By Caitlin Soard
Potential freshmen got a taste of Franklin’s artistic student body on Feb. 19.
After Rev. Jamie Washington’s talk upstairs in the Branigin Room, a student formed country blues-rock band played for the visiting high school students.
Branigin Boulevard was formed in 2014 by five students ranging from a freshman to a senior: Senior Jesse Hamilton, junior Clay Murphy, sophomores Dan Hicks and Collin Ahlemeier and freshman Kody Emrich make up the band.
Hamilton plays acoustic guitar and provides lead vocals, Murphy plays lead guitar, Emrich plays piano, Hicks plays guitar, drums and piano and Ahlemeier plays bass.
The band formed after an opportunity to preform at Howard County Vietnam Veterans Reunion, an event in Kokomo organized by Vietnam Veterans. The event draws more than 20,000 people, and bands that have opened for John Mellencamp have played in the past.
“We got an opportunity to audition for a large event, and we all decided to come together one day, and we all love music and we all love playing and so we all sort of found each other in that sense,” Hamilton said. “It was really crazy how it all came together I think I asked one person originally and within a week we had our band together.
The band’s Facebook page calls them a country blues-rock band, and Emerich described them as “anything, but mostly blues.” At the event on Feb. 19, they played covers of songs popular with students, such as “Wagon Wheel.”
“We are all from different backgrounds of music,” Emerich said. “I used to be into a lot of Christian worship, so I’m very influenced with Christian lyrics. Jesse very obviously is from a country and bluesy background. You’ve got Dan, who’s the music theory genius who has come from jazz and Clay was a metal guitarist until now. Jacob sings opera. We’re very diversified.”
It was their first on campus appearance, but they have played once before at a bar in Indianapolis called Main Event. They still haven’t heard back from Howard Country Vietnam Veterans Reunion, but according to Hamilton they plan on “playing a lot more coming up.”
Hamilton said the band is looking at playing at the Jefferson Street Pub in downtown Franklin as well as a pavilion at Prince of Peace church in Bartersville.
Hamilton has one semester left after this spring, and said he plans to stay around Franklin. “I hope it goes all the way,” he said.
“I’d say a good goal would be to get a record deal after we record a few CDs by ourselves,” Emerich said. “Right now we’re just recording with the software we have ourselves right now, so we’re kind of limited but to get that big record deal would kind of be pretty nice.”