By Jeffrey Allen Federowicz
For The Daily Item
— MILLHEIM -- When it comes to music, the band Grain goes against the musical grain with a mishmash of bluegrass, jazz, traditional country, rock, blues, Americana and gypsy styles to create a sound hard to duplicate, or ignore.
A sound of tight harmonies interwoven with emotion and accented with some darn good banjo pickin’ has become their trademark.
Sunday night, the four-piece band will make merry while making music at the Elk Creek Café in Millheim with a show crammed with smoking hot guitar cords and vocals smoother than a swig of rum.
“We love playing for people and are passionate about playing good music well. Audiences have often told us that they can tell how much fun we have, which translates into a good time for everyone involved. The Elk Creek Cafe is a really unique place in Central Pennsylvania,” said Caleb Tzilkowski , providing bass and vocals for the band. “In our minds, it is one of the best music venues in the state and brings in some very respected performers.”
Although the band members are scattered some 200 miles apart in the Keystone State, Grain finds a way to make rehearsals and gigs happen.
“We play everywhere from the Harrisburg and Carlisle to State College, the Northern Tier and everywhere in between,” said the band’s guitarist, Cory Kodish. “We always enjoy playing at Elk Creek as the crowds are attentive and high energy which only adds fuel to the musicians onstage.”
The other musicians that make up Grain include Ben Jones on mandolin and vocals along with Cory Neidig on banjo and vocals.
The band was formed 15 years ago by a trio of friends who enjoyed rocking out on bluegrass and Americana tunes. Three years ago the trio became a quartet and in the process, took the band’s sound to the next level.
“Many bands are formed and members subsequently become friends or maybe not. Three of our band members have been good friends and playing music together for 15 years; consequently, we are very relaxed on stage,” noted Tzilkowski. “We think that solid relationship makes our music much tighter and it comes across in our performances.”
The band’s set list includes a mix of original music with a traditional bluegrass and Appalachian flair in addition to their own interpretations of more contemporary rock and grunge covers.
One reason the band can play so many different styles of music is thanks to the band members being veterans of many other groups, including Appalachian Alchemy, Little Townes, The Rounder, Summer Rein and Sweetwater.
“We strive to play songs that speak to our experiences as individuals and the music that has shaped us,” said Kodish. “We pull from many influences from bluegrass to grunge so hopefully our sound resonates with everyone in the audience. If you’re a fan of tight vocal harmony singing with precise acoustic instrumentation, this show is for you.”