May 30, 2012 07:06 AM WV Sound
Keeping a beat in the Mountain State
Get on Board with The Boatmen
The members of Beckley’s The Boatmen played in various groups alongside each other before 2009, but something just seemed to click when the five of them came together.
“Life happens and sometimes maybe fate brings people together to do great things. The Boatmen formed in 2009, but we've never felt better as a group. Three years is a good bit of time, but everything still feels new. We are constantly evolving and entering new chapters in this group’s life,” says bass guitarist and vocalist Nick Durm.
The Boatmen is Nick Durm on bass guitar and vocals; Randy Gilkey on lead guitar, keyboard, harmonica, and vocals; Robert Gross on djembe, percussion, and vocals;
Matt Mullins on acoustic guitar and vocals; and Jonathan Sneed on guitar, resonator, banjitar and bass.
While The Boatmen have a bluegrass and rock influenced sound, they prefer to describe their music as Americana Soulgrass. “We feel that it’s a blend of harmony driven, rootsy, real down to earth music. It could really mean anything you want it to mean. Everyone will take away something different from our music. That might be the best thing about us,” Nick says. At the band’s live shows, the guys are all about enjoying the moment. “Live in the now. Love your friends. Love yourself,” Nick says.
The Boatmen write their songs collaboratively and tend to finish songs as a group, too. “Sometimes they already have lyrics. Sometimes we sit around and write them together. A lot of our songs we all sing on, so we all write our own lyrics for our individual verses. We're really lucky to have such great writers and musicians in this group that it’s hard to define our music as just lyric-driven or music-driven,” says Matt Mullins, acoustic guitarist and vocalist for The Boatmen.
On The Boatmen’s debut self-titled CD, the group came from different angles to find their sound and write the material. “Our debut album was something unique to all of us. It was a coming together of so many different influences and musical directions that it came out as a melting pot of all genres really. We love it and I think you can hear the excitement on that record,” Nick says.
The Boatmen are currently working on finishing up a second album, which they’re recording at Big River Records in Fayetteville, West Virginia. The Boatmen have also done some work on the album with Bud Carroll at Trackside Studios in Huntington. They plan to release the album this July at FloydFest, July 26 to 29 in Floyd, Virginia.
“We're very excited about this release and think it really expresses who and where we are as a band,” Nick says.
See The Boatmen live:
Sunday, June 10, 2012, Arts Alive on the River, Morgantown
Saturday, June 16, 2012, Badlands Bluegrass Festival, Williamsburg
Saturday, June 30, 2012, Shepherdstown Street Fest, Shepherdstown
Thursday to Sunday, August 23 to 26, 2012, Camp Barefoot Music and Arts Festival, Bartow
Sunday, September 9, 2012, Poor Farm Fest, Williamsburg