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Echo Park Band To Perform Pink Floyd’s The Wall at Harvest House Sept. 7th & 8th

Echo Park at a rehearsal this week as they prepare for next weekend’s performance of “The Wall” at Harvest House.

By Nathan Ham

Echo Park, a band that formed in Boone nearly four decades ago will be playing two special shows on Friday and Saturday, September 7-8 at the Harvest House in Boone. The band will be covering Pink Floyd’s legendary album “The Wall” at 7 p.m. each night.

The band is made up of Rusty Blanton on guitar, Bill Fisher on bass, Steve Roark on keyboard, Jamie Blanton on the drums and Bob Rochelle with lead vocals.

Echo Park formed in 1980 and was named after a housing development that Blanton and Fisher lived in in Blowing Rock along with former original band members Mark Williams and Kyle Graham.

The band started off playing at local venues, including the legendary Holly’s Tavern in Blowing Rock, which is now home to The Ridgeline Food & Spirits and former home of Canyon’s and The Big Dollar.

“We played where we could but there weren’t many opportunities around here, and we wrote our own stuff, we’ve been writing our own stuff for 35 years,” said Fisher.

Graham and Williams eventually left the band in the late 1980s and were replaced with Bob Rochelle. For a time, Blanton, Fisher and Rochelle played as a three-piece acoustic band in the early 1990s. Robbie Stevens joined the band as a drummer and Steve Roark also came aboard adding his musical talent on the keyboard. Roark moved to Nashville in the mid-90s and Stevens found roles playing in other bands, leading to a bit of a hiatus from Echo Park.

At the age of 13, Rusty’s son and current drummer, Jamie Blanton, started playing with the band and the four of them continually played music until 2007 when Roark returned from Nashville, putting the band back together again with five talented musicians.

In 2009, Fisher left the band and moved to Florida with his family. Over three years go by before the band decides to replace Fisher with Royce Smith on the bass.

However, the mountains and the chance to spend time with grandchildren called Fisher and his wife back to Boone, and Echo Park happily brought their old pal back into the fold.

While the band has always excelled playing their original tunes, being able to cover such great works as “The Wall” is something the band is no stranger to. In 2009, Echo Park covered one of The Who’s most popular albums “Tommy” at a benefit show for the Watauga County Arts Council in 2009.

After the “Tommy” show went so well, people started asking the band if they were going to do that show again or what they had planned next. Others had suggested that the band undertake a show covering “The Wall” well before the show actually started to come together.

“I probably had that conversation seven or eight times with different people so here, nine years later, we’re doing ‘The Wall,’” said Blanton.

Fisher says that they have been able to recreate a lot of the stuff that Pink Floyd used to compose the album.

“We went and found actual TV shows and movie sounds that were used in the original record and recreated other parts,” said Fisher.

The band members and their families play many of the spoken parts as well to be able to recreate all the aspects of the album.

“We’re not going to act it out so much as we’re going to try to present, live on stage, what you would hear back in the old days when they used to drop the needle on the record and have the speakers in the room and you sat and listened and read the album cover. We kind of want to present that very same thing,” said Blanton.

Blanton said that the band is also planning on playing other Pink Floyd songs after they finish playing “The Wall.”

Tickets for the shows at the Harvest House are $15, payable by cash or check at Cheap Joe’s Art Stuff, Basil’s, Kudzu Music and Ezzie-Lou Home and Living. Tickets will be $18 cash only at the door.

For more information on Echo Park, visit their website at http://www.echoparkband.com/.

(Front row left to right) Kim Fox, “The Mother,” Pam Cameron, Amber Stradley, “The Wife,” Larke Blanton, Sound Effects and Video. (Back Row left to right) —Fish: bass, bass pedals, lead and backing vocals, “the prosecutor” —Steve Roark: keyboards, guitar, sax, backing vocals —Rusty Blanton: Guitar, keyboards, backing vocals, “The Schoolmaster” —Bob Rochelle: lead vocals, and, of course “Pink” —Jamie Blanton: Drums, percussion, keyboards, backing vocals.

Rusty Blanton: Guitar, keyboards, backing vocals
Fish: bass, bass pedals, lead and backing vocals
Jamie Blanton: Drums, percussion, keyboards, backing vocals
Steve Roark: keyboards, guitar, sax, backing vocals
Bob Rochelle: lead vocals

Pictures from Echo’s Park’s performance of “Tommy” in 2009

Pictures from a Blowing Rock WinterFest concert:

Picture from a show at Twigs Restaurant