By SAMANTHA WATSON
Marketing, Ignition Music Garage
James & the Drifters have always kept two goals in mind for every performance, to give positivity and play from the heart. The aphorism has served them well as the band is one of the most talked about and loved groups in Fort Wayne’s underground music scene. Their sound is the transfiguration of modern pop folk into the likeness of the golden-era of rock.
Formed in the small town of Huntington in 2010, James & the Drifters was the collective idea of three folk artists pulling resources. Less than a month after sharing material Brent Chamberlin, Kyle Jackson, and Tyler Gault hit the studio and in eight hours the three men recorded over 20 songs featuring a wide-range of folk instruments: the banjo, lap-steel, accordion, drums, guitar, and rich three-part harmonies. “There was never a lack of songs and creative input,” Chamberlin says. And never have truer words been spoken. Over the course of the band’s four-year existence they have recorded three albums (about to release the fourth) and perform just about every weekend of the year.
Immediately after forming, James & the Drifters began booking shows and playing anyplace that would host them; playing weddings, art galleries, graduation parties, birthday parties, car shows, and of course the local Fort Wayne dive bars and restaurants. More recently the band has begun touring regionally, including stops in Chicago, Columbus, Indianapolis, Grand Rapids, and Nashville. Another aspect of the band’s mission to give positivity is performing charity events and putting on concerts for the incarcerated.
Stylistically the band has shaken off their dusty-folk/Americana-boots for the tough thick-skinned sound of rock and blues. Melodic guitar riffs float sweetly about one another while coastal three-part harmonies, pure and strong, move along within the rock driven rhythm section. Putting a finger on the sound of James & the Drifters typically hearkens to bands such as My Morning Jacket, Band of Horses, or Lord Huron, yet James & the Drifters offers a fresh perspective which flows down a path of its own right.
The band continues to tour regionally and gain followers by investing in relationships and creating friends. Their fourth album All That Gold released independently on August 5th 2014.
Old friends and previous band-mates Joel Squires (acoustic guitar, vocals) and Joshua Jacoby (electric guitar, vocals), armed with an idea for a certain kind of sound, got together and wrote the first songs that would define what would become Plaxton & the Void. The songs, built around Joel’s lyrics and acoustic guitar, aim to be lofty, dynamic and inspiring.
After some early successes on stage, a carefully thought out decision was made to bring in Dave McCall (bass) and Tom Wagoner (drums) to expand the group’s sound. Dave and Tom’s previous work together made them the perfect fit. The idea was to keep the music simple yet powerful. Dynamics were everything. After only a few months they were ready to go. With confidence in their songs, Plaxton & the Void headed into the studio to record its debut full-length album, Ides, released in December 2012.
In late 2013, Plaxton & the Void went back to songwriting, and wrote five new songs for the Still Alive EP. During this time, the band met keyboardist John Faulkner, who began jamming with the guys, eventually becoming the fifth member of the band.
With new songs and a bolder sound, Plaxton & the Void headed back in the studio. The music is still dynamic and heartfelt, but the arrangements are bigger, incorporating more of the members’ wide variety of influences.