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HesperiaStar.com
  • High D Boys folk band brings different twist to popular tunes

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  • According to Apple Valley native and musician Philip Clevinger, the sweetest music can be made on the simplest and most inexpensive instruments. Take, for instance, the washtub bass that he plays in the High D Boys folk band. It’s known for producing a variety of rich tones that can take a bluegrass or folk tune to a whole new level, Clevinger said.
    In his opinion, it’s far more interesting to play than traditional instruments and certainly one of the world’s most economical.
    “I was originally going to play the tuba in the band,” said Clevinger, who will appear with the High D Boys at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Hi Desert Book Oasis’s free concert series at 12046 Jacaranda Ave. “But I was at a festival one day and there was a family playing there on homemade instruments. They brought out this washtub bass and I knew right then what I was going to do.
    “I went to the hardware store and $20 later, I had my instrument.”
    Clevinger’s trip to the hardware store took place in 2011 right around the time the High D Boys were getting started. The group’s original vision was to be a jazz band featuring ukulele. But Clevinger said the ukulele player left early on, so the remaining members decided to go in a different direction.
    Along with Clevinger, its current lineup includes Dan Reyes (guitar), Mike Telly (banjo) and Rob Keil Blomker (lead vocals).
    Music fans who attend a High D Boys concert will be treated to unique versions of popular ballads to country and swing tunes, Clevinger said. Among their set list of songs is Louis Armstrong’s “What A Wonderful World,” Bill Withers’ “Ain’t No Sunshine When She’s Gone” and Britney Spears’ “Hit Me Baby One More Time.”
    “I always tell people that we play all your favorite songs in ways you didn’t know you liked them,” said Clevinger. “For example, here we are a bunch of guys playing Britney Spears. But we make it work.”
    Along with originality, Clevinger credits the High D Boys’ success to their zany on-stage antics — jokes, sarcastic remarks and comedic banter between the musicians.
    “Somehow we found a way to mix comedy in with what we do and I think that’s the formula that keeps us working,” said Clevinger. “Most of our humor is skit-based that we perform either during or in between songs. Our audiences really seem to be entertained by it.”
    Over the High D Boys’ three-year career, the quartet has performed everywhere from the High Desert Center for the Performing Arts in Victorville to Mavericks Stadium in Adelanto.
    The group also has released two CDs that feature an eclectic mix of songs the band plays on stage, including Charlie Chaplain’s “Smile” and the Smothers Brothers’ “Boil That Cabbage.”
    “It’s difficult to describe to people exactly what we do,” said Clevinger. “You just have to see for yourself but I think most everyone who checks us out will be happy they did.”
    Visit www.facebook.com/High.D.Boys info for more information.
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