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Unhinged Rock ‘n’ Roll

Josh Roberts and The Hinges play Surf Bar on November 26

By Miranda Steadman | Contributing Writer

In honor of the late and great musician Tom Petty, local rock band Josh Roberts and The Hinges (JRATH) have invited some of their talented musical friends to join them on The Charleston Pour House stage Dec. 1 to celebrate the songs of the beloved rocker. Guest acts will include other familiar Folly faces, such as Slaton Glover of The Travelin’ Kine, Campbell Brown from Gaslight Street, and Danielle Howle, as well as other talented local musicians such as Jordan Igoe, Ryan Bonner, Matt Williams, Mark Bryan of Hootie and the Blowfish, and more. But before the Petty Tribute show, you can catch Josh JRATH closer to home when they play Bar on Sunday, Nov. 26.

Comprised of a core of four talented musicians, JRATH features Josh and Leslie Roberts on guitar and vocals, Corey Stephens on bass and piano, and Dennis Ware on the drums. Since 2009, they have been blowing local music lovers away with their raw, unique sound. Husband and wife Josh and Leslie Roberts showcase their chemistry with perfect harmonies, while Stephens and Ware showoff their ample talents by providing a strong backbone with a rhythm section that ranges from pulsing to booming depending on whether the song is a mellow jam or a more raucous rocker like their crowd-pleaser “Hand of Man.”

Besides playing guitar, Leslie Roberts also plays banjo alongside her husband and band mate. The two met several years ago just before Leslie left the United States to teach English abroad in Prague. They kept in touch during her travels and Leslie joined the band when she returned to the country. Stephens comes from a Gospel music background, while drummer Ware digs the jammier music of The Grateful Dead and sometimes will often play with local dead cover band The Reckoning.

The core members first began performing live at the original location of The Pour House in West Ashley and have relocated their sound to the current location just up the road on James Island. You can often catch them playing on Folly Beach either as a full band or you can sometimes catch Roberts solo at Rita’s Seaside Grill.

Following a tour out west to Colorado, Kansas, and New Mexico this summer, JRATH wrapped up the recording of their new album, entitled Rainhead, to be released this spring. Ryan Monroe, a longtime friend of Josh Roberts and pianist of the Charleston-based band Band of Horses, is producing the album.

Monroe and Roberts played together in their band Captain Easy during the early 2000s, but their friendship dates back to their high school days at Dutch Fork High School in Columbia, where the two artists performed in the musical Grease together. The have remained friends over the years and JRATH opened up for Band of Horses at The North Charleston Coliseum back in fall of 2010.

The recording of Rainhead kicked off at Quadraphonic Studio in Nashville, where Neil Young recorded his album, Heart of Gold. Roberts expresses his appreciation for the music of Young, in addition to Bob Dylan, and The Rolling Stones, and says he is inspired by artists from the early days of blues music as well as pre-war folk artists.

“We wanted to make a tight rock n’ roll record,” says Roberts. JRATH was joined in the studio by a local pedal steel player featured on a few of the tracks on the album.

The Rainhead recording process relocated to Southern Tracks Studio in Atlanta, where local horn players collaborated on the recording and sound engineer Vic Stafford invested his skills in the studio. JRATH anticipate the release of their new album this spring.

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