Jared Knox and the Hägar Bombs
Nov. 13-14: Roadhouse Bar and Grill, Paw Paw
Nov. 21: M89 Sports Bar, Plainwell
Nov. 25: Whiskey River Saloon, Grandville
Local country band Jared Knox and the Hägar Bombs deliver an energetic, modern country sound that’s as enjoyable as the spicy, bitter German liquor its namesake is borrowed from.
The group is making a name for itself, too — at least, until Jägermeister finally decides to fire off a cease-and-desist letter.
“We kept going back and forth about a band name and we wanted something to distinguish us,” Knox said. “At band practice we were also sharing stories about drinking too much and we kept hearing about Jägerbombs. Our drummer, Travis [Hanko], is from Hagar [Township]. It was his idea to name us the Hägar Bombs.”
While based in Southwest Michigan, the band offers authentic southern roots via Louisiana-born Knox. He moved up north after graduating high school in 1996, following his family after his sister married and settled in South Haven.
“I grew up singing in church a lot,” Knox said. “It was a big part of growing up in the South and the influence in my vocals runs deep.”
In fact, his voice is often compared to the famed Keith Whitley, one of Knox’s musical idols. It was his love for country music and his passion for performing in front of a crowd that kept Knox operating as a solo artist, circuiting venues for a whole decade by himself despite his desire to form a band. That’s when he took an unconventional route to performing with a “full band.”
“I had a crazy idea 10 years ago while I was getting frustrated about my music,” Knox said. “So I got together with a karaoke DJ in South Haven. I thought, ‘I’m going to put together a set list like any other band.’ I promoted it, the place was packed and people loved it.”
Eventually Knox found that he could control his sets using a laptop, but performing without an actual rhythm section just wasn’t doing it.
The vocalist found what he was looking for when he came across Hanko drumming for a different local band. While Hanko’s multi-colored Mohawk might not scream country music, it fit what Knox was looking for.
“I fell in love with his style,” Knox said. “He has this rocker side and I liked the way he played. I never met a guy who performed like that and was a center piece.”
About a year ago, the band came to fruition by picking up members to flesh out the line-up — Chris Hamilton (guitar), Jayson Bussa (bass) and recent addition Kelly Kalinas (guitar).
“I was blessed,” said Knox of his band’s lineup. “I was getting discouraged and then the heavens parted. It was perfect timing, perfect everything. We all hit it off.”
The band runs the spectrum, from old-school Hank Williams Jr., to the booty-shaking stylings of Luke Bryan. They also have plenty of originals.
“I always tell people we are really high-energy country music,” said Knox, who sports a black, 10-gallon hat onstage, “When we play a song, people are going to get moving. We do acoustic ballads, hard and heavy rock. We have a good blend.”
Knox has a solo album available on Amazon, entitled I Would Show Her. The band is currently working on new material to be released this winter.