You know the guy looks familiar, but some how out of place—the one coaxing the blues out the mouth harp. Where have you seen him before?
The blue jeans and faded T-shirt don’t give him away. If he had on a coat and tie? Maybe.
It’s likely you’ve seen him on a television news program or in newspaper photo. That’s Botetourt County Commonwealth’s Attorney Joel Branscom, who puts crooks away in his home county, but has been called all over Southwestern Virginia as a special prosecutor.
Branscom plays harmonica for the three-year-old band Solrevolt, which is releasing its first CD during a release party Saturday, Feb. 27 at Blues5 Restaurant in Downtown Roanoke (the public is invited).
Branscom’s not the only lawman (of sorts) in this band of six blues lovers, nor the only Botetourt boy. The guy on the drums, Buck Sink, is a Blue Ridge native.
Solrevolt also is comprised of four Roanoke City Forensic Crime Scene Investigators—Chad Sacra is on keyboard and vocals, Sink on drums, Rick Drewery on rhythm guitar and Travis Barber on bass guitar.
Lead guitarist and vocalist Scott Neal’s background, the band members say, is “shrouded in mystery.” Neal hails from the Cave Spring area while Barber and Drewery are from Vinton. Sacra lives in Bedford County.
The band plays its own original music, which members say is heavily influenced by blues, but they play some rock ‘n roll, too, as is borne out by the self-titled CD “Solrevolt.”
The band formed in 2007 when Buck, Scott and Chad joined with Drewery to form the band after playing in another group. Solrevolt was born out of their desire to find their own sound.
Branscom stepped in with his harmonica at the same time he was serving as president of the Virginia Association of Commonwealths Attorneys and chairman of the Commonwealths Attorneys Services Council, a state agency.
He’d already played with The Doorkeepers, Blue Calhoun, The Electric Barbecue Space Lawyer Band (one gig) and, occasionally, The Guard. He also sat in with Bob Margolin, Billy Wirtz, and Saffire.
Sink grew up in the Blue Ridge area and began playing drums in the sixth grade. “There is something about the crack of a snare drum and the low end boom sound of the bass drum, that calls me back to playing the drums,” he said.
After a 20-year hiatus from playing, Buck took some lessons from a local Highland drummer from a bagpipe band, and started playing snare with a piper. Then, he said, the drumming bug bit him once again.
He and co-worker and keyboardist Chad Sacra started talking music, and the two called together
some other musicians and started playing.
“Drumming is a release for me, it is a very unique instrument in that you can keep it as simple as you like, or dress it up and add as many pieces of percussion as you want,” Sink said.
Sink said he likes to keep things simple with Solrevolt, playing a four-piece acoustic set, and he enjoys being the heartbeat of the rhythm section.
The other band members all have musical backgrounds they’ve molded into a band that plays familiar and what members call original music they say is heavily influenced by blues and rock artists such as B. B. King, Eric Clapton, the Allman Brothers, among many others.
Drewery says it’s hard to classify the band because it’ll play blues and some rock ‘n roll, or rock fusion.
Solrevolt has performed for a fundraising benefit show at Blue5 Restaurant for injured Roanoke City Police Officer Brian Lawrence in June 2008, as well as two other related events following.
The band also opened for the national blues recording artist Candye Kane at Blue5 in November 2009.
Now, the band performs monthly at area venues, and the band’s schedule of upcoming events can be viewed at its website, www.myspace.com/solrevoltband.
Solrevolt’s new CD, “Solrevolt” will be available at the upcoming February 27 event at Blue5 at 9 p.m., and the band very much hopes that anyone who loves improvisational rock and blues music will come, Drewery said.
The band also performs and will have the new CD available at the Pomegranate Restaurant and Gathering Place at 106 Stoney Battery Road, Troutville, the following Saturday, March. 6 at 8 p.m.