Ona (Huntington, WV)
Ona, West Virginia is a small sliver of unincorporated ridges, creeks, and floodplains. It sprawls across Route 60 on its southern border and stretches up like a thick thumb almost reaching the Ohio River. It’s home to one stop light, an Exxon, and a consolidated high school. Driving out its roads, you snake through shadowy hollows past rural suburbia. People’s homes are tucked here and there where the folds of the land permit. A community of private property. Mortgaged acreages. You’ll see some trailers. You’ll see some estates. You’ll see a dog with one eye. You’ll see the Beulah Ann Baptist Church.
Ona is also a band that makes songs that take place in these spaces. Bradley Jenkins and Zack Owens write about passions slamming into roadblocks. They write about longing, resentment, searching, and waiting. They are backed backed by a tight rock and roll band comprised of Zach Johnston, Max Nolte, P.J. Woodard, and Bud Carroll. The six of them create music that pulses and buzzes and echoes and rolls. It feels like standing with sweat in your eyes in grass up to your knees. It feels like getting your tennis shoes wet walking along the banks of the river. It feels like catching a buzz off a bottle your buddy stole from his brother and skipping track practice. It feels like taking a long walk into the trees when you can still hear them arguing inside the house. Nobody in Ona is a millionaire. Everybody in Ona has to work in the morning.
After successful gigs opening for high-profile alternative-country and rock acts like Jessica Lee Mayfield, Chuck Prophet and the Buffalo Killers, the band released a two-song single collection, The Other Side of June, in December 2014. In a world where most cassette players reside in dumpsters and landfills, the tape miraculously sold quite well. The band's debut LP, American Fiction, is being produced by Bud Carroll at Trackside Studios in Huntington, West Virginia and scheduled for release in Summer/Fall 2015.
Tim Lancaster (Orlando, FL)
There is a great man in every story, but an even greater story in every man. I write songs to tell a story. I write songs to be part of a story: a story that someone could read as he sits on the bus, or while she waits for her prescription to be filled. Poetry is my way of keeping away from all that has become normal. It is a constant reminder to not slip into feeling content. Most of my songs revolve around such topics as the open road, love, lost love and death, inspired either by my illicit past or a future that I have thought on so often that I can taste it through the heels on my boots.
Traveling, being on the move, waking up in one place and closing my eyes in another seem to be of my only current affection. I want to experience as much as I can, in the time that I am given, touching on those who take the time to listen. I have no desire to obtain lavish monetary wages. There is much to learn from scraping by: the virtue of patience and appreciating the luxury of a generous filet.
One of the most overwhelming fears weighing in the pack of most every person is the despair of a heart stopped beating. When I was years younger and watching The Beverly Hillbillies, it was the first time I heard Hank Williams. Many emotions hit me, but the one that nearly knocked me out was realizing that Hank was no longer living on this planet, and yet he was so alive in that moment. You can’t kill a poet. You can take me, but you can’t take my song. Writing is my religion. It is my key to immortality.