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Local band of teens sets eyes on Nashville

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Country group Tennessee Bound focused on making it in music business

By Becca Owsley

A local country group’s goal is obvious. It’s in the band’s name. Tennessee Bound is a group of five Elizabethtown teenagers with its eyes set on making it in Nashville.

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Kevin Jaggers (lead singer and guitar), Austin Barnes (drummer) and Jake Keplinger (rhythm guitar) began playing together in 2009. When they started looking at options of playing in Nashville, they knew they needed a new dynamic and added brothers Collie (lead guitar) and Reilly Crawford (bass).

The original three-member band began playing at family gatherings, which is where the Crawford brothers, Jaggers’ cousins, first noticed them.

The members, ages 15 to 18, play new country along with classic country selections, but they mostly perform radio hits from the past few years, Collie Crawford said. They also have about a dozen original songs to throw into the mix.

Despite the musicians’ young ages, they have taken steps toward their Nashville goal.

To take that leap, you have to have the right equipment and people who are serious about it and share the same goal, Jaggers said.

“After that, it’s all about getting a fan base,” he said.

It’s not easy, as young bands can have a hard time getting gigs in bars. It’s important to earn bar owners’ trust and to help them realize the band isn’t going to goof off, Jaggers said.

In July, Tennessee Bound had the opportunity to play at the Hardin County Community Fair and Horse Show, which was the first time many of their school friends were able to see them perform.

Jaggers’ aunt Denise Myers has been working to get them a gig in Nashville. Without her, the band members said they would not be where they are now.

Barnes said it’s Jaggers’ drive that keeps him focused on their goal. The time, effort and money Jaggers puts into the band makes Barnes dream of being successful in the music business.

Collie Crawford said stepping into a group that has that kind of focus is different from other bands he’s been involved with.

“It’s a dream to jump into a group who’s already got a solid vibe going and they’ve got a heartbeat in the middle like Kevin keeping everything rolling,” he said.

Their families have helped a lot, too.

“They’ve been our first front line of fans,” Barnes said.

Family members not only promote the group, but Barnes’ mother, Leeanne Jenkins, also helps by providing harmony vocals at their concerts and on recordings.

Getting a fan base also means building a social media presence. They’ll tweet photos from concerts and share gig information on Facebook. They also track fan demographics on music website www.reverbnation.com, Barnes said.

The site also allows the band to track plays of the songs they post. A song called “Moonshine” has been particularly popular on the site.
 
To learn more about Tennessee Bound, find them on Facebook or go to www.reverbnation.com/tennesseeboundmusic.

The group’s next performance is at 9 p.m. Saturday at Heartland Sports Pub in Elizabethtown.

Becca Owsley can be reached at (270) 505-1741 or bowsley@thenewsenterprise.com.