info from www.iratowns.com
IRATOWNS - AN ADVENTURE IN MUSIC
Iratowns formed in February 1995 in Auburn, Alabama deriving its name from a local minister. Sid Crigler (drums), Jack Hemby (guitar, vocal) and Brian Lewis (keyboards) were childhood friends from Huntsville, AL who found themselves reunited in Auburn in 1995 sharing a desire to form a band. They contacted Huntsville native Dan Campbell (violin, guitar) who was then studying music composition and violin at Auburn University. With the addition of another music student, John Dent (bass) from Birmingham, AL, Iratowns line-up was complete.
In March of ’95, Iratowns debuted at Club 115 in Huntsville and quickly caught on as a regular act in Auburn as well. Crowds immediately responded to their live energy and unique blend of styles, influences, and personalities, as demonstrated by an extremely wide range of cover tunes (Frank Zappa to Charlie Daniels) and offbeat original material that wasn’t easily categorized. By the fall of 1996, Iratowns had developed into a full time touring act, established in numerous southeastern markets, including Tallahassee, Mobile, Baton Rouge, and Birmingham, and the southern college circuit. In 1998, Iratowns released their debut album, “A Series of Clicks and Whistles”, recorded in Revere, MA and New Market, AL. Early 1999 saw their touring base expand to include urban markets such as Tampa-St. Petersburg, Philadelphia, and New York.
The year 2000 saw the some major changes for the band. Atlanta is the band's current headquarters, and a strong fanbase has developed there. Iratowns has performed on the well-known Dunham's Z-93 radio show and featured sit-ins from Col. Bruce Hampton and local guitar hero Barry Richman. And most recently, JoJo Herman, of Widespread Panic fame, joined the band on stage for a few impromptu jams.
The band also has opened for (and jammed with) Leftover Salmon and the incredibly talented and outrageous Zappa tribute band, Bogus Pomp in 2000. The biggest change was the loss of singer/rhythm guitarist Jack Hemby to family life, and his subsequent replacement. After an extensive search, that brought inquiry from around the nation, the band stayed close to home and chose Steven Senn, originally from Demopolis, AL. Steven's experience was mostly as a solo act, but his powerful voice and Southern yet groovy presence fit perfectly.
Musically, Iratowns might best be described as a progressive melting pot: Rock, country, bluegrass, soul, ethnic styles, etc, all converging under the serious musical principles of classical and jazz. This concept is very much in the tradition of such bands as Yes, The Mahavishnu Orchestra, and Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, yet with song writing and vocal elements that recall more straightforward rock and pop acts. The end result is a sonic and artistic amalgam that owes its greatest depts to the broadly prolific and imaginative work of Frank Zappa and Phish.
Presently, Iratowns has performed over 400 shows in 10 states and is constantly looking to expand horizons, both musically and geographically.