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Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2008 12:50 pm

Fast forward to Rewind

Here’s a local band that really shines on vocals

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So what’s the rumble on the streets these days? Is it the newest of the new, the cutting edge of modern pop, the groundbreakers and world-shakers? Well, that may be the case somewhere, but here in Springfield the word that keeps drifting in is about Rewind, a classic-rock quintet with about 200 years of combined time as musicians under its collective belt. When I stopped by for a partial band get-together of three members last week, they handed me a bass and I sat in on several classic-rock numbers. We stayed close to the sounds and arrangements of the original recordings by such groups as the Beatles, the Eagles, America, the Hollies, Bread, the Everly Brothers, the Moody Blues, and Pure Prairie League. Literally with the push of a button, modern digital amplification technology simulates instrumental guitar sounds extremely close to the originals, but the one thing the machines have yet to conquer and control is the vocals, and here is where Rewind shines.
“We wanted something to establish us beyond the usual lounge lizards,” says Bob Smith, guitarist and founding member, “so the first thing we did was work on harmonies.”
If you look back over the list of artists I reeled off earlier — and include other groups such as the Drifters; Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young; and the Byrds — the natural, human harmonies are what set them apart from contemporary computer-driven music. And what sets Rewind apart from other classic cover bands are the group’s incredible harmonies.  “I have no musical training. I just sing and they make all the adjustments,” says Steve Fowler, drummer, lead vocalist and second founding member. “There are no better musicians on the planet than these guys. They are amazing to work with.”
Fowler, Smith, and the third founding member, guitarist and lead vocalist Dave Lazarides, have played together in different formats since around 1984. The entanglements and connections are dizzying when you’re listening to the explanations of how and when the various musicians crossed paths, but those experiences created strong personal ties that are apparent in the band camaraderie and respect for its individual members. Rewind solidified about two years ago with the addition of Dave Pruitt, a band director with the Williamsville schools, on keyboards, flute, and percussion. After a period of revolving bass players, the guys settled on Kent Hill, and the band was a stable unit. With no great aspirations to conquer the larger music world, the members Rewind are quite content to play a couple of weekends a month, performing their favorite songs with and for friends. “At our shows you just see people dancing and saying how they haven’t heard these songs in a while,” Fowler says. “They’re great songs, and we just have a good time playing them.”
Rewind performs at Phil’s Lounge (620 S. First St., 217-522-6300) 8:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m. Feb. 15 and 16.
Other notable events this weekend: • Singer/songwriter and guitar-picker Noah Earle plays the Trail’s End Saloon (Old Route 54 in Curran, 217-483-7078), 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 15. • A benefit for the Mini O’Beirne Crisis Nursery features Touch of Grey, the Emerald Underground, and a reunion of Area 51, 8-11 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 16, at the Hoogland Center for the Arts. • Area guitarists Jaigh Lowder, Michael Taylor, Hy Bunn, Chas and John Blythe, Jeff and Hank Helton, Rick Gasparin, Allan Harris, Bill Evans, Don Hinkle, and Mark Estill perform in an event called “Guitar Town,” 2-5 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 17, at the Trading Post Saloon (731 S. Durkin Dr., 217-787-8434).
Contact Tom Irwin at tirwin@illinoistimes.com.
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