Hey readers! Hope your Valentine’s Day was the greatest. While you were undoubtedly gushing over a massive bouquet of roses or crying about gaining weight from all that chocolate, I was sick in bed, my romantic feelings extended only to a bowl of chicken noodle soup. But I’m back in black, or Black Bear, that is. You may be thinking, “How can she possibly be back in black bear? Did she have a psycho mutation in which a bear burst through her guts all because she was tussling with a bout of ‘Single Person’s Syndrome?!’” No— well, yes on being single. But no, my friends, unfortunately I did not transform into a massive, hairy beast of the woods.
Black Bear happens to be an oh-so awesome Kirksville-based band, another gem in the crown that is Adair County. However, my bear instincts tell me they won’t be in Kirksville long. With astounding talent and fresh, blues rock-inspired tunes, Black Bear will surely claw its way to the top of the musical totem pole.
Black Bear includes Blaine “Black” Daniels, who, when he’s not song-writing, graces the mic with sweet and heavy vocals. Blaine additionally plays the electric and acoustic guitar. Next up is John Castles, an intense performer and the greatest keyboard player since John Paul Jones. Also in the band is Luke McDuff, a man of few words, but a prodigal bass player. Band member Tyler Troutman whips away at the banjo and guitar as if he were plucked from a Mumford & Sons concert. The last bear is drummer Thad Daniels, who I did not have the pleasure of meeting — but don’t let that fool you, he can play.
Each of the guys fiddled around with music from a young age. John’s mom was a piano teacher. However, he never took classes from her. Blaine’s pop was a drummer for his own band. Luke started taking music seriously in 7th grade. Tyler’s story is my personal favorite. For his 12th birthday, he purchased a pink bass on eBay, but later traded it for a tattoo, which he claimed was “definitely worth it.” The band’s influences include a myriad of classic musicians: Spyro Gyra, Stevie Ray Vaughan, The Black Keys, Shuggie Otis and, the best of the best, Led Zeppelin. Each of the guys brings different tastes to the table. Blues, jazz, country, soul — whatever the genre, you’re sure to find it with Black Bear.
The band has written nine original songs, including two greats, “She Don’t Mind” and, a newer tune, “That Girl, She’s Gone.” Song writing is a team effort for Black Bear. The boys stated that they do in fact get nervous before a gig, despite how ridiculously talented they are (the bragging part being my words.)
When watching Black Bear, you know they’re not fooling around—and that’s not to say they don’t have fun. But their hard work and passion is so apparent to an audience. They lose themselves in the music, and when the performance is over and sweat is dripping from their faces, it’s as if they have just awakened from a musically induced state of ecstasy. I believe Black Bear is going to hit it big, so keep an eye out for these guys. You can check out their facebook page (and “like” it) here: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Black-Bear/221868914509128