Cony­ers band puts Heart N’ Soul into its sound

The Covington News - - SPORTS - SHANE WIL­SON news@cov­news.com

The drive to Wild Bill’s in Du­luth takes right around 45 min­utes. Just in­side the main en­trance, the mu­sic still seems to be miles away.

Pa­trons snake their way through hall­ways and up ramps be­fore they emerge into the main room, which is quite a spec­ta­cle it­self.

The band on­stage is strum­ming its way through cover songs, and I prop up at the bar near the back of the dance floor. I’m here to see the Cony­ers-based band, David Gard­ner and the Heart N’ Soul Band. They are up next.

Just 24 hours ear­lier, I was crammed into a small stu­dio in Cony­ers with the seven mem­bers of the en­sem­ble as they worked their way through the nine songs they were go­ing to play as part of the Ge­or­gia-Coun­try/Aver­age Joe’s En­ter­tain­ment Show­case the fol­low­ing night at Wild Bill’s. They were to be one part of the pro­gram, shar­ing the stage with three other bands from the Metro At­lanta area.

John Scott, who plays 12-string acous­tic gui­tar, talks about how im­por­tant the night could be.

“Aver­age Joe’s rep­re­sents some pretty rec­og­niz­able names: Colt Ford, Mont­gomery Gen­try, LoCash Cow­boys. To play for some­one from that label is a huge op­por­tu­nity.”

John, one of the found­ing mem­bers of the band, wants this to be the di­rec­tion of Heart N’ Soul.

“We want to play the big­ger stages,” he said. “We want to put Cony­ers on the map.”

Even though Heart N’ Soul has ex­isted in many dif­fer­ent in­car­na­tions since its in­cep­tion way back in 2002, John be­lieves the cur­rent ros­ter is the strong­est. In ad­di­tion to John Scott, Heart N’ Soul is made up of Cindy Sauer (vo­cals), Jeff Don­nin­worth (drums), Jim Scar­let (gui­tar/ pi­ano), Dennis Ellerbe (steel gui­tar), John Joseph (bass) and David Gard­ner (gui­tar and lead vo­cals).

Gard­ner, who has been with the band for a lit­tle more than a year, is re­garded as the miss­ing piece of the puz­zle, the “boy with the golden voice.” His name has found its way into the band’s name, which is a tes­ta­ment to his tal­ent and his fol­low­ing.

With all the pieces fi­nally in place David Gard­ner and the Heart N’ Soul Band calmly takes the stage at Wild Bill’s on a muggy Ge­or­gia night. In gen­tle, blue light from over­head stage lights, they set up equip­ment for what could even­tu­ally prove to be one of the band’s more defin­ing sets.

Some­where in the venue, rep­re­sen­ta­tives from Aver­age Joe’s En­ter­tain­ment and Ge­or­gia-Coun­try.com sit back and wait for the mu­sic. Fans be­gin to crowd in around the stage. The soft blue lights above the per­for­mance space go dark.

Out of the stage’s dark­ness comes the steady bass drum beat from Don­nin­worth. As the crowd’s an­tic­i­pa­tion builds, other mem­bers of the band start to fill in the sound with riffs from their in­stru­ments. Fi­nally, the lights come up and il­lu­mi­nate the stage as the band crashes into its set with the orig­i­nal party an­them, “Rock N’ Roll Cow­boy.”

For 45 min­utes, David and Cindy croon through eight orig­i­nal songs off of Heart N’ Soul’s self-ti­tled LP. John Scott says that the de­ci­sion to play mostly orig­i­nal mu­sic was easy.

“We wanted to show them what we could do,” he said. “We have some re­ally great songs.”

Scott is ob­vi­ously proud of the band’s achieve­ments, but this is not empty self­praise. Check out the mu­sic for your­self. It streams for free at www.re­verb­na­tion. com/the­heartnsoul­band.

The band fin­ishes its set to the ap­plause of fans who have pushed up close against the stage. The lights go dark once again, and Heart N’ Soul breaks down its equip­ment. I stayed awhile and heard the other acts play through their sets, and none of them had the stage pres­ence or high­qual­ity orig­i­nal songs to com­pete with David Gard­ner and the Heart N’ Soul Band.

Catch David Gard­ner and com­pany at a lo­cal venue soon. You never know when Nashville is go­ing to come call­ing.

Sub­mit­ted photo Sher­rie Puffer /The Cov­ing­ton News

Cony­ers band Rock N' Soul re­cently played at Wild Bill's in Du­luth, in a 45-minute set fea­tur­ing orig­i­nal songs.

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