The Mountain Times

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Rockin’ the Region with Kenny Mehler Band

KILLINGTON-Thursday marks the long awaited return of the Kenny Mehler Band to the Pickle Barrel in Killington. This will serve as a holiday bonus because it's been three years since the band has played here. Also, since the world is ending on Friday, this will be the last great band that you may ever get to see.

Kenny is no stranger to Killington as he's been playing the area since 2001. The past few seasons Mehler has played solo in the base lodges, Jax Food & Games and Center Street Alley. Now, he has a new band and they made their Vermont debut this past June at Friday Night Live in Rutland.

Mehler, born and raised in Glastonbury, CT, took guitar lessons for three years starting when he was 8-years-old. He got bored with it and focused on soccer since his Dad was a coach. He played soccer throughout high school and went on to play at James Madison University. While attending JMU, he formed the Groove Holmes Band. Upon graduation, he really focused on writing music.

With the Groove Holmes Band he released his first album, "Paid Mornings" in 1997. GHB would later become Five Wise. Since 1999, Kenny Mehler has garnered the attention of thousands of college students as the lead singer and guitarist of Five Wise. The band toured constantly up and down the East Coast captivating the university scene. Releasing three albums and averaging over 250 shows a year, the way that the music spread was amazing. Kenny was the writer and lyricist for the band, which sold over 25,000 units independently. His energetic personality and expression is what makes each show a success. 

From 2001-2005 Mehler's band Five Wise was a regular staple at the Wobbly Barn playing their blend of high energy roots rock.
After the summer of 2005, Five Wise took a break from touring and Kenny found himself in a small tourist town: Playa del Carmen, Mexico. The band was on hiatus, so he decided to stay for a while. After eight months and two hurricanes in the Yucatan, Kenny was now armed with some of his best material and a brand new approach to his music career. He released his debut album, "Now" shortly thereafter. The album incorporates rock, blues, and a fun reggae texture that is ready to surf the radio waves from the first note. Taking cues from Jack Johnson, Rob Thomas, and fellow Connecticut native John Mayer, "Now" is filled to the brim with energetic guitar riffs, catchy choruses, and melodic harmonies.

After releasing "Now", Kenny started a grass roots internet marketing campaign to get the album into as many hands and heard by as many ears as possible. His effort was greatly rewarded, with almost 2 million plays on alone.

The Kenny Mehler Band was formed in 2007 and has been traveling and defining their musical style ever since. Mehler is a hard-working, constantly touring singer/songwriter that now plays over 300 shows a year. He has played up and down the east coast from Maine to Florida, the mid-west with Ohio and as far west as Denver. He even has found time to play in Guam and Toronto. Kenny has played at nearly every college, university, and bar where music makes the party.

The band's popularity has led them to some big recent gigs: They opened for Train and played to 10,000 people and this past March they sailed on the Rock Boat from New Orleans to island of Cozumel and shared the bill with Sister Hazel, Stephen Kellogg & the Sixers and Vertical Horizon. The band is no stranger to touring with national acts as they've also performed alongside of 311, Cake, Everclear, Bare Naked Ladies, Dispatch, War and more.

After the Kenny Mehler Band played the Pickle Barrel in 2009, owner Chris Karr said "Kenny is the best front man I've ever seen."
In 2010 the band released "Now and Then", a re-mastered version of the 2007 release "Now" but with five additional bonus tracks. His new band plays the roots rock that has given him the success he's had for years plus adding some pop, folk, reggae and even a little country.

Joining Mehler now is Steve Driver on bass, Chris Cirullo on percussion and Jeff Kenniston on sax and guitar. The new band is unique because all members sing giving each song a nice blend of harmonies. They are currently working on a new release due out in Spring 2013.

"Those of you who have been to a show, will agree it's a good time. The music is very simple, very catchy and very easy to listen to," Mehler says.

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