Sound of Lexington

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RAGS AND RICHES
LIVE AT COSMIC CHARLIE’S
September 27, 2019

Tonight’s freakin’ fabulous headliner, Rags and Riches, who describe themselves as an adrenalized pop-rock band, out of Lexington, KY, shook this girl’s ear drums, along with her shoes, and the floors, and the building around us with some very BIG BEATS!  These guys are full of energy, and into their music to the point they are able to carry the crowd away with them in their songs!   I can’t help but mention, they were just beatin’ the hell out of those drums!  I will tell you what, if they were singing devil chasin’ songs then the devil’d been long gone after the first 30 seconds!   These two brothers and their, surprise to me, side drummer, Jonah Fryrear, put on one fabulously entertaining and energetic show!  The brothers, Tanner and Peyton Whitt are some kind of wonderfully made siblings who jell together in the music, and it’s true a lot of talent runs through their family line. Their mom is a well-know gospel singer in the Lexington area, with an awesome range and beautiful voice. Their grandparents can sing too, at least I know on their mother’s side they can and I wouldn’t be surprised if it ran on both sides.

Non-stop! Peyton Whitt on drums – Tanner Whitt vocals

The show started in the dark with some crazy sounds drawing people to the front of the stage….and then it all began…as the energy of the music kept building, song after song until the guys were all in the air at one time or another….or even floating all together.  It was great to see them, so up close as you can get in this venue. You are close enough to see the heart and intensity in their faces, and feel the pain and the joy of the freedom of someone loving you for who you are. There’s some powerful emotions that are really good in their songs. They are the good guys. Their performance outstanding in it’s intensity of true rawness of the love and pain and shit of this world, but with hope inside. It was a really great thing to witness.

Rags and Riches, headliners at Cosmic Charlies

Before Rags and Riches took to the stage there were two other bands, the first was Much Obliged, and then Sunmates, both local Kentucky bands with their own great sounds.

Much Obliged
Sunmates with John Fisk

I took opportunity to talk with some of the fans and found a lot of praise going on about the talented brothers Whitt of Rags and Riches and being glad to see them playing live before they go on their tour. They definitely have a fanbase here, some who’ve followed their career for the past 10 years, back when they both started playing.  Peyton on the drums and Tanner on the guitar.

Non-freakin’ stopping! Tanner Whitt, vocals with Peyton Whitt, drums and Jonah Fryrear on drums left-center
Rags And Riches

Even I saw Tanner and Peyton as youngsters when they first started playing in church, the place where so many great artists find their start; singing gospel songs.  I remember thinking back then something like, “Wow.  Guess they don’t’ need us old people anymore! The kids can do it all!”  They’ve been talented all their lives probably. I can imagine Peyton keeping a beat and Tanner humming a tune since day one. Yeah, I got the inside scoop, their mom told me she knew they were musically talented early on.

It is true they’ve spent their years up unto this time honing their skills and have continued playing in churches until recently. They had to make the decision to go on tour to get their name out, if they wanted to move forward.  Their parents with mixed feelings want to see them continue singing Christian music. Tanner and Peyton are not against it, and when talking with them, they said they are open to playing in churches, just not as Rags and Riches. It’s okay to do both and to have both. This is their own personal expression that takes them outside the four walls and into the bigger world around them.  Even Jesus did that. Most of his preaching and teaching what as outside the four walls and out where the people who were in need were to receive it. Jesus was always cool like that, and these guys are too. Their heart is in their original music that speaks to even larger crowds who will find meaning and purpose in these lyrics they’ve written as well.  To me when I see them, I see a big message in their songs, and that for anyone who wants to dig deeper into the lives of these guys, they will find some deeper messages that would ultimately point in the direction of the roots where they started and where they were raised, the roots that take them right back to where it all started, in the church.  They have a natural born ability and God-given gift of writing songs unbelievably well.  Their live show is so full of energy and excitement that it sweeps away the time and the thought about the worries of the day. So great an art and such great artists, and the three of them together, a fabulous show.

Never stopping… even flying…

I was able to talk with Tanner and Peyton before their set and found out they just recently stopped doing praise and worship music a few months ago, and around the beginning of August they started doing ony band stuff.  This was necessary to prepare for their bigger tour coming up. 67 days is their main focus at this point, then it will be followed by another tour.  They’ve put a lot of time and thought into their plans and have offers that have already come in.  So, what they see for the future is that this is the plan and the path for them to stay on for now. I was one of several who were glad to see them playing live in Lexington before they hit the road on their tour! 

I asked them about the name “Rags and Riches,’ and if it has any particular meaning to them.  Peyton did a lot of nodding in Tanner’s direction during most of our conversation.  It seems Peyton does most of his speaking with his drums, though I did get a few answers from him, Tanner answered my question.  He said they came up with the name when working in a rug shop together.  Tanner said, ‘people always say “rags to riches”, going from nothing to money, but for them “rags and riches” is for everyone and everyone is equal, no matter what style or life they come from, everyone is equal, from rich to poor.  They are “Rags and Riches,” that’s 26-year-old Tanner, and his 21-year-old brother, Peyton, who is actually the taller of the two and will someday be a world class and hugely famous drummer! He, of course will keep his humble and friendly profile and will let none of it go to his head when it happens, as will his brother Tanner by his side. smile emoji

Peyton started getting into electronic sound when he was around 12 and has been doing that for 10 years along with the drums.  I was privileged to get a sneak peak of their upcoming releases and his electronic engineering skills are really spot on and of great quality.  Tanner totally agrees. is the front man of the group and is a fantastic singer and songwriter himself.  He started playing guitar, though I did not see him pick one up while on stage, only jumping and flying in the air with the mic in his hand, and putting out the messages behind their songs with an energy that only deep love and passion for music can bring out of great artists.

