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Columbus’ Own: Clarence White and the Johnny Appleseeds aim to unite Columbus musicians through music

 

Even though Clarence White and the Johnny Appleseeds have only played together for about four months, they have the chemistry of a band that has been playing together for years.

The band consists of Landon Rowe on rhythm guitar and lead vocals, Paul Valdiviez on keyboards and backup vocals, Mara Wallace on the bass and backup vocals, Josh Heber on the drums and Trevor Edge on lead guitar. Valdiviez said the band’s music can be defined as a mix of soul, folk, Americana and even a little blues.

Valdiviez and Rowe first met at a CD 102.5 release show, where Valdiviez was playing with his other band Fields and Planes. After hitting it off, the two got together and started producing some of the songs Rowe had written.

After that, everything went by quickly and they formed a band by just “calling people on the phone,” Valdiviez said.

The songs that the band performs currently are all written by Rowe, who said that going to church while growing up and participating as much as he could is what got him into music. He said that he is driven to write songs, for they are his way of expressing emotions.

“I guess what inspires me is [that] it’s just my, probably primary, way of communicating how I feel,” Rowe said.

All of Rowe’s songs come from his own personal experiences, and each song is a “specific time and place,” he said.

“Landon has a good ability to make you feel things, and most of the songs do that,” Valdiviez said.

Even though the songs were written by Rowe to be played individually, he said the transition into adding more musicians and different sounds into them has been an easy one.

Having extra eyes and ears on the song makes it come together, and completes “the house” a little bit more, Rowe said. The other musicians also brought a lot to the table and helped the songs evolve into something better.

“It was a nice surprise when everything got together and it was pretty easy to sound good at the first rehearsal.” Heber said.

Although Rowe has been a part of the Columbus open-mic scene for a while by himself, all the other band members are also highly appreciative of the Columbus music scene.

“I think it’s underrated, honestly,” Heber said. “There’s a lot of talented musicians in Columbus; there’s a lot of really good bands.”

The band wants the audience in Columbus to experience all different kinds of music the city has to offer, and so they try to book shows with artists whose styles are a contrast to their own, Valdiviez said.

Most, if not all, of the production work is done in-house, and even though there is a lot of work done in the production, Edge said there is a pretty good template to work with whenever the band gets together.

“It’s really refreshing showing up to rehearsal and having three or four songs, new songs, just given to you, and it’s definitely something that’s really unique to this group,” Heber said.

Most of the band members are also part of other bands around Columbus, which makes scheduling difficult, but Heber said it is all worth it as this group has a lot of things going for it.

Being in different bands and playing with different people is something all musicians should do, Edge said. All members are inclined to move about in an “orbit” around the city, but they all line up and “focus in the same direction” whenever they get together, he said.

Valdiviez agrees with this sentiment and said that it makes people easier to work with, even though scheduling might be tougher.

“Every band has a different communication structure, and so being able to get along with different types of people in a musical setting is really important,” Valdiviez said.

The band is currently working on an EP set to release in the spring. There are also another 20 songs down the pipeline that they hope to churn out as soon as possible, Valdiviez said.

The band performs at Brother’s Drake on Friday, where they will be releasing a single, Valdiviez said. Although their music is not available on the internet right now, he said that soon the songs will be available on all platforms and streaming services.

Valdiviez wishes for the band to be able to write that one song for which they will be remembered.

“If I could write a [song like] ‘Rocket Man,’ then I would be good,” he said. “Where people are singing it loudly at a concert.”

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