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Gone country

Cleveland band performs in Gainesville’s newest venue for country music

POSTED: February 3, 2011 12:30 a.m.
/For The Times

Twisted Whiskey is set to perform their country blend this weekend at Blonde in Gainesville.

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Twisted Whiskey, a rockin' country and Southern rock band based in Cleveland, has been belting out modern country hits for years, but only recently got their start on bigger stages.

"We didn't really come out as far as playing a lot until the fall, late summer of 2010, so we're still kind of new to everybody. But we've been together and playing for a long time," said Clint Finley, drummer for Twisted Whiskey. "We've got really good chemistry because we've known each other forever."

Twisted Whiskey has played at Blonde in Gainesville twice before and will take the stage for the third time Friday night.

"Last time we had about 200 people there ... the crowds are fun, they have a good time. That's one of our favorite places to play," Finley said. "Me and my dad (Steve Finley) and Roger (Ward) have been playing together for a long time. Steve McClure was a new edition in 2010, and Robert Daniel got with us around 2006 or so.

"We play 90 percent Top 40 country. What you are hearing on the radio is what you are going to hear there. We're going to start with a lot of energy, mostly upbeat, and finish with a lot of energy. Not so much old sad country, if you know what I'm sayin'."

Ward, with his deep, Southern voice, is the lead vocalist of Twisted Whiskey, Steve Finley plays guitar and adds harmonies, Daniel plays bass and McClure plays guitar.

"Some of our influences I would say is Jason Aldean, Blake Shelton, Jake Owen ... then we do all the way back to ‘Mustang Sally.' We'll go all the way back to Buddy Guy with blues influences — Government Mule, Allman Brothers," Clint Finley said.

"We do a little of everything, keep it fun and try to keep ‘em guessing what's coming next."

These days each Friday and Saturday night at Blonde, the nightlife acts will be live country and line dancing with Kathy Fernandez with a DJ on Thursday nights.

The new lineup is a big change for the former dance, hip-hop night spot. Blonde owner Bill Moffit, with help from local musician Ted Tuck, changed the format of the venue in December and "went country."

The Alex Hall Band is set for Friday and the Daniel Lee Band will play Feb. 12.

"I wish I would have done it a year and a half ago," said Moffit, a Chicago native and country music fan. "My primary goal is to utilize a genre of music that's far more reaching and will pull in business from outside of just the city of Gainesville. We have people coming from out of state with these new country bands.

"We're pulling business into Gainesville from people that never would have come to Gainesville. I know we are putting people in hotel rooms that otherwise wouldn't have been here. It's good for the Gainesville economy as a whole with the genre."

Recently, Cody McCarver of Confederate Railroad took the stage at Blonde.

"We've had a national act in here and we are working on some more," Moffit said.

 



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