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Band of the Week: The Morning Bird 

MEET THE BAND:Daniel Rice (guitars, vocals), Mark Mazak (bass, vocals), David Shullenberger (drums), Jeremy Taylor (guitars, vocals)

GETTING THE BAND TOGETHER: Singer-songwriter Jeremy Taylor and singer-guitarist Daniel Rice first played together last year. "We started playing some of the old and new songs I had written, and we figured we could make something out of it, so we started looking for a bass player and drummer," says Taylor. "We found Mark [Mazak] on Craig's List and a friend of ours knew David [Shullenberger] and connected us."


IF GREEN DAY CAN DO IT: Taylor says his first cassette tape was Green Day's Dookie, and the punk rock album proved to be a major inspiration. "I was never exposed to that type of music," he says. "My mom and dad were into Rod Stewart and things like that." Latter-day Johnny Cash also proved to have a major influence. "That led me to explore [Cash's] older stuff as well, and that shapes some of the imagery and characters that we sing about," says Taylor. "We also like Jason Isbell and Wilco and Joe Pugg and John Moreland. They write about depressing stuff that people can relate to."


A 'HAPPY' TUNE: Last year, Rice challenged Taylor to write a "happy" song, and he came up with the track "Sweet Wine." The band recorded locally with Terry Geer at Apparatus Productions. Adam Boose mastered the tune. The band will begin recording an EP at the end of the month. "It'll be similar in terms of recording quality," says Taylor. "The songs range from a Johnny Cash influence, since we have some songs that are more old-school country; and we have a more upbeat rock song called 'Sober.' It'll be a little bit of a mix."


WHY YOU SHOULD HEAR THEM: A hybrid of rock and country, "Sweet Wine" might be a "happy" song, but it still possesses an edge, thanks to Taylor's somber vocals and a twangy guitar riff. Think Drive-By Truckers or Scarecrow-era John Mellencamp.


WHERE YOU CAN HEAR THEM: themorningbirdband.com.


WHERE YOU CAN SEE THEM: The Morning Bird performs at 7 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 8, at CLE Urban Winery in Cleveland Heights, and with Holden Laurence and John's Little Sister at 8 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 10, at the Beachland Tavern.

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