Connecticut Music Awards 2013: BEST COUNTRY

9:00 AM EDT, September 18, 2013


John Mayock & the Homesteaders

Three-quarters of John Mayock & the Homesteaders used to be in a band called the Mayocks. Two major things changed in the formation of the new group: the addition of bassist Jeff Belcher, with his hard driving playing style, and frontman John Mayock's guitar swap-off, from a thin-sounding Telecaster to a chunky hollowbody guitar with a Bigsby tremolo. Combined, these changes evolved the sound from something folky into something more aggressive and edgy. "I've been doing rootsy music with a little country influence for most of my life," Mayock says. The band has been in studio limbo in recent days, without quite being able to put the finishing touches on, but the CT Music Awards have inspired them to get things in shape so they have something recorded to share. They're putting together an EP of the works in progress that will be ready by the time you read this. The band is a four-piece, and in addition to Mayock and Belcher, there's drummer Dennis Cotton, who's played with the likes of Savoy Brown, Commander Cody, Duke Robillard, J Geils and Gavin Degraw, and guitarist Dennis Fancher, who Mayock says is a "virtuoso." The band has a song called "Dudleytown" based on Connecticut's favorite ghost village, and in addition to once being in a band called Dudleytown, the location has been a recurring theme for Mayock. "I've used the idea of this haunted village where people all came to unusual early ends, and I have a whole storyline that I refer to as 'the play that I'll never write.' But it's a fertile area for writing songs," he says. "Dudleytown" is just the first in a series of four or five songs relating to the storyline. —Mike Sembos