Musicians meet their match
Members of the four-man funk-rock band Wisebird claim the abundant locks of natural curls atop each of their heads is purely coincidental. Just a happy accident, they insist.
But the hair does seem to mirror the group’s internal dynamic. The band can arguably be creased down the middle and folded in two: Wisebird unites a set of two best friends and long-time music duos with very similar histories.
The Salt Lake-based founding members of the original Wisebird band, drummer/banjo player Dave Meservy, 24, and guitarist Will Webster, 26, recall meeting each other for the first time eight years ago. The band name comes from "Will’s healthy appreciation for owls" and a song the guitarist wrote, according to Meservy.
Guitarist Damien Roomets, 27 and keyboard player Trevor Nealon, 27, met each other around the same time while playing football at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire, and now live in Park City. Roomets and Nealon were part of the local band, A-Frame.
Meservy began his interest in music with jazz, studying with jazz percussionist Don Main, of the Salt Lake "Big Band" group, New Deal Swing, founded by Utah Symphony musicians in 2003. Webster has a background in classical guitar (he sites 19th century Italian composer Niccolo Paganini as a "huge influence"). The original music they prefer to craft, however, is derived from a passion they share for "soulful, good rock ‘n roll," says Meservy.
Wisebird ultimately calls their sound "modern rock with strong roots in blues and country," and list musical influence American Country singers Merle Haggard, Willie Nelson, and Motown’s Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye.
Both appreciate the musical education that Nealon and Roomets have amassed through their experience together in bands and from Dartmouth’s music program.
The two halves of the band mesh well, says Meservy, and it "comes from listening to music and taking chances and the fact that we don’t really have any weak links."
"This is definitely the best band I’ve ever played with," chimes Webster. "My whole life I’ve been looking for people I can see eye-to-eye with. Everyone in this band is so good."
The two teams had known about each other for a few years, but only officially began to play together as "Wisebird," on Halloween of last year and have continued to play together since.
The band has been booked regularly throughout their first winter together an average of six times a month, they say at Salt Lake venues such as Hog Wallow Pub, and Liquid Joes, and Park City private clubs The Spur Bar and Grill and The Sidecar. They will play at the Desert Rocks Music Festival in Moab this May, and are in the process of recording their first album together.
Now that the four have found each other, their plan is to move full speed ahead, this summer they will be touring the United States.
"Let’s put it this way," says Roomets who currently works as a Mountain Host at Deer Valley Resort. "I won’t be starting a new job at the end of the ski season this year."
"We’re paying off debts and finding ourselves playing with the best two musicians we’ve ever played with," he continues, speaking on behalf of both Nealon and himself. "So we’re going to try to see what music can bring us by dedicating ourselves to it."
Wisebird will play this Friday, March 23 at 3 p.m. at The Canyons Resort as part of The Canyons/Mountain Town Stages Spring Concert Series. The concert will take place at The Forum in the Resort Village, accessible by Cabriolet from the lower parking lot. For more information, visit http://www.thecanyons.com .
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