With the reputable reputation of Berklee College of Music paving its way, The Yesberger Band takes its music out of the classroom and into the limelight.
The fledgling band, formed about a year and a half ago, comprises Berklee juniors Devon Yesberger (piano and vocals) and Spencer Stewart (bass) with senior Gabriel Smith (drums). For about a year, the three music students casually worked together, rehearsing their four original songs over and over again and playing an occasional gig until early this year when the trio decided to see where their music would take them.
Who: The Yesberger Band
When: 8:30 Sunday, July 17
Where: Avalon Bar and Grill, 105 W. Valley View Road, Talent
"We polished up our sound, added a few more songs and started booking gigs," says Yesberger, who is from Washington.
With only a few gigs under their belt but a wealth of musical knowledge to recommend them, the Berklee boys are set for their summer tour, which runs from Friday, July 15, through the end of the month. The tour, 16 gigs total, takes them from Seattle to Los Angeles in Yesberger's dad's van, which they made more tour-friendly by installing a futon in the back. The band has high hopes for a longer tour next summer in conjunction with a full-length album.
The Yesberger Band was selected as one of Britt Festivals' artists-in-residence and will open for Bobby McFerrin and the Yellowjackets at 7:30 p.m. Friday, July 15, at the Jacksonville venue. The group also will perform at 8:30 p.m. Sunday, July 17, at Avalon Bar and Grill, 105 W. Valley View Road, Talent.
The trio tapped its Berklee resources and recruited the help of student violinists and mixing engineers as well as outside horn players to create its debut EP, "The Bad Weather," released June. 25. The album features one cover — "Blackbird" by The Beatles — and six original songs, including the title track, an anthem about dancing in the rain and not complaining because the sun will come one day, describes Yesberger.
"I'm really proud of getting something together, starting from scratch and coming up with something pretty solid," he says.
Musically, the band has two sides: pop and jazz. While the band's songwriting, vocals and catchy melodies fall in line with pop, its stylistic approach to the instruments is more jazzy. All three members study jazz at Berklee, so they can't help the jazz nuances in their music.
"There's something none of us could abandon about the freedom of playing jazz," says Yesberger.
There also is a hint of the blues in the trio's chord changes and soulfulness, he says. Yesberger credits Berklee for the group's instrumental finesse and familiarity with all types of music.
"It also helps in getting gigs to say you're a music student at Berklee," he says only half kidding.
Tickets to the show at Britt cost $49 for reserved seating, $38 for lawn seating, $27 for children and $196 for premium lawn seating for four. Tickets are available at www.brittfest.org, at the box office, 216 W. Main St., Medford; or by calling 541-773-6077.
Cover to the show at Avalon is $6. Call 541-512-8864 or see http://www.reverbnation.com/yesberger.