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music: Refocused Rock

The Recipe calls for healthy doses of mountain music, five-part harmonies and propulsive percussion.

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"He [Thurman] took the nest and shook the son of a b---h until every bad egg fell out," Prichard says with no trace of regret. "This lineup will be here for a while .… This time we're going to get people who are ready to do stuff at this level. It was just about putting faith in the songs being bigger than anyone in the band."

The Recipe never went away, Prichard is quick to say. The group always had a die-hard "family" of fans known as "Porch People" that showed for the band's gigs at clubs and theaters around the country regardless. But the acoustic, Appalachian-based rock band was running on fumes for a while. Now with the group's original tunes back at the center of the action instead of personnel distractions, Prichard is confident that The Recipe is running strong. Asked what sets his group apart from the talented but unfocused players flooding the scene, Prichard doesn't miss a beat.

"That's easy, we still pretty much do 'songs,'" he says. "Some we'll turn it into a 15-minute thing, but it's still based on the song .…We're not really big fans of the 20-minute jazz odyssey."

Prichard also says The Recipe has a knack for harmony that some bands in the jam-grass ranks are missing. He, singer-songwriters Julie Edlow and Kris Kehr often layer their voices with bassist Chris Q and drummer Gregg Lowley to create five-part harmonies. Combine the vocals, bass, drums and Prichard's banjo with the "natural wooden sound" of Kehr's guitars and mandolin, Rus Reppert's electric lead and the propulsive percussion of Tom Whelen and the band leader says he is happy with the state of The Recipe's brand of rock.

"Let's just say … we're in one sense a rock 'n' roll band … in ways that are different."

The Recipe has honed its rock 'n' mountain music style since the mid-'90s. The core members came from the hills and coal mining towns of West Virginia and their musical vision was a combination of pop culture and mountain-folk heritage.

"The mix of Bee-Gees-style drums and bluegrass was awesome," Prichard says of the early days.

The group's current style has evolved to include funk percussion and electronic loops but Prichard says much remains the same. The Recipe pulls out an occasional Dylan or Beatles cover but the group's original music is the key.

"Look at the person you are and write like that," Prichard concludes. "We just make sure we try to be a reflection of where we came from." S



The Recipe plays the Canal Club, 1525 E. Cary St., Thursday, Jan. 30, at 10 p.m. Tickets $6 in advance, $8 at the door. Call 643-CLUB for information.

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