By JENNIFER K. BAUER
Sweat trickles down frontman Mason McCroskey’s arms as he throws his body into the thumping, symphonic brand of rock the Maple Bars have made their own. His hands fly across two keyboards, one a synthesizer, the other a stereo sound piano.
Like the treat they’re named for, decadent layers of sound roll in with Austin Moody on guitar and bass and Trenton Meeds’ command of drums. The Maple Bars’ original music is full of epic-feeling highs and lows and a passion greater than the Clarkston garage they practice in weekly.
When asked to describe their sound, McCroskey says with a smile, “Sweet and sticky, just like a maple bar.”
Few bands like to label themselves. McCroskey adds that some people have compared them to the Doors because of the keyboard work.
However, one could easily extend that comparison to McCroskey’s voice, which like Morrison’s, free-wheels through octaves and emotions from the lowliest growl to devilish howls and plaintive wails.
The Maple Bars formed four years ago and was the duo of McCroskey and Meeds, both 28, until Moody, 29, joined them last fall. They perform frequently at Hogan’s Pub in Clarkston, where they’ve all worked as bartenders. At the tavern they met co-worker Dave Crocker, whose stories inspired them to write songs like “Mama My Sister’s Dead” and “Curtis Mayfield.” The songs on their first album are a concept piece, which they are in the midst of recording with the Lewiston-Clarkston Valley band the Khind.
“We all have our Dave stories, but we make his stories sound more like an Oliver Stone or Quentin Tarantino movie, with more sex and violence,” says McCroskey, who started piano lessons in the third grade and cites retired Clarkston High School music teacher Fred Dole as a major influence.
The band headlines Inland 360’s Capital Street Dock Concert Saturday, July 26. They’ll also perform Aug. 22 at Lewiston’s Hot August Nights.
Bauer may be contacted at email@example.com or (208) 848-2263.