By Matt Clevenger
For Miami Valley Today
TROY — Local acoustic duo Jerry & Vaughn LIVE will bring their unique blend of folk, bluegrass and rock to the Troy-Hayner Cultural Center on Friday, March 27, performing a free community concert starting at 7:30 p.m.
Featuring guitarists/vocalists Vaughn Welches and Jerry Gerace, Jerry & Vaughn LIVE offers a positive, often humorous take on traditional folk, rock and bluegrass.
“It’s kind of a mix of folk, country gospel sounds and novelty songs,” Welches said of the group’s sound. “We try to enjoy what we’re doing, and leave a positive message for everyone.”
Welches and Gerace first met at a concert in 2003. They have been performing together since then, and hosted the popular Saturday Night Songwriters’ Venue at the Night Sky Coffee House together for several years. They also performed together in a four-piece band called For the Record.
“When Jerry and I hosted at Night Sky Coffee House, we would often play sets,” Welches said. “We called ourselves the Soundmen, because we always ran the sound system there.”
Welches’ and Gerace’s musical influences range from folk and bluegrass to gospel and classic rock. “I’m kind of a product of the 1960s,” Gerace said. “I played in garage bands when I was in high school. I grew up in Greenville, and a lot of my music was really influenced by somebody who lived fairly close to Greenville, and that’s Rick Zehringer; a lot of people know him as Rick Derringer.”
“At the time, he was in a group called the McCoys that had the record Hang on Sloopy,” he said. “A couple of guys in the band I was in took guitar lessons from him.”
Welches was also heavily influenced by 1960s recording artists. “My background is more on the lyrics side,” he said. “As a kid, I grew up doing a lot of vocal work in gospel music; that’s where I learned to sing harmonies and leads.”
“I had favoritism towards artists who wrote their own songs,” Welches said. “People like Neil Diamond, Smoky Robinson; of course the Beatles were great songwriters.”
“One writer who comes to mind is Jim Weatherly, he was a very kind individual that I met in Nashville,” he said. “He wrote songs for Gladys Knight, like “Midnight Train to Georgia.” I got to spend some time with Jim, and we kind of became good acquaintances for awhile.”
More information about Jerry & Vaughn LIVE’s community concert show can be found online at www.troyhayner.org, or on the Jerry & Vaughn LIVE Facebook page.
“Jerry and I both have a common interest in what were doing,” Welches said. “We’re committed to offering anyone who comes to hear us some songs that have a sense of hope and a positive message, and a song with a humorous message where it gives them an opportunity to laugh; maybe at each other, or at themselves or at us.”
“We like to start our program with a novelty song that we co-wrote together,” he said, “and we will tell stories sometimes about how a song was written, and what they are based on. They’re based on experiences from our life.”