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Monday, May 16, 2011

The Sasparillas

The Sasparillas

      The Sasparillas, blues rockers from Pecatonica, IL are more than just avid root beer fans. As most root beer fans know, old-fashioned root beer is made from the sasparilla root found in central america. "Sasparilla is the root of root beer. That's where the deliciousness of root beer comes from. We like to think that we go back to the root of music and what started all the deliciousness." Says the band.

      The band consists of Hannah Hovland (vocals), Ryan Countryman (guitar), Jake Mullen (bass/back-up vocals) and Noah Karvelis (drums/mandolin). Everyone, with the exception of Hannah, has known each other since the 5th grade. When all of their previous bands and projects didn't work out, they looked to start a band. They knew Hannah from high school, and through Facebook, she was contacted to join the band and soon after they were practicing together.

The Sasparillas live show
      "We sound like someone took the classic blues rock sounds of Led Zeppelin, sprinkled in a decent amount of The Jimi Hendrix Experience's funkiness, and threw in a bit of the Red Hot Chili Pepper's groove." Says the band, "Along with that, Howlin' Wolf, Hubert Sumlin, Muddy Waters, and Albert King are our main blues influences. The blues is really important to us and we feel that it's something that needs to be respected and carried on."

      The band writes about people in their lives or specific events that have occurred, and often times write happier songs. On the flip-side, when Noah's girlfriend's father died, he transferred all the emotion into the song, "Gone Away". "We have been dating for over 14 months, so when that happened I went through all the steps with her. Going to the hospital just after it happened, the funeral planning, the first time the family saw him at the visitation. It was a really sad time and a lot of the confusion and stress from the time comes out in that song." Says Noah.

      "Hannah puts on one of the best stage shows that you can find in the area. She really gets moved by the music and just unleashes a flurry of emotion." Says the band. They play two to three hour shows nearly every weekend and sometimes busts out some classic rock covers. "We play a lot of Hendrix, Zeppelin, Stones, and Beatles. Also, we play our original songs. They range from classic blues-sounding songs, to funky songs, to just straight rock."

The Sasparillas @ The RAMI Youth Charity Jam
Photo: Greg Farnham
      The band has a number of accomplishments under their belt, including the 'Pastor's choice' award at The Rave Battle of the Bands last January (2010). They finished as finalists and again a month later in second place at the RAMI Youth Charity Jam in February (2010) and March (2010). They were selected to play at Music on Chicago and On The Waterfront. "We are very proud of the fact that we were leading at The Hope and Anchor's Battle of the Bands for over a month and were close to winning. We were one of the few teen bands, with most of them being 20-30 year olds. The staff enjoyed us some much, that they bought more votes and voted for us to win."

      The band is working hard on getting tshirts printed, and getting their EP made and ready. "Our main interest right now is just to get our name out there and play shows and increase our fan base." Like the band on Facebook!


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