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Waiting for Brantley: A unique sound

By Staff
JONES COUNTY Band Members of Waiting for Brantley are making a lot of noise on the Southern music scene. SUBMITTED PHOTO
By Ruth Bryant / special to The Star
Sept. 14, 2003
Four Jones County teens are making a lot of noise on the Southern music scene these days. They call themselves Waiting for Brantley, and they are not like any of the recent bands to come out of the deep South.
They may be young but their music is not just fun and games to them, it's serious stuff. That doesn't mean they're not having fun, though, because they are. Waiting for Brantley has music enthusiasts from New Orleans to Mobile talking.
The four guys who make up the band are all Jones County residents.
Lead guitarist Eric Johnson, 18, is the organizer and the one that keeps them all in line, according to the rest of the guys.
Johnson and drummer, 18-year-old Eric Asmar, the self-proclaimed "ladies man" of the group, previously played together in another band called Punge.
The other two members, 20-year-old lead singer and rhythm guitar player Steven Holland and 17-year-old bass guitarist Josh Gavin, the "quiet one" were also involved with other bands.
Finding themselves
It just so happened that all of these bands broke up around the same time. Holland got in touch with Johnson to let him know that he was available to play rhythm guitar. Different musicians were coming around, sitting in with the two Erics around that time. Gavin was one of them.
In the beginning, another singer was fronting the band but, according to the guys, "he just wasn't what we were looking for."
While the rest of the guys were wondering what they were going to do for a singer, Holland was wrestling with a mild case of stage fright before coming forward to inform them that he could sing. That information was welcome news to the other members of the band.
Holland stepped up and the band hasn't looked back. It is obvious to observers that there is strong chemistry between the four.
After a year of playing together, the band has a repertoire of original songs that they perform regularly at gigs across the state. They have played around Hattiesburg a few times but find that the audience is more into bands that do cover songs of other artists and they want to play their own music.
Impressive sound
These days they are playing mostly around the Coast, frequently performing at Upstairs/Downstairs in Biloxi, where owner Nick Mattina was so impressed by their sound that he offered to manage them along with Scott Fox from Coast radio station WCPR.
Holland is known as the "braniac" of the group. Not only is he the lead singer, he is the principle lyricist. He and Johnson usually start the songwriting process with just an idea.
The rest of the guys join in, adding their own special touches to develop a song into the sound that is uniquely theirs. The final touch is lyrics that are mostly contributed by Holland.
Though they list several alternative rock bands such as Flickerstick and Radiohead as being influential, they maintain that that their sound is their own.
When asked if there is a message in their music, they insist there are a lot of them. One particular original song that they perform at the close of every show is called Satellite Syndrome. Holland says he wrote the lyrics as a sort of thank you to his mom and all of the parents of the band members who have been so supportive.
The band is working on record deals and larger venues, but their collective response when asked about future plans was, " We just want to play every day."
This may be the first time you've heard about Waiting for Brantley, but you can be sure it won't be the last.
For more information about Waiting for Brantley, visit their Web site at www.waitingforbrantley.com.
Ruth Bryant is publisher of the Wayne County News.

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