Three years to the month later, Justin Taylor remembers the phone call well.
Former bandmate Kevin Fairchild was on the other end, asking him if he wanted to sing and play guitar in a new country group. There was just one problem: Taylor, known as “J.T.,” didn’t really know how to do both at the same time.
“Then he says, ‘By the way, we’ve got a gig lined up at the end of November.’ I guess fear is a good motivator. I ended up getting after it and learning pretty good.”
Good enough, in fact, to keep Turnback Creek busy playing area clubs and casinos — not to mention opening for a couple of big acts at The Cotillion: Justin Moore and award-winning Oklahoma country-pop duo Thompson Square. Turnback Creek will perform at Samuel Brewskies in Park City and Betty’s Runway Lounge in south Wichita next month.
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On Saturday, the band performs at Spirits Pub in Valley Center. It’ll mark the debut of the band’s new female vocalist, Justina Claire, who is replacing Tawna Mosiman. There are no hard feelings surrounding the switch, band members said, adding that she wanted to pursue a solo career, possibly in Nashville, and they wish her well.
Ironically, Claire just returned from Nashville, where she attended school and pursued her own music career. The Garden Plain native will be familiar to many local music fans, having sung the national anthem at sporting events and competed in singing competitions.
“I came back to get my nursing degree and have a backup plan before I pursue music” full-time again, Claire said. “It’s a hard industry to get into.”
Claire said she clicked quickly with the band during practice.
“We kind of resemble Lady Antebellum with the harmonies and stuff,” she said. “I’m super excited for people hear how we blend together.”
In addition to Fairchild, who also sings and plays guitar, Turnback Creek includes Danny Clark on drums and Ken Potter on bass.
Fairchild said he “basically called the people I get along real well with” when putting together the band, which is named for a creek in Taylor’s native Missouri. One measure of that might be how far band members have to travel for their weekly rehearsal. Fairchild and Clark live in Kingman, Taylor is from Ponca City and Potter from Andover.
“We obviously love and want do this,” Taylor said.
The band describes itself as a Top 40 country cover band, with a few classic rock and dance tunes thrown into the mix. Taylor said members keep up with new releases, looking for guitar-driven songs that also feature multiple vocal parts. A typical set might feature Taylor singing lead on Jason Aldean’s “Take A Little Ride,” Claire taking over on “Too Good To Be True” by Edens Edge, and Fairchild heading up “Angel Eyes” by Love and Theft.
Fairchild said members “didn’t want to see Tawna go” but are glad Claire joined them.
“Everything just fell into place because she’s very good,” he said.
And that was important to maintaining the band’s approach, Taylor added.
“What we’ve found is that people like variety,” he said. “People like to be able to look up on stage and hear somebody else sing. It allows us to reach out to a larger demographic. Between all three of us, we all have different styles of singing.”