Chuck Whiting
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Chuck Whiting

Hastings, Michigan, United States

Hastings, Michigan, United States
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Jun
08
Chuck Whiting @ Buttermilk Jamboree

Delton, Michigan, USA

Delton, Michigan, USA

May
12
Chuck Whiting @ Tip Top Deluxe Bar

Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

May
03
Chuck Whiting @ New Holland Brewing Co.

Holland, Michigan, USA

Holland, Michigan, USA

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Music

Press


Chuck Whiting doesn’t come from a musical family.

His parents don’t sing, they don’t play guitar, they don’t write their own songs and they most certainly do not yodel.

Yet Chuck Whiting and his Rowdy Friends can be seen the first Monday of every month at Kalamazoo’s Old Dog Tavern doing all of the above and more.

The Hastings-based, 29-year-old songwriter, who along with his brother Ben, on upright bass, and Dee Hoffman, on electric guitar, specialize in a traditional blend of country, 12-bar blues and Americana.

They have been performing monthly at the Old Dog for nearly eight months. The band rocks, rolls and all the while Whiting ... yodels?

“When we’re doing a 12-bar blues, it’s a really good way to cap the song. The band knows that when I start to yodel, go one-five-one and that ends the song,” Whiting said.

“We have one song called, ‘Lonesome Yodeling Blues,’ where I yodel on the chorus — it’s actually a written yodel part as opposed to just an easy way to close the song,” he said.

The Southern vocal technique has been a part of Whiting’s live repertoire for about three years. But he discovered the art of country yodeling several years before that, on post-college trip to Nashville, Tenn., with his mother.

Some of the sights Whiting soaked in included the Grand Ole Opry, The Jack Daniels Distillery and almost every record store in town.

“I bought a bunch of Hank Williams CDs and just became obsessed,” he said.

“When I discovered Hank Williams, it was like one of those no turning back moments,” Whiting said, who until that point had played primarily in punk bands or as an acoustic musician.

By the time he got back to Michigan, Whiting dropped the punk routine and took up traditional country as a full-time endeavor.

Well mostly full time anyway.

He still frequents the open mic circuit, even going back to Nashville to perform at the legendary Bluebird Cafe.

“The Bluebird Cafe open mic is the biggest open mic in the world. I thought I was crazy for driving from Michigan, but when I was there I ended up hanging out with some dude from Canada and a dude from Pittsburgh. People come from all of the country to this one open mic just to do one song. I didn’t even get to sing while I was there; I just got a stamped ticket that guarantees I’ll get to sing next time,” he said.

Whiting intends to head back to the Bluebird Café this spring and redeem his ticket for a few minutes on stage. But Nashville isn’t the only road trip Whiting has taken in the name of the open mic. He has also driven to AJ’s Pub in Ferndale a few times after hearing about it on NPR. And he attended countless jam sessions during a four month stint living in Austin, Texas.

“There was something music related going on every single night, it was the best four months of my life. Everyone I met in Texas was very spontaneous. You’d be playing an open mic and someone would jump on stage and start playing along. It was cool,” Whiting said.

Despite all the hours spent playing, what he took way from his time in the Lone Star State was something that he learned while watching and listening.

“Musicians in Texas are different from musicians in Michigan. In Texas, music is just an entirely different thing. The main thing I took away from it is that live music is music and recorded music is just a recording of music, live music is really what it’s all about,” Whiting said.

Despite that belief, Chuck Whiting and his Rowdy Friends are currently working on their debut LP, an untitled album that Whiting hopes to have ready for the weekend of June 10-12 when the band plays the Buttermilk Jamboree at the Circle Pines Center in Delton. - Kalamazoo Gazette


Discography

Still working on that hot first release.

Photos

Bio

Chuck Whiting & His Rowdy Friends have been bringing a uniquely western sounding variety of honky tonk and country music to West Michigan for just a little over two years. The band consists of singer-songwriter Chuck Whiting, with Andrew Whiting on upright bass and Nick Lancaster on lead guitar. Since the summer of 2010, the three have been performing bars, festivals, and street corners across West Michigan, playing their own brand of “hillbilly blues and western swing”.

Although Chuck has been writing, recording, and performing in Michigan most of his life, he has also begun developing his career in other regions of United States. Two years ago Chuck did a four month stint in Austin Texas, where he performed at such legendary venues as the Cactus Cafe and Hills Cafe. He was also a finalist in the “South Austin Idol” singer-songwriter competition, and performed at the annual “North Buy No Wristband” songwriter's showcase. He also did a series of well received performances in Nashville, Tennessee, and plans to return there soon.

Chuck returned to West Michigan with a new style of songwriting and performing, heavily influenced by the musicians he saw and met in Texas, such as Dale Watson, James Hand, Wayne Hancock, and Junior Brown. Chuck also quickly developed a reputation for his yodeling, a craft not normally practiced by singers in their twenties. In May of 2011 Chuck was profiled in a spotlight bio in the Kalamazoo Gazette Ticket, the article praised Chuck for his yodeling and his troubadour lifestyle.

In 2011, band released there debut full-length album, entitled: "Calamity". The album received not only outstanding praise from listeners, but was also nominated for two WYCE Jammie awards. They toured Michigan in support of the album, performing with such bands as The Crane Wives, Wayne Hancock, Delilah Dewylde & The Lost Boys, Tony LaJoye Trio, An Dro, Tom VandenAvond, and several other well-known Michigan, midwest, and nationally touring acts.