Listen Up: The Reverent Hitchhikers

The Reverent Hitchhikers: Angelo Bologna (From left), Tim Barczak, Chase McKelvy, Brennan Whalen, Sinaed Shute-Black, Rory Laster and Marissa Moseley.

Photo by Michael Donahue // Buy this photo

The Reverent Hitchhikers: Angelo Bologna (From left), Tim Barczak, Chase McKelvy, Brennan Whalen, Sinaed Shute-Black, Rory Laster and Marissa Moseley.

The Reverent Hitchhikers are hitting the stage with their music, which lead singer Brennan Whalen describes as “country-leaning pop/folk with slight rock and roll influences.”

Their first stop will be Neil’s, where they will debut their band tonight.

“We’re all on a journey here musically,” said Sinaed Shute-Black, 22, who plays cello in the group that also includes rhythm guitarist/harmonica player Rory Laster, 25; banjo player Chase McKelvy, 24; Tim “Gus McCoy” Barczak, 18; mandolin player Marissa Moseley, 24; and drummer/percussionist Angelo Bologna, 17.

Moseley, who was the last to join, said, “What got me about all these guys in here was the amount of energy and passion that went into every song. When Brennan starts singing at the end of ‘Song A’, you can tell the emotion he felt when the song was written.”

Laster, who wrote “Song A” with Shute-Black, said the song is about going through a relationship. “One of the main hooks of the song is ‘I wish this on no one,’” he said.

Though he and Laster “fight like cats and dogs,” Whalen said, “I would not be singing live in front of people if it weren’t for this man. I was 15 and he was 18. He used to pick me up in his car and he would put System of the Down records on. It would be playing and he would sing at the top of his lungs. And he would say, ‘Sing. Come on.’ And I would sing. He brought it out of me.

“I love him for the sole factor that he got me to love what I love more than anything in the world, which is being a performer.”

Whalen and Laster collaborated on “Thank You I’ll Have Another,” which is about a waitress Laster dated.

Bologna and Barczak, the youngest members of the band, were in the jazz and soul bands at St. Benedict at Auburndale. “I came into this band never playing this style of music before,” Bologna said, adding, “I just graduated high school. I never played this kind of peppy, folky, almost progressive country kind of drum stuff. For me, this whole band thing has been just a journey, hitchhiking, so to speak. It’s all about keeping an open mind and figuring out who I am as a musician and what I can and can’t do with these guys who are walking down the same road as I am.”

“It wasn’t really that much of a challenge,” Barczak said. “Folk is the basis of all American music.”

The Irreverent Hitchhikers are looking forward to their show. “The show is going to be a big amalgamation of people that come from all different musical backgrounds (who) come together under one sort of umbrella of what we think is good music,” Whalen said.

Listen Up spotlights area performers. Michael Donahue can be reached at 529-2797.

The Reverent Hitchhikers

The band perform at 10 tonight at Neil’s at 1835 Madison Ave.. Cover: $5; Call (901) 278-6345.

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