By JON RHODES
Often times, people think about most musical standouts to be away in some far-off place like Los Angeles or basically anywhere else other than here: little old central Pennsylvania. People seldom realize the hidden gems that they tend to overlook right next door.
Local bands are all around us. Whether they're from downtown Williamsport, or out in Lancaster, the music is there. And there always are new groups emerging.
On Labor Day, a young trio of folk artists performed just outside of Montoursville to showcase their talent. The band is known as The Stray Birds.
The band performed for the locals in, "A rustic hand-made pavilion in an idyllic field in the middle of Barbours," said senior, Connor Bassett.
It was a pleasantly cool late summer evening and, "The concert started as we watched the sun set over the mountain," said Bassett.
The "folksy" trio consists of Maya de Vitry, Oliver Craven and Charles Muench.
The Stray Birds weaved an interesting tapestry of banjo, fiddle and upright bass to display a bright and dark side to classic folk music.
Senior Tucker Bastian also was there the night they performed for Barbours. Bastian noticed how the bands combination of bright and dark sides was greatly complimentary of the brilliant sunset and the distant storm clouds on opposite ends of the horizon.
Bastian was able to meet the band after the show. "They're an affable young group of musicians," said Bastian, "Their music made me nostalgic for a time in which I never lived [and] was a good representation of their personalities."
Montoursville senior, Breezy Gorsline has a cousin in a local band The Rocky Allen Band.
They are a country cover band with several songs of their own such as "Baddest Man In Town" and "Chasing Love."
"They play everywhere," said Gorsline.
The band does little local shows all over Lycoming County at venues like The American Legion, in Montoursville; The Elks Club, in Jersey Shore; and The Riverside Saloon, in Lock Haven.
In addition to their own songs, they feature covers of groups such as Jason Aldean, Blake Shelton, Luke Bryan and Lynyrd Skynyrd.
Another local band that's making waves around these parts has been Clyde Frog.
Senior Scott Swift was lucky enough to see the band perform at The Brickyard after the Little League parade this summer.
"We heard live music coming from the Brickyard," said Swift, and he decided to stop by and check it out. Swift came across a small stage and a small crowd, right there outside the bar.
"Their style is really derived from classic rock," said Swift, "Real head-banging music."
Swift said that the band played covers songs of various bands such as "Zombie" by The Cranberries and a unique medley of "Bulls On Parade" and "Down By The River" by Rage Against The Machine and Neil Young, respectively. That in particular really caught Swift's interest.
The band was brought together through the Uptown Music Collective. Clyde Frog is made up of five musicians: Dylan Rockoff, Tess Marshall, Chris Kohler, Torey Harding and Garrett Gaetano.
Clyde Frog was formed in the early 2000s with original members that have since moved into other local bands such as Clouds Make Sounds, Maitland and Treehouse.
They currently perform local gigs all over the Lycoming County at places such as The Crippled Bear Inn and Haywood's On The Water.
Local bands have a lot more to offer than most realize.
"People should try to go to more local concerts," said Swift, "Instead of just playing 97.7 on the radio, over and over."
Swift believes that everyone has unique musical tastes, and the only way to discover these tastes is to, "experience a variety of genres."
"Williamsport is a thriving musical community," said Swift, "And a perfect place to get started."