Crowfield, Fox Street Allstars to play Hilton Head Island

Crowfield will play Oct. 12 and Oct. 13 at The Smokehouse on Hilton Head Island.
Crowfield will play Oct. 12 and Oct. 13 at The Smokehouse on Hilton Head Island. Submitted photo

Tyler Mechem wanted nothing to do with his family's line of work.

So when the country kid from Indiana set out for Miami University in Ohio, he did an about face. Instead of majoring in music, following in his family's tradition, Mechem decided on accounting.

"I kind of rebelled at not being a musician for as long as I could stand it," Mechem said. "I didn't start playing music until senior year with another person."

And it's safe to say the change of plan has worked out well for the potential numbers cruncher, who is the lead singer, guitarist and songwriter for Crowfield.

The Charleston-based band released its third album, "The Diamond Sessions," earlier this year and is in midst of a 17-date tour throughout the Carolinas, Georgia and Alabama. Oct. 12's gig is at the Smokehouse on Hilton Head Island.

The concert kicks off two nights of music at the barbecue restaurant that is an after-hours music venue most weekends.

The Oct. 13 show features Fox Street Allstars, a high-energy band described as reeking of the "roadhouses and West Texas honky-tonks of the Deep South that inspired their signature sounds."

This will be the Denver-based band's first headlining tour through the region. Crowfield makes a return stop at the Smokehouse, last playing in June. Both shows are free.

"It's one of those things," Mechem said. "Charleston, Greenville, Charlotte have been amazing for us. Columbia is our home away from home. You've got to build up each market one at a time."

Crowfield fans showed their appreciation when the band sold out for two shows in June at the Windjammer beach club in Charleston, a 500-person venue. Shows at the Music Farm in Charleston, Smiley's in Greenville and the Evening Muse in Charlotte have been equally well received.

Although labeled under "rock" on iTunes, Crowfield also falls under the genres of alt-country and pop-rock.

Their latest release has generated radio play with the pop ballad "Change of Heart" and "Catching Up." Mechem, critically praised for his powerful vocals and songwriting ability, describes "The Diamond Session" as "more folkie" than the 2008 debut album "Goodbye, Good Night, So Long Midwestern," and the 2010 self-titled release of "Crowfield."

While Mechem said he drew inspiration for musicians such as Chris Robinson and The Black Crowes when he was starting out, his influences have shifted to artists such as Dawes, Jackson Browne, Van Morrison and Amos Lee.

Mechem's move to Charleston in 2005 was by blind luck. He said he and his then-music partner "didn't want to play music in Indiana," so they threw a dart on a map. After it landed on South or Central America, the next toss turned out to be on South Carolina.

"We packed up and moved to Charleston because it was the only place we knew in South Carolina," Mechem said.

The choice of locations gave the band the chance to connect with Charleston native Darius Rucker and his iconic band Hootie and the Blowfish. Crowfield has toured with the band as well as with Rucker, now a country-music artist.

The band also made a month-long swing in the West with Rusted Root.

Crowfield has featured several guitar and bass players over the years.

The current lineup, along with Mechem, includes Parker Gins on drums, Whitt Algar on keyboard and vocals, Ben Meyer on bass and vocals and Ryan Holderfield on guitar and vocals.