To many, Blackberry Breeze may sound like a “fruity alcoholic drink” or a southern slogan, but for college students down South, it sounds like a good show. Trey Foshee, vocalist and lead guitarist, thought the name had just the right ring to it.
Blackberry Breeze has made many stops in Auburn as well as other SEC college towns. The band majors in rock, pop, hip-hop and cover songs. Or as the band summed it up, anything that’s fun and can get the crowd going.
From Dadeville, Alabama, the band came together in 2012. Today’s Blackberry Breeze consists of only two of the original members, making the team Foshee, Paul Blankenship on vocals and bass guitar, Jake Rodgers on vocals and drums, Jonas Schultz on saxophone, keyboard and vocals and Michael Keyes on sound system and lights.
“We came together wanting to play music we listened to growing up,” Foshee said. “The music that took us back when we were having fun — having a good time. We started mixing a bunch of music together, and it became ours.”
Rodgers said the band has a unique sound that comes from the medleys the band puts together. By taking the best parts of multiple songs and arranging them to complement each other, the band reaches a larger demographic, Rodgers said.
Their demographic predominately stretches the Southeast, where they play for colleges, weddings and some bars. Their start came when Foshee won a local singing competition and drew the attention of a bar owner looking for a band to book. At this time, the Blackberry Breeze many of us know today wasn’t who showed up for that gig. It wasn’t until the second time she booked them that Foshee gathered the founding members of the band to perform together.
“We all had our own thing to bring to the table, so it wasn’t just me building this band,” Foshee said. “We got together and brought all of our strengths to the table and made a pretty fun band out of it.”
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Blankenship and Foshee are the only two founding members are actively involved. Despite a few of the members leaving, the band has stayed true to the original party sound, Foshee said.
One of the former members currently works for SpaceX, and the other is an emergency room doctor. The band joked about Rodgers’ possible career in space travel. Rodgers laughed and said he’ll be sticking around for a while.
Those that have stuck to the music have made it their main priority, as the band members do not have second jobs. Foshee and Rodgers said they regard Blackberry Breeze as their day job and Curse of the Webelo as their side job.
Curse of the Webelo, a working title, is a new project for the Blackberry Breeze gang. Foshee said the new band is specifically for the creative, original side of the group.
“We have decided to split our ventures and keep Blackberry Breeze a cover band, because that is what people expect when they come to see us,” Foshee said. “We built a whole new band to showcase our new stuff.”
Curse of the Webelo’s first performance is this Saturday, March 11 at Derailed Bar & Grill. Foshee said they have a reggae, funk and rock sound.
In terms of creation, both Foshee and Rodgers concurred that writing is a conjoined effort for the band. Everyone contributes equally, Rodgers said.
The name of their new band came from Schultz’s experience in Boy Scouts, as webelo is a rank in the program. Rodgers said it started as a joke, and it stuck. The band laughed and said in their minds, the webelo is the deadliest animal.
The band is excited to try something new and share it’s original sound, while still sticking with Blackberry Breeze, Rodgers said.
Blackberry Breeze will always be high-energy, get on your feet music, Rodgers said. With playing the crowds favorites, there is little standing around silent happening.
“You can tell if a crowd is there to get wild or if they are a more conservative crowd that goes with just being in a band and knowing what to play in certain situations,” Rodgers said.
Rodgers enjoys playing “Mr. Bright Side” and Foshee said he can get down to anything with a “reggae vibe.” The band plays what they listen to and what they like as a way to be true to their sound.
Foshee said musicians have to be real on stage. If you’re pretending to have fun while performing, the crowd will pick up on that, Foshee said. The band has gotten so “real” at times it sent Blankenship right through the floor boards while performing at Georgia Tech. While jumping, dancing and singing on stage, Blankenship came down from a leap and landed waist-deep in the stage.
Rodgers said Blankenship continued to play while stuck in the floor.
The group hopes to continue forward this year, having even more fun while jamming out and making music.
As the band, or bands move forward they have goals set for themselves, including a self-funded 21-day tour. Foshee said he hopes Blackberry Breeze will get on the road and have a successful tour throughout the Southeast in 2017.
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