North of Mason-Dixon (NOMaD)
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North of Mason-Dixon (NOMaD)

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2005 | SELF

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2005
Band Country Rock

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"Country Band Celebrates Its PA Roots"

Posted: Monday, July 25, 2011 3:00 am | Updated: 10:58 am, Mon Jul 25, 2011.

By BILL ZIMMERMAN billz@indianagazette.net

North of Mason-Dixon is more than a description of his band's origin -- lead singer David August says it's a statement that the South isn't the only place for quality country music.

"We'd like to think there's good music north of the Mason-Dixon as well," he said from a recent van trip heading to an opening gig for Brad Paisley in New Jersey.

Hailing from western Pennsylvania, the members of North of Mason-Dixon have taken their sound north and south of the boundary line since 2004. On Sunday, they'll open for John Michael Montgomery before his two shows at Mack Park.

"We put on a pretty high-energy, live show," August said.

That set will include cuts from the band's debut, 2006's "Born and Raised," along with cover tunes spanning three decades of rock and country hits.

Rounding out North of Mason-Dixon is Dale Vincent, guitar/vocals; Bobby Kunkel, drums/vocals; George Elliott, bass; "Suitcase" Johnny Waclo, guitar/vocals; and Luke Zacherl, fiddle/vocals. August said most of the members have played together for 15 to 20 years, and their bond is apparent to the audience.

"There's definitely a good chemistry and good energy on stage. … They really appreciate the fact that we look like we're having a good time," he said.

Coincidently, North of Mason-Dixon has some of its biggest supporters below the Mason-Dixon. August called Maryland an adopted home state where "we feel like rock stars."

"Ocean City is one of our biggest allies," August said. "We've been going there six or seven years; the crowds there are great."

The band is working on a follow-up to "Born and Raised" slated for late summer or early fall. The first single, "American Boy," is a celebration of small-town life.

"Got a baseball field, a swimming pool, a fishing hole and more/got everything I need and it's right outside of my front door," August sings.

"We're just elated with the tracks and how it sounds," he said. "We'd like to say there's a progression for sure."

August works as a self-employed IT guy and said the band's goal is to make a career out of music. For seven months last year they made weekly van trips to Atlantic City for weekend gigs at Bally's hotel/casino.

"We thought we were going to be dead by the end of it, but we had a really good time," August said. "We thought we were going to kill each other."

The band has opened for scores of national acts including Keith Urban, Rascal Flatts, Toby Keith, Brooks & Dunn and LeAnn Rimes. In 2008, they won a competition to open for Kenny Chesney in Pittsburgh, and played a pre-show party outside Heinz Field before Chesney's recent visit to the city July 2. They're in the midst of their busiest July ever; 20 shows have been or will be performed.

August takes on the brisk schedule despite a condition that would appear a major obstacle to a performer in a high-energy country band: he lost his leg below the knee after a car accident more than 20 years ago. (He landed a small speaking role in the 2009 post-apocalyptic thriller "The Road," when the crew needed "thin amputees" to appear in a nude scene filmed in an old mansion in Butler County.)

August called the accident a blessing in disguise that made him more outgoing and eventually a confident performer.

"It kind of brought a little more out of me and made me do more things," he said. "I thought 'I could be dead tomorrow.'" - The Indiana Gazette


"NOMaD wanders into original country"

Thursday, April 20, 2006

By John Hayes, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

North of the Mason-Dixon Line, in a city with a marginal original country music scene that's dominated by a single band, another band is doing a lot of things right.

Nomad, a tongue-in-cheek acronym for North of Mason and Dixon, is an original country band from Pittsburgh that isn't the PovertyNeck Hillbillies. Rejecting the cover-band mentality that's pervasive in the region's country scene, the members weave into their sets original up-tempo songs that fit so snugly into the contemporary Hot Country radio format that the simulcasting Froggy stations have added the unsigned local band to their play list.

And instead of hiding in the hinterlands, they're bold enough to unveil their first CD in the center of Pittsburgh's night scene. "Born and Raised," Nomad's first CD, is packed with progressive country with a rock 'n' roll punch that keeps dance crowds on the floor. The band is set to prove it again Friday with a release party at the Saddle Ridge country nightclub at Station Square.

"We define it hard-rockin' modern country," says singer Dave August, "mainstream radio-friendly country music with an edge."

The band's core members -- August, drummer Bobby Kunkel, bassist Brian Osburn and guitarist Geo Bennett -- cut their musical teeth in the early 1990s as part of Stone Romeo, a local original rock band.

"When we got interested in country," says August, "there was never any question about whether we'd do originals."

The addition of "Suitcase" Johnny Waclo on rhythm guitar and Cassandra Sotos on fiddle and violin gave them the groove they were looking for, and Nomad immediately started writing songs.

