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Live music: Trucker Troy plays the Colonial Tavern

Somewhere in Fredericksburg, a musical vortex sucked in Johnny Cash, Townes Van Zandt, Bob Marley and Creedence Clearwater Revival. Trucker Troy and the Convoy came out the other side.

Fredericksburg’s newest garage band is preparing to leave the garage. Its first official gig will be at the Colonial Tavern on Friday, Jan. 24. The band is made up of longtime players in the Fredericksburg music scene who first came together more than a year ago.

Singer and guitar player Troy Coghill said long stints on the road away from Fredericksburg inspired the name of the band, but it was also traveling that kept him from getting the band on track after their initial practices. Those early sessions included Larry Hinkle on drums and Mark Phelan on guitar.

“Mark, Larry and I got together about this time last year and did some playing in Larry’s woodshed,” Coghill said. “We were going to try to get something together as a three-piece. And then I left town for my job so that was it. Now I’m here full time. When I came back, I’d been thinking about it and wanted to ask the people I always wanted to play with to just come in there and jam.”

In true convoy fashion, Coghill picked up a few more truckers for the run. Mo Marsh is on percussion, Jeff Gandy plays keyboards and Mike Payne is on bass.

The band has been rehearsing for a couple of months and is finally ready for its public debut.

“There are a lot of originals,” Coghill said. “I think we play more originals than covers. They’re all over the place. It’s kind of like some Americana, straight up country, a little bit of jam-freak music in there and some blues and rockabilly.”

The mix of complementary styles and players is what makes the band unique. The Convoy is able to work such diverse influences into a coherent sound because the members have played together in different configurations over the years. There was no need to get to know one another—they were already close musical friends.

“Everybody in this room has played in so many different variations of music,” said Phelan.

Hinkle and Marsh, for example, have been playing together for years in The Transmitters, a local rocksteady and reggae band.

Even so, it’s not exactly business as usual for these seasoned musicians. Gandy is best known for his funky guitar chops with The Lowboys, and he’ll be handling the keys in the Convoy. Hinkle hasn’t played drums for a band in more than 20 years—his recent focus has been on guitar and ukulele. Hinkle admitted that he was a little rusty with the sticks, and needed some time to get back in proper form for a full-length rock show. But he didn’t have much of a choice.

“Mark gave me this drum set last year,” Hinkle said. “I’ve got to do something with it.”

As an added wrinkle, singer–songwriter Karen Jonas will join Trucker Troy and the Convoy on stage for its inaugural show.

“Since we were a new band doing a whole night, we thought it would be cool to have an opening act,” said Hinkle. “She’s going to open up solo and then, during our set, she’s going to come up and do six songs.”

Who knows how far the road will take Trucker Troy and the Convoy? There are some signs that it could be a long haul after the inaugural show.

“I’m all about recording demos and stuff,” said Hinkle. “After the gig, I want to try and focus on recording a little demo or something. Not overly produced, but a little bit more than having a microphone in the room while we’re practicing.”

“It’s gonna do what it’s gonna do, baby,” Phelan said.

Looks like we got ourselves a convoy.

What: Trucker Troy and the Convoy with Karen Jonas

Where: Colonial Tavern, 406 Lafayette Blvd.

When: Friday, Jan. 24, 9 p.m.

Cost: Free

Info: 540/373-1313

Stephen Hu crashed the gate doing 98, saying let them truckers roll. 10-4.

Permalink: http://news.fredericksburg.com/entertainment/2014/01/23/loaded-up-and-truckin/