The Groove sends sounds echoing through countryside

Published 12:00 am Monday, September 22, 2003

Driving down the freshly, ivory-white graveled County Road 55, passersby will not be able to see it, but may certainly hear and feel The Groove.

The Dart has a funny way of working, and this week is no different. Nestled quietly in a wooded area of the lush green Lawrence County hills,

the sounds of live music reverberated through the air.

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A three-piece band still in search of a fourth, The Groove is a collaboration of musicians brought together by an unlikely source - The Internet.

As a singer, songwriter and guitar player, Stevis Baldwin has been living the life of a musician. For the past eight years, he has played music with his band The Groove that sometime included two or three others and sometimes was just himself.

"I travel around the U.S. with an acoustic guitar," he said. "On a Greyhound, in a van, I have done everything. It is what I do and what I am good at."

For the past year he has been playing with guitarist Mike Wolford, a 21-year-old guitar player from Marysville. Recently, the bass player and drummer quit the band leaving Baldwin and Wolford on their own.

Enter Perry Township resident Jeryl McComas.

While The Groove was a band without a drummer, it was a perfect fit with McComas because she was a drummer without a band until the group found each other two weeks ago on the Web site

McComas, who uses the stage name of "Rocket Red Hanna," has played drums for 15 years as a part of dozens of bands.

After her most recent venture fell apart, McComas said she is definitely feeling The Groove.

"I am hoping that this band will take me into more of a professional level of music," she said. "Touring and getting the band name out there is my goal to do with them."

With a wide spectrum of influences, the band plays about 75 percent cover songs with the rest originals.

The Groove's music runs the gambit from classics such as America, Otis Redding to modern bands like Pearl Jam, Creed and Incubus.

The members hope they can play something to appeal to any crowd.

When asked to sum up the music they play, the whole band looks kind of perplexed.

"Every song is different," Baldwin said. "It is all just emotions put together with music. It is not so much about lyrics. Our music can't be put into a genre. Really, I just take bits and pieces of music I hear and put it together in a way that I like it."

Already on a small independent label, Hampton's Entertainment Group of of New York, Baldwin released an album early this year on which he did everything, but is now excited about getting the new incarnation of the band out there.

He plans to do it without a major label calling all the shots.

"Major labels are fine, but you end up singing someone else's songs," he said. "They don't mean anything to you and may sound kind of stale."

So as Baldwin and Wolford drive the couple hours to practice a few times a week to get ready to hit the studio, they agree it is all worth it.

"A lot of people don't think there is an opportunity to play real music," Baldwin said. "They don't put much heart into it. Its really kind of sad."

The Dart is a weekly feature in The Ironton Tribune in which a reporter throws a dart at a map of the county and finds a story where it hits.