Columbus sextet Forest & the Evergreens strives to stand out
Published: Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, February 27, 2013 22:02
This is part of our weekly series titled “Columbus’ Own,” where we profile a local band every week.
Columbus lays claim to a slew of bands, and six-piece band Forest & the Evergreens is doing its best to stand out — but in its own right. The members even turned down an opportunity to audition for “America’s Got Talent.”
However, the band has gotten attention elsewhere, as it was named one of “2013’s Bands to Watch” by Columbus Alive.
From Parker Muntz’s vocals to the tunes of saxophonist Terrance Farmer, Forest & the Evergreens’ sound is a balance of jazz, rock, soul, funk, ska and a hint of folk.
“People always tell us we sound like a combination of their favorite bands, and the combination changes from person to person,” said drummer Mike Twice. “But the best compliment is when people tell us we have our own unique sound.”
Twice attributes that uniqueness to the diversity of the band’s members. Other members include bassist Andrew Balazs, guitarist Mickey Drury and trumpeter Adam Bidwell.
In about six months, Forest & the Evergreens has risen from playing house shows to a sold-out audience at the Lifestyle Communities Pavilion. Getting to play at the LC was a true test of talent for the young band, Bidwell said.
The band had to submit its songs online and from there, 10 bands were chosen to perform at a live show. At the CD102.5 Summerfest on Aug. 11., the audience voted on a top three, which included Forest & the Evergreens.
Bidwell said the band was excited by the exposure of the show, as it put the band in front of an audience of 5,000 and in the same lineup as Grammy-nominated band The Lumineers, Maps and Atlases and others.
“We were very excited and on edge. Of course we were a bit nervous, with all the adrenaline pumping and what not, but when you practice enough it shows when you play,” Bidwell said.
Jack Gould, the booking agent at Skully’s Music-Diner, said audiences feed off the band’s energy and passion on stage.
“Whatever they play, people are feeling it and dancing,” Gould said in an email. “Mike is especially crazy to watch. There are dreads everywhere and he’s standing up half the time.”
Twice attributes the rise to the band’s passion and a firm grasp of its artistry.
“Our music comes from our hearts,” Twice said. “When you put out music from the heart, everybody can connect with it.”
Eric Cronstein is the owner and engineer of The Tone Shoppe, a recording studio in Columbus. Cronstein has aided the band in recording sessions, and Forest & the Evergreens recorded its EP, appropriately called “Tone Shoppe EP,” at the recording studio.
He said the band’s chemistry is another important factor to the band’s success.
“They all love to play and can all keep up with each other, which is not something you always see. There’s not a weak link, I guess you could say,” Cronstein said in an email.
“We are literally like a family. A big part of us as a band and our chemistry is how much time we spend together,” Twice said.
Not only has the band attracted fans, it also grabbed the attention of the producers of “America’s Got Talent.” Months before the open auditions reached Columbus in January, Forest & the Evergreens received an invitation for a private audition. But the band turned down the opportunity.
“We were honored to be asked to audition, but it wasn’t for us. We wanted our music to be the sole focus, not the affiliation with a TV show,” Twice said.
The band has managed to keep busy, though, and is set to perform April 13 with rapper Kendrick Lamar at Fest in Athens, Ohio, to an audience of up to 15,000 people.
The group is also working on a new EP, set to be released on March 9.
Forest & the Evergreens will be promoting the release of its EP with a launch party at Skully’s Music-Diner the night of its release.