The Whiskey Barrels are a local cover band that swept almost every single music category in the Townies Favorites of 2014 poll taken by Oxford’s only independently owned and operated publication, The Local Voice.
- Favorite Local Band: The Whiskey Barrels
- Favorite Live Show of 2014: The Whiskey Barrels (no date indicated)
- Favorite Vocalist: Jody Bevill (lead vocalist for The Whiskey Barrels, with an Honorable Mention in the “Favorite Dancer” category)
- Favorite Guitarist: Collin Bowen (guitarist for The Whiskey Barrels)
- Favorite Bass Player and Winner of “Best Beard”: Kevin Hindman (bass player for The Whiskey Barrels)
- Favorite Drummer: Richard Zepeda (you guessed it — drummer for The Whiskey Barrels and winner of the award for two consecutive years)
The Whiskey Barrels’ keyboardist Kyle Jones placed second behind Bill Perry for favorite keyboardist. So, by now I’m sure you are wondering — who the hell are The Whiskey Barrels?
The band was formed in 2013, when Collin and Kyle were playing an acoustic gig every Wednesday night at the Rib Cage on the Square in Oxford. They took requests and played crowd favorites from all music genres, inviting anyone who wanted to join to come up and play or sing with them. One night, Jody got up and joined in on vocals. Jody began singing with Collin and Kyle regularly, and they started playing more and more venues on the Square — expanding their fan base and becoming well-known to the locals. Richard Zepeda was the band’s first choice for drummer in a group that was organically forming before their eyes. One night while drinking at the Rib Cage, Kevin just happened to have his upright bass with him. Like Jody had done, he joined the group onstage, and The Whiskey Barrels were born.
Richard Zepeda describes their music as, “Loud, rowdy — anything and everything. We recently played a wedding where we opened with Sinatra, followed by Tim McGraw, then Rod Stewart. [Laughs] Then we closed the show with Coolio.” Kevin Hindman chimed in to add, “We are a crowd pleaser.”
When asked why they thought they were so successful in the music area of The Local Voice 2014 Townie Awards, Kevin’s response was, “We play a lot of places on the Square. The Rib Cage is kind of our home base, but we try to hit every venue on the Square. The locals recognize us, and the Rib Cage is a local bar. We are a fun band. One thing about us that separates us from a lot of other [local bands] is that we never play the same set twice, and we take requests from the crowd.”
Possibly the most amazing thing about this band is that they may have had three actual band practices in all of last year. Their band practices usually consist of the guys sitting at the bar together, looking up songs on their phones, going over them quickly, and then playing them at the next show—no practice necessary. These guys obviously know how to call out a key and play it. That’s quite amazing.
Jody Bevill remembers a time last year when they played Ole Miss offensive coordinator Dan Warner’s birthday party at the Rib Cage. Coach Warner said his favorite song was, “Hey Joe,” a song traditionally attributed to Billy Roberts, first recorded by the L.A. garage band, “The Leaves,” but most widely known for Jimi Hendrix’s version. Jody explained it this way: “I just literally looked the lyrics up on my phone, and the band figured it out on the spot and killed it. Dan Warner loved it.”
Shane King, guitarist for The Gutter Daisies, will be opening for The Whiskey Barrels as a solo act, with Holley Peel on backup. Doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets are $5 at the door. Come out, brave the cold, and warm up with a hot toddy and the hot sounds of The Whiskey Barrels.
See you there!
Suanne Strider is a HottyToddy.com contributor and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.