The brothers Whitt co-write the songs, and described to me that it’s almost a bouncing back and forth between them.  Peyton works on music and Tanner the lyrics, then they break it down, change lines, someone gets a better idea, they go back and forth until they know they have a finished song.  These are days to cherish and brings me back to thoughts of when I used to work on songs in my younger days with my friends.  Definitely good times, especially with someone who you get along well with, and not just musically. 

I asked them, “Do you always get along”?  Peyton spoke up and said, “For the most part we do”.  Tanner finished by saying, “but if we fight, then it’s that brother love that kicks in and after about 5 min we get back to work.”  Sounds like a good relationship to me.  And other relationships in their lives, they have a really supportive family who is there to help them so they can get on with all of the touring they do.  Their parents are hugely supportive and have been there for them since the beginning, and they even describe their parents as “awesome people,” and that’s a pretty awesome thing to say in my book!

Peyton Whitt, drums and Tanner Whitt, vocals

Tanner went on to say that they definitely wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for their parents.  He said, “They both pushed us into music.  Dad played baseball, and we grew up playing ball too, but we were also interested in music”. Tanner went on to say he wanted to do baseball and really liked it a lot, but the music just started to take off more for them and it felt more natural.  Well, water runs on its course, and destiny puts in a sailboat to take a ride, and these guys jumped right on board!  It’s a good thing they are so athletic because this ride is gonna be a doozy!  When the crowds get a taste of the energy they have to give out, it is going to be big!  Really big stuff coming out of Lexington, KY!

This old lady here has a curfew, but I did stay until after 11:00pm.  These guys are so full of energy and energizing the whole place that it is hard not to go back to thinking of their performance!  I know for sure that I missed some good stuff by leaving when I did, but can’t help going home early these days.  I was wanted to introduce someone to their music tonight, but life happens to everyone, and so I had to go it alone or probably would have stayed later.

So…speaking of why it was so late… there were two really awesome bands before them.  First up was “Much Obliged,” a 5-piece out of Burgin, KY, playing some really nice tunes that were on the rock/indie side of the spectrum, along with a little heaviness.  They are good, with a good-listening sound.  For real, you see them bill boarded somewhere to play, go give them a listen, I give my recommendation.  There’s one really nice song playing in my head still that they gave a little almost reggae beat to, cool-style and great vocals too.  And don’t forget to patronize your local establishment while you are there too.  The “Much Obliged” band can also be found on the not-so-friendly algorithm’d face de book as well as I’m sure on other social media I did not get to talk with anyone from this band, but their music is definitely worthy of mention!  Rock on guys! 

Sunmates

After a little interlude during the switching of the acts, the Sunmates were up on the Cosmic stage playing some really fantastic covers with local legendary guitar player, John Fitch, center stage with his keyboard synth on the side and the mic in his face.  Dude dressed in a suite that reminded me of the Beetle days.  He even looks like a Beetle in a way, maybe favors John Lennon, only cuter, and without the glasses.  I swear, I did not drink any alcohol tonight, only diet soda.  John Fitch, as so many in this area remember started out in the local legendary band, Noble Giants.  They were actually recorded live here in Sound of Lexington studios back when the band was very hot in this town.  The footage from that day was never released because the band suffered a breakup of at least one member at the time it was set to publish.  It was a shame not to be able to put it out, it’s some really good stuff.  I remember John Fisk showing us the guitar he had made specifically for him back then.  So, at home just now after coming from the show and starting to write this, I open my webpage www.soundoflexington.com and search the Nobel Giants, and turns out they were the featured band this very date 3 years ago, September 27, 2016.  Pretty cool coincidence.  John did get involved in a few different music ventures after that but says he laid low for a while and just recently started playing out again.  Reminiscent of familiar but strangely cool indie, rock, pop, even some kind of funk in there, they definitely have their own sound.  John is cool and spot on with his guitar.  His vocals have a great tone and levels with the greats, in my opinion of Eric Clapton and so many more that I can not bring names up in my head to write at the moment.  I really also enjoyed this bands smooth bass player and the percussion.  I’m sure there were probably some originals played as well, but the night was long and full of not only music but talk for me.  I can only tell you it was really good!

So shout out to Cosmic Charlies for bringing in another really great show of local talent.  Again, I have to stay I like this venue and the parking and the outside area in the back.  The people at the door and behind the bar are always really friendly and helpful. 

To Tanner and Peyton Whitt and their upcoming tour, I know you guys will rock or beat the socks off of people all around this country as your tour takes shape.  Big sounds and big beats are forthcoming.  Cudos also to Jonah Fryrear who also plays a mean drum!  These brothers picked the right person to bring more energy to the stage!  This is a show that is worth seeing and looking forward to your upcoming CD release.  I know it will be well appreciated by all ears who crave that heavy sound!  Best to you guys and it was a pleasure seeing the show and getting to talk with you! 

Rags And Riches



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