Local heroes The Darktown Rounders are back, for a minute.
Thursday, December 9, 2004
Back in 2001, local roots music group The Darktown Rounders played a handful of farewell shows around Monterey before the band moved to Austin, Texas. At the time, guitarist/singer Jason Smiley was excited about the prospect of moving to what some consider to be the live music capitol of the world.
“I was ready to leave Monterey,” Smiley says. “I was ready to see what it was like to play music in a bigger city.”
But after arriving, our hometown guys found out there was a lot of competition in their new home. “It’s hard in a city with half a million people and a billion bands,” Smiley says.
Despite the challenges, Smiley says, The Darktown Rounders were fairly successful in Austin. According to Smiley, the band had regular gigs at venues like Egos and Black Cat before disbanding after a year. “It just kind of dissipated,” he says.
After the Rounders threw in the towel, both Smiley and guitarist Adam Roach started to perform as a part of country singer Danni Leigh’s band—Roach still plays with Leigh.
Then, Smiley moved back to Monterey a year ago.
Now, with Smiley in town for the holidays before moving with Leigh and her band to Spain, The Darktown Rounders are going to do a handful of reunion shows, with original drummer Nate Gonzales and new bassist Davey Ketchum. Thursday night’s show at Ocean Thunder will also feature original harmonica player Cole Holliday, getting a gig in before he moves to Wisconsin to attend nursing school.
Since members of the group will soon be living all over the world, Smiley does not expect the reunion shows to be a common occurrence. But with a handful of the group’s core members in town at the same time, Smiley could not pass up a chance at a band reunion.
“It’s like the Blues Brothers,” he says. “You have to get the band back together when you are all in the same spot.”
For those of you who missed The Darktown Rounders on their first run through town, the group puts its own spin on a mix of blues, country and bluegrass. Though most of the songs are originals, the Rounders sometimes toss in a cover of a Jimmy Reed or a Chuck Berry tune.
“I like to just call it Americana music,” Smiley says.
The Darktown Rounders play Ocean Thunder, 214 Lighthouse Avenue in Monterey, Thursday at 9pm. No cover. 643-9169.