Ramblin’ Road to wind down July 3 Fireworks

Ramblin’ Road band members, from left, Ethan McChesney, Evan Purday, Andrew Moak, and Jonathan Douglas, will take the stage following the July 3 Fireworks in Doko Park.

BLYTHEWOOD – When four guys from Blythewood, Ridgeway and Winnsboro signed up separately over the last five years for music lessons at Freeway Music, little did they expect to eventually become a locally popular southern rock band.

But, sure enough, that’s what happened.

Performing under the name Ramblin’ Road, the four will play their biggest gig yet at the July 3 Blythewood Fireworks bash in the Palmetto Citizens Credit Union Amphitheater in Doko Park. While they aren’t the headliner or even the opener, they have a place on the stage as the ‘after-fireworks’ performance – and they’re getting paid.

When the fireworks end at about 10 p.m., Ramblin’ Road will take the stage. If the crowd sticks around for the after-show, it’s likely the group could be performing in front of 4,000 to 5,000 people.

“Things are moving much faster than we ever imagined,” Jonathan Douglas, one of the group’s guitarist/singers, said.

The band first consisted of Douglas and Ethan McChesney, a bass guitarist from Blythewood.

“Then a little while later, Evan Purday, a drummer from Ridgeway, joined us. About a year and a half ago, Andrew Moak of Blythewood, also a guitarist and vocalist, became our fourth member,” Douglas said.

The group’s music is a mix of southern rock and country.

“Not a lot of people our age play stuff that was good way back and continues to be good,” Douglas said. “We play everything from Merle Haggard and Johnny Cash to Charley Daniels and Lynyrd Skynard.”

While everyone in the group is in or just out of high school – Moak is 16, Douglas is 17, McChesney is 18 and Purday is 20 – Douglas said they all have a background in music.

“I mean, all of us at some time picked up a guitar,” he added. The group is an unabashed advertisement for Freeway Music, and Douglas is quick to give the music company credit for Ramblin’ Road’s burgeoning success.

“A lot of kids go to Freeway to learn music,” Douglas said. “We went there to get better. After we started performing as a group, we still depended on the studio for a place to practice and for equipment for performances, but we now practice at each other’s homes and we have enough equipment that we can pretty much roll out an entire show with our own stuff.”

Douglas said the group performs about twice a month, and he and Moak handle the bookings.

“We have a pretty good following of people who enjoy what we play. We love to perform. We play till they make us stop,” Douglas said with a grin.

Douglas said the group hopes to make a career out of their music.

“If it happens, it happens,” he said. “If not, we’ll be fine.”

For now, Douglas said the band is enjoying what they do and are looking forward to performing in the town’s amphitheater.

“We hope everyone will stay and hear our music,” Douglas said.

The park opens at 4 p.m., Wednesday, July 3, with Eboni Ramm performing from 5 – 5:45 p.m., A. J. Sanders from 6 – 6:30, Blues Deluxe from 6:45 – 7:30 p.m., DB Bryant from 8 – 9:30 p.m. (fireworks from 9:30 – 10 p.m.) and Ramblin’ Road from 10 – 11 p.m.

More than 20 food vendors will be on site. Bring the kids, lawn chairs, a blanket and enjoy.