Local country band Sunset Ride in ‘Hometown’ competition
When Nashville country singer Kemari Rawlings needed a band to help her promote her fourth studio album, “A Deeper Red”, she didn’t expect the help to come from a machinist, a credit collector, a software company sales rep, and a speaker manufacturer – all from her own small-town neighborhood in Santaquin.
Rawlings was working on her second solo album with her husband Gary Rawlings when her search for a band to join her on stage became a challenge. Ready to start promoting her album, Rawlings found musical talent in the congregation of her LDS church ward.
“It was really crazy,” said Rawlings. “I kept praying for people, I just never thought they’d all be in the same ward.”
Yet, there they were, all the pieces Rawlings was looking for to pursue her musical career. A member of the bishopric with a passion for drums, a ward organist with music in his blood, a married couple with a rock and roll past, and a rocking rhythm guitarist one-by-one transformed Rawlings’s solo act into a dedicated country band with its own identity. Sunset Ride was born.
Having finished up their fourth summer together in 2011, Sunset Ride is looking to increase their fan base and win a national competition. The competition: a shot at a trip to Los Angeles to shoot a professional music video and get the chance to be nationally recognized.
Hosted by fashion brand name maurices, the maurices Hometown Sound competition is giving a local band the opportunity of a lifetime and Santaquin’s Sunset Ride wants it bad. They made it through the preliminary round and are on to the voting stage of the competition where they say they’ll need help from Santaquin residents to move on to the next round.
“Let’s help our hometown band win the competition,” said keyboard player David Stemmons. “Vote for us.”
The voting is internet-based through Facebook and the maurice Hometown Sound website. The bands that continue to the next round are the bands with the highest number of votes, and Sunset Ride hopes to enlist the help of their neighbors to move on.
“Vote for us, call us, let us come play for you,” said songwriter and lead guitarist Ben Mitchell. The song they’re riding on in the competition is a Mitchell original called “Let’s Go For a Ride”, an upbeat fusion of rock and country.
They’ve got until Jan 23 before voting ends and have high hopes as a band. From playing corporate gigs in the past to playing smaller functions like backup vocalist Kristen Mitchell’s brother’s backyard barbecue, the Sunset Ride doesn’t turn down a gig.
“We pretty much don’t say no to anything,” said Ben Mitchell. And they’d love to say ‘yes’ to a professional gig in a Los Angeles studio.
Their long 2011 summer run featured 27 shows and a professional recording of their band original “Little Getaway”, produced at Sage Mountain Recording Studio in Santaquin.
Rawlings has been a recording artist for 18 years now and has played with numerous professional musicians, but her experience with Sunset Ride has been different than anything she’s done in the industry.
“There’s no stress,” said Rawlings. “You can just be yourself, it’s great.”
The band agrees.
“It’s magic,” said Ben Mitchell of the band’s music.
“We just click,” said Kristin Mitchell. “We click.”
Sunset Ride Band Members:
Kemari Rawlings – Lead Vocals, Songwriter
Ben Mitchell – Lead Guitar, Songwriter, Vocals
Kristen Mitchell – Vocals
Gary Rawlings – Bass
Todd Sorenson – Drums
David Bardsley – Rhythm Guitar
David Stemmons – Keyboard, Backup Vocals
maurice Hometown Sound competition:
How to vote –
- Go to the maurice Hometown Sound website OR the Sunset Ride Facebook page
- Through the Facebook page a link will take you to the Hometown Sound site
- Search for artist Sunset Ride
- Listen to “Let’s Go For a Ride”
- Click ‘Vote For Us Now’ button