Experience the Free Range Life at the Limestone Music Festival
Three musical paths and maybe a chicken or two intersect in the classic rock band, Free Range. Billy Smith, Jeremy Drawbaugh and Seth Facundo are living the “free range life,” a phrase coined by their fans.
“The first time I performed on stage was at a music festival,” said Smith, “I got up there and knew it was where I was supposed to be. I am more myself on stage than anywhere else.”
Smith has been making music since middle school. “Ms. Sam (a.k.a. Jennifer Janzen) taught me everything I know, without me knowing it,” said Smith. “I played xylophone in the band, and when I started to learn guitar chords I figured out the guitar is laid out exactly like the xylophone and so is the piano. That’s when I found the freedom to play free-style riffs and write music – the music opened up for me.”
Seth Facundo, the band’s bass player, found his musical path as part of the audience. “When I was growing up, my mom would take me to shows. Sometimes the shows were just okay, but there were times when the band connected with the audience on a much deeper level and I knew that I needed to be part of creating that experience.”
“My mom’s dad could play anything with strings,” said Jeremy Drawbaugh, “He had seven kids and his rule was you couldn’t move out of the house until you learned to play an instrument.” Drawbaugh grew up listening to his father’s and grandfather’s bands. He sat behind his first drum set at age two.
While Free Range is primarily a cover band, they also write their own music. “In marching band, I learned how to take different songs and mix them together. Writing original music is a lot like that,” said Smith. Drawbaugh agrees, “Writing music is like putting a puzzle together -- these words, that riff, sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. Playing your own music can take you anywhere.”
When not on stage, the band can be found practicing in Smith’s barn. “The name Free Range is mostly about the wide variety of music we wanted to play, but there were a few chickens there for inspiration,” laughed Smith.
Experience the ‘free range life’ for yourself at the Limestone Music Festival on April 14 beginning at 7 p.m. at the Limestone County Event Center. Tickets are $10 when purchased from any East Limestone High School Band student, from Chick Fil-A of Athens or from The Village Pizza located on East Limestone Road. Tickets are also available from www.eventbrite.com. The event is presented by the East Limestone High School Band and sponsored by Andrew Kirk with Modern Woodmen of American and Chick Fil-A of Athens.