by Brittany Nader
Over the past five years, Johnny and the Apple Stompers have established themselves as local favorites, marrying honkytonk, country and bluegrass with old-time blues and jazz, the result of which sends listeners back in time while reflecting enduring themes of heartache, loneliness, drunkenness and rambling through the countryside.
Back with their first recording since 2013’s “Prison Bound,” local musicians present their unique style of hillbilly music from the heartland to the Northeast Ohio community. The band will debut its latest EP, “Far From The Tree,” Nov. 27 at a special event taking place at Stone Tavern in Kent. The free Black Friday celebration will include live performances from Shady Daze and Ohio Joe and the Continental Drifters, in addition to a screening of the film “Happy Hour Holocaust.” Copies of the EP will be available for purchase at the event, beginning at 9 p.m.
Formed in 2010 as a skiffle band playing on the streets in Akron, Kent and Cuyahoga Falls, the Apple Stompers have evolved their sound though years of playing at bars, weddings, festivals, retirement homes and flea markets. This past year, the musicians have shared the stage at Akron hot spots like Annabell’s and Musica with celebrated acts like Wayne “The Train” Hancock, Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band and The Legendary Shack Shakers.
Led by Northeast Ohio locals Johnny Miller and Cory Grinder, the band is a tribute to classic country influences like Hank Williams, Roger Miller and Willie Nelson. Miller’s inspired and original songwriting, bright acoustic picking and lonesome voice are paired with Grinder’s high harmonies and skilled fiddle playing. With the addition of members from brother bands Rodney and the Regulars (Rodney Dewalt, Stephen Karney and Richard DeWalt) and Fast Molasses (Jason Willis, Shawn Wee and Steve Gill), pedal steel, upright bass, banjos and more flesh out the sound, resulting in a versatile, multifaceted live experience.