"Some local country bands are trying to do originals. They announce that they're playing a new song, and it clears the room," says August. "That's the local mind set, and a lot of local clubs shy away from bands with originals. But we take the mind set that we're really proud of what we do, and if we convey it in a positive light, it will work.

"We slip our songs in between Big & Rich and Montgomery Gentry, and people come up later and say, 'I can't believe those songs are originals.' Pretty soon they're asking for them."

There's another familiar roadblock keeping Pittsburgh from having more of an original country music scene. Call it Fear of Hillbillies.

"Get into any conversation with other local bands and the PovertyNeck Hillbillies always come up, " says August. "Bands say, 'Look at what they're doing. We can't compete with that.' That's funny because we're friends with [the Hillbillies], and they're totally supportive -- they say keep pushing, keep playing the originals."

It's good advice that's working for Nomad. Froggy is spinning the band's signature tune, "North of Mason Dixon," and drive-time personality Danger Frog will emcee the band's Friday release party.
- Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


"NOMaD plays country with local touch"

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

By Patrick Shuster

MANOR -- When local country band North Of Mason Dixon (NOMaD) rolls into town next Saturday night, they will bring with them copies of their first full-length CD.
The band members, which includes Freeport teen Cassandra Sotos, have spent the past three years honing their collective talent by playing almost nonstop across western Pennsylvania and beyond, and are now ready to share their brand of hard-rocking country with a much wider audience.

"It's been a long time in coming," said lead singer David August. "We almost decided to call the album that because we have been working on it for so long."

August said the new release, titled "Born and Raised," was self-financed by the band and recorded with the help of Ford City native and country music star Dave Hanner of the famed Corbin Hanner Band.

The core of the band has been playing together for about 10 years and we used to be a hard rock band, " August said. "We hooked up with Dave Hanner and he was a key figure in pointing us to the country music scene."

August said the band hadn't really considered the popularity of country music until receiving the advice, but said once they actually started to compare their songs with the sounds they were hearing, they decided to give it a shot.

"The first few times we played as a country act, we had some really cold crowds," August recalled of the band's start. "We quickly decided to take the music and give it our own kick and things began to take off."

The band has gathered quite a following over the past few years, playing nearly everyday last summer, said fiddle player Cassandra "Cat" Sotos, daughter of Dr. Peter and Kris Sotos of South Buffalo Township.

"We spent a lot of time on the road, playing just about everywhere we could find," Sotos, a senior in high school. "It's been exciting, trying and difficult trying to balance school and a music career."

The band has gained notoriety lately, with the help of Froggy 98.3 FM, a Pittsburgh county music station, which has featured the band at a number of events, including judging the Froggy "Idol" singing competition.

"It's been great working with the radio station and just getting our name out there to the masses," August said. "Our self-titled song, "North of Mason Dixon," is being featured on the radio station during the next few weeks, which should help a great deal to promote the band."

Along with the radio promotion, NOMaD's fan base has continued to grow, thanks to the Poverty Neck Hillbillies, a Pittsburgh country band which the band has opened for countless times.

"It's great to have the crowds coming out to see them and the energy levels are out of control," August said. "Opening for them has done a lot to help us build our fan base and to be able to perform at some larger venues."

NOMaD has opened for such country music greats as Toby Keith, Van Zant, Brooks & Dunn, Alan Jackson and Big & Rich.

The band's current line up consists of August on lead vocals, Geo Bennett on lead guitar, "Suitcase" Johnny Waclo on rhythm guitar, Bobby Kunkel on drums, Brian Osburn on bass, and Cassandra "Cat" Sotos on fiddle.

The band will kick off the release of the new CD Friday at the Saddle Ridge Club in Pittsburgh and April 29 at the Lenape Heights Golf Course in Manor Township.

Tickets for the Lenape show are $6 and will feature a live performance by the band, along with several raffles and door prizes. There will be a small dinner menu and cash bar at the all-ages show.

For more information or to purchase tickets, contact Cassandra Sotos at 724-859-5748, or visit the band's website at www.northofmasondixon.com.
- Leader Times


"CD Review"

October 21, 2007

by Jeffrey Kurtis

Pennsylvania's North Of Mason Dixon are going to catch your attention the minute you hit play. With a fiddle tossed in the mix of rocking guitars you will be tapping along with "Dyin' To Live," an autobiographical look at where life is as David August takes a look around and sees what everyone else from high school is doing now. From here you are tossed into an album that is quickly going to become a favorite of yours. You can't help but dance along with songs like "Summer's End," you can't help singing along with the catchy choruses of "North Of Mason Dixon," or "Farmer's Daughter," and you will raise a drink with "Three Margaritas." For the most part this is an upbeat album with guitars that walk that border of modern country and rock, and no matter what you flavor is North of Mason Dixon is without a doubt the band for you and well worth a listen. When they do slow things down on tracks like "I'm Not You Man," you may just think you are hearing a brand new Bon Jovi song as the vocals rival his. Most of the songs are catchy, upbeat, and will have you moving in no time and just for good measure there is a familiar cover in REO Speedwagon's "Take It On The Run" to close out the album. The only problem with listening to an album like this one while driving is that you are going to want to dance and jump around and you can't. Great album! - Gone Country Magazine


"Chesney Ringleads Greatest Show On Earth"

Posted: 6/18/08

Kenny Chesney's Poets & Pirates Tour features only country acts, but it rocked Heinz Field like only two other concerts in the stadium's history - both of which were also headlined by Chesney.

