Calabash: Jam Rock for Fun-loving Folks

Calabash: Jam Rock for Fun-loving Folks
Venues & Businesses
Tres Hombres

Who: Calabash
What: jam band, blues
When: 2015-12-19
Fans of the jam-band phenomenon who are looking for a quick fix to alleviate their need for dynamo-d
Alex Kirt
Video Comentary
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Fans of the jam-band phenomenon who are looking for a quick fix to alleviate their need for dynamo-dancin’, super-spastic shufflin’, hyperactive hysteria need look no further than Evansville, Indiana’s pride and joy: Calabash. Way back when, brothers in harmony Jarod Heim (electric guitar, vocals) and Paul Wiemeier (acoustic guitar, vocals) were living in Nashville, Tennessee, chasing dreams of singer/songwriter glory. The two formed a duo and began writing and performing together. Later, they relocated to their home turf in Evansville, where they eventually formed Calabash, currently featuring Greg Smitha (bass), Ryan “Cherokee” Hadley (percussion), and Zach Slingerland (drum kit). [Editorial comment: Zach Slingerland might be the best name for a drummer that I’ve ever heard.]

They combine a wide variety of influences to create a musical soup of sound. If you enjoy the jam rock sounds of Widespread Panic, the Grateful Dead, or moe., then it would be in your best interest to strut your funky self on over Saturday, December 19 to Tres Hombres. After listening to the sounds of Calabash via their website (at <>, it’s clear that this band fits perfectly into any number of summer jam-band festival lineups, including Summer Camp, Bonnaroo, and Wakarusa.

It seems that 2015 was a productive year for Calabash, and Nightlife looks forward to following them in 2016 for updates on their next studio album and touring adventures.

The boys in the band and their “Spiritual Leader” (known simply as Chris) were kind enough to take time out of their busy schedule for a little Q&A with Nightlife.

It looks like Calabash has been busy playing shows predominantly in Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, and Tennessee. Do you have any plans to travel farther outside of your home region in the upcoming year? Any plans for hitting the summer music-festival circuit this year?

Chris: We do plan on growing this next year. We’d love to break into the Saint Louis music scene. We’re also working on getting into Asheville, North Carolina, and Cincinnati, Ohio. Lexington, Kentucky, is another destination that’s on our map. Of course, though, we want to keep building on the great venues we’ve been playing these past few years. Carbondale, for instance, is such a great original-music town. The love we’re getting here is amazing and hope it keeps growing.

As for the summer music-festival circuit, you could say that that is our top priority. We got to play at an amazing festival called Hyperion last August because we won a battle of the bands competition the promoters held, and we’ve all agreed that we want more of that scene.

Do you have any plans to get back into the recording studio in 2016?

Chris: Hell, yeah! We just played a private show at Seventy-seven Recording here in Evansville last month and sold more tickets than they anticipated. The show ended up being standing-room only. For that night, we’re getting twenty-four hours of studio time to lay down some tracks. So we’re planning on hitting the studio late February for our next album.

What were some of the highlights of 2015 for Calabash? Were there any particularly exciting shows that you played?

Chris: Yes, we had three shows that were really special. First, as mentioned, the Hyperion Music Festival.

Cherokee: It was amazing how such a little music festival in the middle of nowhere can put on such an amazing experience, both audibly and visually.

Chris: Next, opening up for our friends Soul Mechanic at the Preservation Pub in downtown historic Knoxville, Tennessee.

Paul: Soul Mechanic played one of many tribute shows for a member of their band that passed away, and we were extremely humbled to be a part of such a great experience at a fantastic venue. The atmosphere was unbelievable and we were well received by the new faces in the crowd.

Chris: Finally, our Halloween show at Lamasco Bar and Grill in our hometown, Evansville, Indiana, just over a month ago. Our stage was full of blacklight-painted mushrooms of all shapes and sizes. We even had two glow mushrooms that were over six-feet tall. It was a sight to see. We were all dressed as different animals, as the bar had an animal-themed Halloween party, too.

Jarod: That show was one-of-a-kind! You’ll never see another Calabash show with so much eye candy as that one. The crowd was amazing as usual, too!

who: Calabash

what: jam band, blues

where: Tres Hombres


when: Saturday, December 19