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Local band to play multi-genre music Friday

BY ALYSSA MARIE HARN | DECEMBER 17, 2010 7:30 AM

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A saxophone blares, a guitar rings, and a piano sounds as the five men in the Heath Alan Band take the stage, bringing with them musical genres ranging from jazz to rock.

An Iowa group, the Heath Alan Band will play at 6:30 p.m. Saturday in Gabe's, 330 E. Washington St. Admission is $5.

"We all really appreciate R&B, country, and soul, so our music is really our interpretation and combination of all of those genres," said Shane Johnson, the band's lead guitarist. "It's really nice not being limited by any type of genre."

Coming from the Des Moines area, the band will stop in Iowa City as part of its Iowa tour. The band plays a variety of musical genres, including rock, blues, and jazz and also plays covers of such artists as Bob Marley, Ray Charles, and Etta James.

The group first played together a year and a half ago at Beaverdale Festival in Des Moines, when Heath Alan, the group's lead singer, was asked to put an act together for the evening.

Alan said he got together with various musicians from different bands, and after their first performance, they formed a band.

"From that first gig, we knew it was the right fit, and from that point on, we started booking shows," the 35-year old said.

He said the Heath Alan Band often plays its music in locations that have merit for the band members.

"We are the kind of band that likes venues that are rare and more meaningful," Alan said. "We don't play our music at people. We create a sense of community, and we are building a feeling rather than a show."

Johnson also emphasized the importance of making a connection with the audience. He said the group feeds off of the vibe of the audience and changes the set list throughout the show according to the atmosphere.

"If the audience members are feeling more energetic, we play something more energetic, and if they are more laid-back, we will respond with something more laid-back," Johnson said.

Alan said the band members like to improvise a lot of the music, morphing the songs into new material.

"The songs never sound the same, and they always evolve time after time," Johnson said.

The group has plans to increase its touring locations in 2011 with a heavy schedule in the spring, reaching places in Kansas and Minnesota. The band members also hope to do a summer tour in Asia.

"We are kind of at an exciting place right now, and we hope to keep doing what we love," Alan said.


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