Chesney brought his tour's 55 semi-trucks and 28 buses to the North Shore for the third time in four years early Friday morning. Crews spent the better half of two days setting up the mammoth stage and 5,000 amps worth of power and sound equipment - enough energy to power a small neighborhood for a week. The concert has become an annual event in Pittsburgh, and it becomes more like a festival each year.

The festivities began late Friday evening at Station Square with a pre-concert party at Saddle Ridge and Chesney's "Next Big Star" battle of the bands at the Hard Rock Cafe.

Pittsburgh's own NOMaD - short for North of Mason-Dixon - won the competition and the right to kick off the show at Heinz Field. It warmed up the crowd with its true country sound, which is an excellent mix of classic bluegrass and today's mainstream country music. Its first single, "North of Mason Dixon," sounds like a Pittsburgher's take on Alabama's hit song, "Mountain Music."

Prior to the show inside the stadium, many local acts were featured on Y108's small stage outside the main gate and Froggy's floating stage along the Ohio River.

But the main pre-concert activity was tailgating - and Chesney's fans are experts.

The cars started rolling in as early as 8 a.m. Some brought sand and kiddie pools to coincide with Chesney's island-themed songs, some dressed as Pirates, and nearly everyone brought plenty of alcohol - the intensity put even Steelers tailgating fans to shame.

Not even rain could stop the party as the concert started. Fans trickled in as Luke Bryan took the stage and danced around like only a country boy can, singing his Southern heart out.

Gary Allan was up next. His energy rivaled that of the headliner's as he performed hits such as "Watching Airplanes" and "Best I Ever Had." He embraced the squall of rain with his hit "Songs about Rain," and the fans enjoyed the appropriate downpour. Ironically, the rain ceased soon after that song and cleared up for the rest of the evening.

Country diva LeAnn Rimes was next, amazing the crowd - still growing by the minute - with her powerful vocals. She kicked off her set with her upbeat hits "Nothin' Better to Do" and "Family." She bounced around the stage until a minor "wardrobe malfunction" encouraged her to calm down her dancing for the rest of the show.

The final accompanying act was superstar Keith Urban. Urban doesn't need Chesney to help fill venues - he proved as much in November with his own sold-out show at Mellon Arena. The stadium was filled by the time he took the stage, and the familiar acoustic intro of "Days Go By" flowed through the amplifiers.

Urban was energetic and working hard to entertain his fans, even jumping off the stage and wandering over to the stands before running back, slapping hands as he sprinted by.

After an appropriate pirate voice introduction, Chesney finally rose slowly out of the stage to "Live Those Songs Again," and the roar from the crowd might have been audible as far as Oakland.

The screaming fans never stopped cheering, and they rarely missed a word to his songs. He worked the stage like the superstar he is, proving why he is the four-time winner of ACM's Entertainer of The Year award. He and his band played 13 fast-paced songs in a row, including "Summertime" and "Beer in Mexico," before things finally slowed down with ballads such as "Better as a Memory" and the crowd-pleasing "Old Blue Chair."

The one time that the crowd stopped singing along with Chesney was during "Back Where I Come From." Instead of singing, the fans cheered mightily when his colossal big screen - twice the size of the stadium's - showed a montage of sights around the city, including photos of the Pittsburgh Penguins' Stanley Cup run.

The front row of the concert became more of a rock 'n' roll atmosphere than country -more and more drunk girls continued trying to get closer to the man whose "Tractor's Sexy."

The security, however, was more than adequate, as none of these people stayed up front for more than a song or two.

Kenny Chesney is a hardcore country singer who put on a great, energetic show, but even more hardcore are his fans. When one woman's camera died, she offered me $60 for batteries.

