by Dan Schram
A little more than two years ago, Rachel Koontz — then a bartender at my favorite sports bar on earth, Woody's City Market — told me she was starting a band. And she was serious too. Slowly over these past two years she has not only built a solid supporting cast around her with the help of local banjo ace Hank Smith (Barefoot Manner, Kickin' Grass, Monkey Navigated Robot) but also carved out regional notoriety that has translated into a fairly busy touring schedule.
This success has come despite one obvious difficulty: The band's sound falls into three or four genres, which explaining to an already skeptical club owner can be difficult. There are elements of jazz, folk, bluegrass and soul as well as a few others. However, it really takes just one song to hear the strength of this group. The solid instrumentation provided by Shawn Chase, Pattie Hopkins, Mike Rosado, Jamie Dawson and Hank Smith complement Koontz's soulful voice in the most perfect of ways.
Today's video is an ideal blend of what makes The Morning After such a strong group. Here they are covering Patty Hurst Shifter's song "Higher Ground." Catch The Morning After at Shakori Hills GrassRoots Festival Thursday, Oct. 4, 8 p.m. at the Dance Tent.
The purpose of the Independent Weekly's Simple Music Video Series is to capture local and touring musicians who we feel are producing something special. The hope is to capture something very simple in order to mirror the experience of viewing a performance as if you were in a small crowd watching a quiet set. We hope for content of the music to be the primary focus of the series, not multiple camera angles meant to keep the viewer guessing and entertained.
Most bands featured in the series will be a sample of the deep pool of talent in the Triangle, while others will represent some of our touring favorites.