Chris Austin is a little emotional about how much it means to him to perform again in front of his hometown crowd and his family.
Austin and the KneckDown band played in bars and music venues in and around Rome starting about 17 years ago. They had a lot of fun.
But life sort of sidelined the band for several years and no one knew if they’d ever play shows again. However, on July 2 in Cave Spring and July 4 in Rome, KneckDown featuring Austin (lead vocals/acoustic guitar), Jay Shell (lead vocals/acoustic guitar), Dave Harper (lead guitar), Shannon Wilson (bass) and Joe Wilson (drums), will once again take the stage to entertain audiences. And they couldn’t be more excited.
“We had stopped playing music for quite some time,” Austin said. “That was largely due to me being out of the state. But life happens. I moved away, had kids and the music had to take a back seat to that.
However, last Thanksgiving when he was catching up with bandmate and good buddy Jay Shell, Austin said they were a little disappointed that their youngest children hadn’t had the chance to see them on stage in a band.
“I guess we wanted the little ones to see their dads doing something they loved and having so much fun at it,” Austin said. “So we got with the band and decided we’d start getting together, just on Sundays, to play some music. We didn’t have any gigs lined up. We just wanted to see how it felt to all get together again and play.”
It was like brothers getting to hang out again, Austin said. It was fun and it felt so natural.
So recently when they were given the opportunity to perform at the Rome and Cave Spring Fourth of July fireworks celebrations, they were all over it.
“We played more than a decade ago,” Austin said. “And to be back out there with our families and all the people who supported us way back then is a really special feeling.”
KneckDown will be playing at Rolater Park on July 2 and at Ridge Ferry Park on July 4. They’ve promised some covers, some sing-alongs and a few originals.
“It’s gonna be a lot of fun,” Austin said. “It’s gonna be lively and energetic and we’re going to get people really excited for the fireworks.”
But it means more to them than just a couple gigs, Austin said.
“As you get older you see opportunities like this fade but I think for all of us, music is a therapy,” he said. “Your bandmembers are your extended families. They’re like brothers. I get to play with my brothers again.”
He said the talent and musicianship of the band will have audiences jamming all evening long during the Fourth of July celebrations but it will also hold a special meaning for the men on the stage.
“It’s a different feeling now, all these years later,” he said. “We’re not trying to get famous. Every one of us works full time jobs. It’s tough to get away and find time for the music but when we do it’s a wonderful thing. We’re just so honored to be able to play for hometown crowds again and to play in front of our friends and families.”
Rome’s Patriotic Party in the Park takes place at Ridge Ferry Park on July 4. KnecKDown is set to perform on the Coca-Cola stage at 7 p.m. with fireworks beginning approximately at 9:55 p.m.