Having purchased a pack of AA's the night before, not only did I witness the biggest and probably best concert of the year, I also walked out with more money than I had when I went in. - Tony Jovenitti - University of Pittsburgh


"CD Review"

One listen to North Of Mason-Dixon’s (NOMaD) latest album “Born and Raised” and you’ll quickly realize just why Kenny Chesney chose them as the Next Big Star contest winners in Pittsburgh earlier this year. If you need an album for the car or iPod, then it should be “Born And Raised”. NOMaD rocks you from beginning to end and makes you want more. The hard driven tunes like “Dyin’ To Live, “The Farmers Daughter” and “Watch the Girls” get you up on your feet and make you want to dance. Then songs like “North Of Mason Dixon”, “Three Margaritas” and “Summer’s End” get the party started. Don’t be fooled though, these guys can deliver some great ballads as the show on “Desire,” an instrumental take on “Amazing Grace,” as well as “I’m not Your Man”. I was also quite impress ed with their countrified version of REO Speed wagon’s “Take It On The Run”. This steadily climbing, beyond high-energy act has garnered a great deal of success and shows no signs of slowing down. I for one can’t wait to get a chance to see NOMaD’s live show. Opening for national acts like Kenny Chesney, Brooks and Dunn, Toby Keith, and Rascal Flatts (to name a few), it’s only a matter of time before a major label catches on to this group. If you don’t have this album then this is one that should make its way to your collection if you are a fan of modern, rocking, country music. - Today's Country Magazine


Discography

Still working on that hot first release.

Photos

Bio

For more than a decade, North of Mason Dixon, aka NOMaD has been one of the region’s premier recording and live acts. This six-piece band mixes the best of modern and classic country with timeless classic rock in a high-energy show that always leaves audiences wanting more.  

Over the course of their 10-plus-year history, NOMaD has supported hundreds of national acts, including Brooks and Dunn, Toby Keith, Rascal Flatts, Little Big Town, Phil Vassar, etc. and was selected as Kenny Chesney’s Next Big Star winner in 2008, resulting in an opening slot for the country superstar at Pittsburgh’s Heinz Field. The band has also been a featured artist at several of the region’s biggest events, including Pittsburgh’s Dollar Bank Jamboree, Regatta, Light Up Night, First Night, and Pyrofest, and has worked with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Pittsburgh Penguins, and a wide range of charity organizations in the region.  Their touring schedule also successfully navigates the fair, festival, casino, and corporate circuits, as well as larger clubs in the eastern and southeastern regions of the country.

NOMaD’s debut CD "Born and Raised" charted nationally with singles reaching #78 and #82 respectively, while their second self-titled release, produced a national and international charting single in "American Boy", which was also used in a national ad for Supercuts Radio. The song’s subsequent video won the national Mello Yello "One Track Find" competition, which garnered the band a significant monetary prize and was used in prominent online advertising. NOMaD also released an acoustic EP in 2013, as well as a four-song, digital Christmas EP in 2014. Currently, the band is in pre-production for their third full-length CD, which slated for release in 2016.

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NOMaD is:

David August - Lead Vocals

Jason Pfeifer - Lead Guitars, Background Vocals

Bobby Kunkel - Drums, Percussion, Background/Lead Vocals

George Elliott - Bass Guitar, Background Vocals

“Suitcase” Johnny Waclo - Rhythm Acoustic & Electric Guitars

Luke Zacherl-  Violin/Fiddle, Mandolin, Background Vocals

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For additional information, visit our official website at: www.northofmasondixon.com

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RECENT ACCOMPLISHMENTS - BRIEFS:

-North Of Mason-Dixon (NOMaD)'s song "American Boy" receives further accollades and is chosen after the year long 2012 "Rock The Cut" campaign from Supercuts to be among one of 12 acts featured in the 2013 radio ad campaign.

-2012 National Grand Prize Winners of the Mello Yello One Track Find Video competition for their song American Boy"

-NOMaD's latest Self Titled album released in November 2011 to rave reviews and a highly successful CD release party. Their first single "American Boy" continues to be played WORLDWIDE and has charted as high as #2 on the ECMA UK charts and #3 in the Netherlands, both in radio and video format and their follow-up single "City Girl/Country Girl" is already going beyond expectations. This is the follow-up to their much praised debut Born And Raised

-Selected to perform on a segment of Brad Paisleys H20 2 tour in summer 2011

-Recently completed a 7 month run as the featured entertainment at the new venue The Main Stage at Ballys Atlantic City, NJMay 2010 through December 2010. (2 renewals)
-Selected to be the exclusive music content for the 2009 IAFE Convention.
-Selected as Kenny Chesneys Next Big Star 2008 at Heinz Field, Pittsburgh PA.

-Local, regional and international airplay and webplay including charting of all three singles off of Born and Raised as well as their first single American Boy off their 2nd self-titled release

-Has opened for or supported over 100 National artists including Kenny Chesney, Keith Urban, Leann Rimes, Rascal Flatts, Brad Paisley, Toby Keith, Little Big Town and many, many more.

-Tours regularly throughout the year including regular trips to Nashville and popular tourist destinations such as Ocean City MD, Rehoboth Beach DE and Atlantic City NJ.

-Performances and strong relationships for and with many corporations, major sport organizations and fairs/festivals

Band Members