Singing, cracking jokes and laughing as they jam out to the sounds of the Eagles, Fleetwood Mac and Lynyrd Skynyrd on their guitars — that’s how the practice sessions for the Share the Road band usually unfold in Steve Drake’s attic.
And, they have happened to crank out a few original tunes themselves, enough for a debut EP.
Drake, a Midlothian High School junior, was at a Boy Scouts summer camp two years ago with William Hinson when they realized that they could both play the guitar. Hinson is also a Midlothian resident and is a senior at the Dallas-based School of Science and Engineering.
That was when the two started practicing and writing songs together.
“I’m a lot better than him,” Hinson remarked.
When they first started making music, Drake and Hinson wrote songs consistent with the road theme, with titles including “That One Guy Going 40 in a 70”, “Click it or Ticket” and “Tow Truck,” which later became the group’s first completed single.
When the two were in Boy Scouts, Drake and Hinson tried to have fun with anything they came across to pass the time. One of those things was a “Share the Road” sign at their campsite.
“We would stand out in front of the cars and yell ‘Share the Road!’ at them as they passed by,” Drake recalled. “It became this catchphrase. Like everyone would just start yelling ‘Share the Road!”
That sign inspired the name for their band, which later picked up two new members and vocalists, Bryce Crowell and Aubrey Mullen, and self-titled debut single, “Share the Road." The song was first heard by a live audience at the Lighthouse Coffee Bar in N. 9th Street.
“There were six people in the crowd, and they clapped. Those six people were our parents,” Hinson recalled.
Recruited initially because of his experience with the high school choir, Drake said Crowell wasn’t enthusiastic about the band at first. Originally showing up for just a few practices and exerting minimal effort, Drake said he knew Crowell was going to improve even though he indicated he might quit.
That was when Drake pulled out his birthday money.
“I was really, really, really desperate,” Drake recalled. “I was like Bryce, come on, I’ll do anything. I have $110. I’ll give you a $110 if you stay in the band. If I give you this $110, I’ll own you and you can’t back out of anything.”
Drake said Bryce accepted the $110 and actively participated with the band ever since.
As he listened to the retelling of the "bribery," Hinson looked over to Drake and said,“I think this is a great time to bring up that I’m going to quit unless you give me $110,” which drew a laugh from the group.
Even though they consider themselves a rock band, Hinson said their genre is more like FoRoSoCo, which is the debut album of the Bacon Brothers abbreviating folk, rock, soul and country.
“We were going to write music that we want to write, and we’re not going to stick to a genre,” Hinson said. “It’s just going to come out sounding what it sounds like.”
After spending months of recording, mixing and mastering their EP, Home Sessions Vol. 01 was almost ready to release.
There was just one problem. One of the singles, “Ronnie Had A Harmonica,” called for a harmonica part playing throughout.
Hinson said the band didn’t have a harmonica player.
“We talked to every single person we knew that played instruments, and talked to every single person that they knew,” Hinson said. “I emailed Huey Lewis, the greatest harmonica player of all time. He didn’t respond. I emailed Kevin Bacon. He didn’t respond.”
Eventually exhausting all of his options, Hinson said he came up with a creative solution to the problem.
“I went to Google, and I searched ‘royalty-free harmonica samples,’” he said. “Two of them came up that were in the wrong key and in the wrong tempo. So I went and held ‘alt’ on my keyboard and dragged it out to make it fit the time signature. Then I changed the key up and then I just threw in enough reverb on it to hide all of those edits.”
Even though Hinson is graduating high school in May and his bandmates still have another year left, he said the band would continue to practice, play together and send recordings to each other even if any of them moves out of state.
“I want to follow this wherever it goes,” Mullen said. “Whatever happens, I’m ready for it.”
The band released their first EP, Home Sessions Vol. 01, in May. To listen, follow the band on their website, www.sharetheroadband.com.
David Dunn, @DavidDunnInTX