On March 30, music lovers of all kinds packed into The Willow Tree in downtown Johnson City to see a show unlike any other.
The Willow Tree, a coffee shop, hosted the ETSU Country Music Bands, showcasing the different bands that are involved in the ETSU Bluegrass, Country and Old Time Music program.
The room was dark with all of the lighting focused on stage and the performers.
The music that was performed Thursday ranged from the more modern country music of the early 2000s to the nostalgic twang of the ‘50s and ‘60s.
One of the bands that performed that night was called Dapper Dan and the Sy-reens. The group consists of Roxanne McDaniel, Ricky Gentry, Ashley Griggs and Kayliegh Kemp.
“The band as we now know it has only existed for a couple of months,” McDaniel said. “It used to exist in another form with a different line up, and we were under a different name. Me and Rick are the only original members left.”
Griggs, the fiddle player for Dapper Dan, has been playing with the band for a year now.
“It was kind of similar stuff to what we do now,” Griggs said. “But this band has only been together for a couple months.”
When asked why they chose the songs they played, McDaniel replied jokingly, “Well, we’re sassy people, and we like sassy songs.”
Kayleigh Kemp, who sang some of the lineup, said the selection of songs they played were chosen for personal reasons.
“Growing up I listened to Sam Cooke, which was one of the songs we played tonight ‘Bring it all home to me,’” she said. “I also listened to Patsy Cline. I feel like they’re just timeless, classic songs.”
Collectively, the members of Dapper Dan and the Sy-reens have years of experience with music, whether it be on an instrument like the guitar or fiddle or on vocals.
“I like performing country music because it has substance,” Griggs said. “It has something to say. It has good melodies, and it says what it has to say in a way that draws people in. The song I did, ‘Never again… again,’ even the title makes you think!”