-7195
Fort Wayne Dance Collective Workshops — Workshops and classes for movement, dance, yoga and more offered by Fort Wayne Dance Collective, dates and times vary, Fort Wayne Dance Collective, Fort Wayne, fees vary, 424-6574
IPFW Community Arts Academy— Art, dance, music and theater classes for grades pre-K through 12 offered by IPFW College of Visual and Performing Arts, fees vary, 481-6977, www.ipfw.edu/caa
Sweetwater Academy of Music — Private lessons for a variety of instruments available from professional instructors, ongoing weekly lessons, Sweetwater Sound, Fort Wayne, call for pricing, 432-8176, academy.sweetwater.com
Tincture Trivia — Trivia night for teams of 4 or 6 people, 7-9 p.m. Tuesdays, Nick’s Martini & Wine Bar, Fort Wayne, free, 482-6425
Watercolor Instruction — Artist Tom De Somer of De Somer Fine Art Studio offers watercolor painting instruction 6:30-8:30 p.m. the first four Thursdays of each month, Indiana Wesleyan University, Fort Wayne, $144/four-week course, 805-328-8336, www.desomerart.com/classes