Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Without Band, J.b Beverley Trying Something New

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Without Band, J.b Beverley Trying Something New

Article excerpt

When you part company with the ones who always backed you up, you don't back up yourself. You push forward.

That's what brings singer-songwriter J.B. Beverley to town tonight without his longtime band, The Wayward Drifters, who have drifted wayward.

"This is new," said Mr. Beverley, who had produced four albums with The Wayward Drifters since forming the group in December 1999. "What brought this around was I had lineup changes for the first time in 11 years. My bass player retired from the road, and soon after that my banjo player decided he wanted to relocate to the West Coast. And suddenly, for the first time in more than a decade, I was a player without a band.

"I had a choice. I could go get some hired guns - but that's not that easy. So I had to do something new and different and take advantage of the fact that for the first time I wasn't bound to anything that I didn't want to do.

"I'm an old mountain boy and I'll never get away from that. But I had some down time and I just figured it was better to reinvent myself and try to do something different than to be static."

Mr. Beverley, who was born in Virginia and now lives in North Carolina, cut his teeth playing punk rock in bands called The Bad Habits, The Murder Junkies, and The Little White Pills. (Obviously, the songs weren't about rainbows and buttercups.)

Inside him, however, was a honky-tonk heart that found its beat with The Wayward Drifters, playing old-school country music - like they used to play in Nashville before everybody started wearing cowboy hats.

The group had some success and built up a following. They stopped in Pittsburgh a couple of times.

"I have a great deal of love and respect for the folks in Pittsburgh," Mr. Beverley said. "My dad's family is from the Appalachians in Virginia, but my mom's whole family is from Western Pennsylvania. Growing up, I always had a lot of respect for the people there.

"I've toured all over the world, and I always have a great fondness for towns that have had their industry messed with but the people haven't lost their spirit, their sense of humor, their sense of community. They persevere. …

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