Bands shouldn’t come together this easily.
Boothill Ridge formed six months ago with two sets of best friends — drummer Todd Rolfs and guitarist Tyler Kargl, guitarist/keyboard player Derek Frank and the singularly named Dusty on bass — plus Kodi Lynn, who is Dusty’s sister and Kargl’s girlfriend.
“It’s cheesy to say it, but we really are like family,” said Kodi Lynn, who, like her brother, drops the last name for her stage moniker. “We’re all just really close.”
Forming a band was the easy part for the Taylor Ridge and Andalusia, Ill.-based fivesome, four of whom are college students. Deciding what kind of music it should be was a little tougher.
Members of the group had been in various combinations of metal, pop, rock and blues bands until they decided to concentrate on country.
“We all really try to go for a big variety,” Frank said.
Looking at what was on country radio and the charts made the decision easier.
“It’s a modern country, and even modern country today isn’t really country,” Frank added.
Three months after it formed, the band recorded its first album, “5 Miles To Fame,” which will be released this weekend with a free concert in Milan, Ill.
Country fans will find a lot to like, band members say, comparing the sound on certain tracks with Rascal Flatts, Carrie Underwood or Lady Antebellum.
One of the band’s strengths is its four-part harmony, Boothill Ridge members say, and the fact that four of them — excepting drummer Rolfs — can take the lead vocals at any one time.
“It almost rotates, like four bands put into one,” Kargl said.
The next weekend, with copies of their CD in hand, they will head to Nashville to try their luck in Music City. They realize that a record contract and a fat paycheck won’t be waiting for them at the city limits, but they do have some performances and meetings lined up.
“It’s something that you have to be there and see it,” Dusty said.
“We don’t want to go down there with the attitude of ‘Oh, we’re going to get signed,’ ” Frank said. “We’ll see how it is.”
The group’s sound stands on its own, Rolfs said.
“Musically, we’re coming in with enough that’s similar to the country scene now but different enough to have people open their eyes,” he added.
The five, all Rockridge High School graduates, say that dates they’ve played at Quad-City clubs and festivals have been successful, so they feel they have the area’s support.
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“The difference that we have is we’ve got a strong community behind us, behind us 100 percent and encouraging us,” said Frank, whose parents’ basement hosts the band’s practices. “A lot of bands haven’t gotten this far in six months. Without sounding conceited or cocky, a lot of bands haven’t come this far in their existence. They become bar bands and stick that way.”
Their own community of five is strong as well, they said. The first line of their autobiographical song “My Band” goes, “Five people bunking in an apartment for two,” which describes their off-music life.
“It just sets the stage for all of us,” Kargl said.
IF YOU GO
What: Boothill Ridge CD release concert
When: 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. Saturday, March 7
Where: Au-Jus Neighborhood Bar & Grill, 1213 W. 10th Ave., Milan, Ill.
How much: Free
Show information: (309) 787-3439 or http://AuJusBarandGrill.com">AuJusBarandGrill.com on the Web
Band information: (309) 791-2814 or http://BoothillRidge.com">BoothillRidge.com on the Web