The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Local News

November 4, 2013

Halftime String Band performs musical blend at Tamarack

The Halftime String Band brought their classic mountain tunes to listeners at Tamarack during this week’s Sunday@Two.

This trio of talented musicians, Jason Jaros, Bob Spangler and Fred Crozier, hail from Morgantown, but they’ve traveled as far away as Alaska to share their unique blend of bluegrass, Americana and blues music.

Some songs were as soothing as a lullaby, but others had audience members clapping and tappin’ their feet along to the beat.

With song titles like “Hard Times in the City” and “Weary Man Blues,” The Halftime String Band takes pride in a simple country lifestyle through their lyrics.

The band members also said they enjoy the adventure West Virginia offers, whitewater rafting in particular, and that has inspired some of their music.

“We like to go whitewater rafting and Bob likes to kayak,” Jaros said. “So we decided to write a boatin’ song and it’s called ‘Paddle Your Blues Away.’”

Spangler made playing the upright bass look fun during this “boatin’ song” — He was all smiles as he strummed and plucked the strings, as if the song took him right back to the river.

The Halftime String Band also sang about a classic folklore hero, John Henry.

“So, what kind of man is John Henry today?” Spangler asked Jaros.

“John Henry is a steel drivin’ man today,” Jaros replied. “For Halloween, we turned him into a zombie killin’ man, but today, he’s a steel drivin’ man.”

The trio got their start back in 2003 and their music can be described as “jam grass,” as they have a heavy bluegrass influence, but there is no banjo or fiddle in their lineup — just a guitar, an upright bass and a mandolin.

While The Halftime String Band play many original compositions, one of the most notable aspects of this band is their musical mash-ups, like a song they performed at Tamarack, consisting of half of a Bob Marley song and half of a Wheeling songwriter’s song.

For more information or to hear a sample of their music, visit www.thehalftimestringband.com.

Next week’s Sunday@Two at Tamarack will feature Jeffrey Joe Buckland.

Sunday@Two performances are free. For more information, visit www.tamarackwv.com.

— E-mail: wholdren@register-herald.com

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