Kari Lynch and the "Dudes"

After a year and a half performing live, the Kari Lynch Band is creating quite the sensation. From playing out of state to doing shows in local bars, the small town country band has come a long way in a short time.

The Grand Rapids-based country band released its self-titled EP on Tuesday, May 17 on iTunes. The five-song CD showcases lead singer Kari Lynch, Matthew Kok on acoustic guitar, Ryder Jones on electric guitar, Sam Briggs on drums and Chris Bardolph on bass. The new EP includes original songs such as "I Never Liked you Anyway," "Me and a Bottle of Wine" and "Gettin' Gone." After only a matter of hours after being released at midnight Tuesday morning, fans are already rating this album with straight fives on iTunes.

The band's debut EP titled, One Happy Love Song (released November 2009), was number three on the iTunes Country New and Noteworthy list and stayed in the top 20 for six weeks. This album features singles like "Brilliant" and "Better." Shortly thereafter, Kari Lynch released a single called "Don't Talk Out Loud." The band found a pocket of sound that mixes new pop country with classic country while infusing some blues elements has helped the band stand out from other small bands.

The new album has a good balance musically; it starts off kickin' and ends kickin', Lynch says. From up-tempo rock country, blues, to classic traditional country, the songs appeal to a broad audience. Each song is meant reflect of life, especially "Gettin' Gone." Lynch says the drive underlying the song is the band's desire to have their music known and leave the small town behind. With a Patsy Cline, Garth Brooks, and Keith Urban-influenced sound and a passion for music, they are well on their way.

In February, Kari Lynch had the opportunity through her sponsorship with Grand Touring Vodka to travel down to Daytona, Fla. to perform alongside Dierks Bentley, Brad Paisley, and Martina McBride at the Daytona 500/Speedweek. In order to accomplish the trip, Kari Lynch and the "dudes" held a fundraiser at Peppino's in Grand Rapids, Mich. encouraging donations while the band performed live.

Kari and her band will also be sharing the stage with Jerrod Niemann at the Intersection in Grand Rapids on May 26. The band is also playing at the Grand Rapids Festival on June 3, the Kent County Fair on Aug. 13 and the Hillsdale County Fair on September 28.

On top of all the live shows that Kari Lynch and the "dudes" have done, the band is featured on Fox 17, Wood TV 8 and WZZM Channel 13. They also played shows on 93.7 B-93, WIN 98.5, 103.5 Country and 94.5 The Moose. She writes that they just made it through the first round of a country competition sponsored by 94.5 The Moose as well and have a chance at winning the competition.

"The fan base is really incredible," she says. "They come out to shows and promote us without being asked."

Having performed live at shows for just a little more than a year now, the band has made great strides in such a short time, according to Lynch. The band focuses on making good music rather than competing with other bands for the spotlight. Feeling greatly influenced by music throughout her entire life, she began writing at an early age about anything and everything, and then put melodies to the words. The secret to her success is not only working really hard, but also finding the right group of people to make music with.

"You have to love it more than anything," she says.