University City

Concord '60s band to play at Davis Theatre

A band born in 1966 at Concord's Green Dragon Teen Club will play this week at the Davis Theatre in downtown Concord.

Route 66 will open the Cabarrus Arts Council's 2011-12 "Footlights" performing arts series with a 7:30 p.m. show Sept. 22 in the theater, located in Cabarrus County's historic courthouse at 65 Union St. S.

Tickets are $10, available online at www.CabarrusArtsCouncil.org, in person at the Davis Theatre box office 10 a.m.-4 p.m. weekdays, or by phone at 704-920-2753.

That 1966 band, The West Wind, was made up of four junior high school friends. Besides the teen club, it played at the Moose Lodge, local bowling alleys and private parties. The group disbanded after about three years as members went on to high school, college, careers and families.

"We'd see each other around town and talk about getting together," said bassist Jim Carriker, who graduated from Concord High School in 1971. After a reunion jam session in 2003, "some of us started practicing every week." They added members and changed their name to Route 66 in honor of the year the original band was formed.

Besides Carriker, original members Shane Atwell and Lauren Connell form the heart of Route 66. (Original member Bill Cody had to drop out because of limited time.) It performs covers of classic rock 'n' roll favorites ranging from the 1960s through today.

The current lineup is Carriker, bass; Connell, vocals/percussion; Atwell, guitar/vocals; Bob Wade, guitar/vocals; Jet Taylor, drums; Jeff Carroll, vocals/harmonica; Christine Nichols, vocals/guitar; and John Culbreath, violin/mandolin/banjo/guitar/vocals. For the Davis Theatre show, Michael Flaherty will be guest keyboard player.

Not everyone is from Concord. Nichols, for example, played in a band that toured the Jersey Shore when she was in high school.

The band plays because it's fun and has gone a lot further since the reunion than he had dreamed possible, according to Carriker.

"My dream was to get together to see if we could still do it and play out somewhere once or twice," he said.

"It's the passion for the music, the friendships, old and new, and the chance to do what we couldn't manage as 14-year-old kids," said Atwell, who is well-known in the region as radio personality Jack Daniel on 106.5 The End.

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