Half Moon
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Half Moon

Band R&B Funk


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"Half Moon Band takes untamed ride"

By Eric Peters

The Half Moon Band, a group of local musicians in their 20s, has been together in one form or another for almost five years.

The four performers, who rehearse in Cloverdale, recently experienced five of their most unforgettable days as a group. Those days came during a tour that made its way from the Roanoke Valley to Virginia Beach to New Jersey to New York City.

It wasn’t, however, as easy as they thought it would be.

Everyone but the driver and front passenger are asleep.

The 15 person Dodge Ram is set on cruise control at 60 mph headed home to the Roanoke Valley, via U.S. 460.

The maroon van was christened earlier on the trip as “Ron Burgundy” for its color, and for an encounter it had with a small metal shelter in the woods called Ron’s Auto.

When he wakes up for a moment, Scott Kulick, the band’s trumpet player, is asked what he is going to do when he gets home. He teaches trumpet, guitar and bass at Salem’s , Ridenhour Music Center.

“I wish I could think of something more colorful,” he says. “All I’m going to do though, is sleep.”

Sleep has been in short supply these past five days. It has been an untamed ride.

The band was out from beneath the cover of the Blue Ridge Mountains by 3:30 a.m. June 21. Some members had slept, some had not.

They were expected to be in Virginia Beach by 6:30 that night, so time was on their side...or so they thought.

Around 8 a.m., thoughts of the East Coast boiled in each of the four members’ minds as they passed through Richmond. Then, 30 miles east of the city, the Half Moon Band was suddenly dealt a dire hand.

Without warning, “Ron Burgundy’s” drive shaft fell out of the bottom of the van.
The driver at the time and guitarist/lead singer, Adam Beason, guided the crippled van to the shoulder of I-64 and remained optimistic.

“We’re going to call a tow truck, get this fixed, and be in Virginia Beach early enough to sit on the beach,” he said.

The tow truck was prompt in its arrival. The getting fixed part would be a different story, though.

The band crawled back into the van and both were pulled up on to a flat-bed tow truck. After the ensuing elevated ride through some of New Kent County’s bent thoroughfares, the mechanic at a half-cylinder shaped silver establishment, Ron’s Auto, broke the news.

“It will be two days at best before this van can leave,” he told them.

To continue, the band would have to make the decision to suffer a financial loss before it even played its first gig.

Whether to turn back or to stay the course was hardly discussed. The question quickly became: How do we keep moving?

An answer came in the form of a rented white Ford Excursion and a UHaul trailer.
Repairing the van and renting new transportation put the band in a hole well over $1,000 dollars deep.

“It’s a rough setback,” said the drummer, John Beason – Adam’s younger brother. “Even though it’s a financial loss, we’re going to New York and that’s what I want to do and where I want to go, so I don’t care if I end up playing on tin pots.”

After waiting for over six hours at Ron’s Auto on the hot sandy shores of New Kent County’s sparsely settled forest, suitable transportation finally arrived. The Half Moon Band was out of that barely populated corner of Virginia and on the move again before 5 p.m. This time, the keyboardist, Robbie Bielawski was at the wheel.

He was concerned, to say the least.
The Excursion had been rented in his name and New York City, to him, was not the place to take a rented SUV and trailer. He left his apprehension behind, however, and pushed on for the sake of his music.

Bielawski said later that he is the type of person that can play his keyboard in the living room by himself for hours, but at the same time, he likes to entertain people.

A good reason for continuing, he said, was because “right now the band is finding a common ground and its own voice.”

They arrived in Virginia Beach on time at a bar called Steppin’ Out. The stage was in a big room with a bar in the rear and an elevated dance floor in front of the stage.

By the time The Half Moon Band Played its first note at about 10 p.m., members were just happy to have made it.

“It was a relief to be there,” said John Beason. “Like settling down after a storm."

The Half Moon voice that Bielawski spoke of was showcased well. A mixture of jazz, rock and roll and blues was a change of pace from the previous bands who played punk music accompanied by words that would have landed most people with a fairly serious sexual harassment suit.

A total of only 10 people saw bits and pieces of their eight-song set, but one in particular was very impressed.

After the show, a booking agent in attendance told Adam Beason that he liked what he had heard and offered the band two more gigs later this summer in Norfolk.

“That’s exactly what we were shooting for on this tour,” said Adam.

The next morning, tired but eager, - Salem Times Register/ Fincastle Herald

"Top Ticket: Half Moon"

By John Persinger

Half Moon
A warning to all who might attend this show: It has recently come to our attention that Half Moon's popularity is the result of the ear-friendly hooks used to mask its sinister jam-band agenda. While you may think you're innocently enjoying a solid groove and catchy melody, you're really getting exposed to a wide variety of musical styles ranging from jazz improvisation to blues and folk that the band cleverly adapts and intertwines around their originals and covers. Most listeners are not even aware of the switch -- they're happily distracted by the band's polish and energy. Worse still, research suggests that repeated exposure to such stylings over the course of an evening has been shown to dramatically alter one's tastes in music. Consider yourself warned.
- Roanoke Times

"Headlights Still Shining In My Brain"

- The Phantom

Greetings and salutations.

Nothing like waiting until the last possible second. Under pressure, true creativity is said to thrive, and that is what I kept telling myself when I decided to wait until last night to check out this week’s artist, Half Moon. Yes, there were actually numerous exciting live activities this past weekend. No, I didn’t find the human energy to make it out to any of them. Yes, there were notable shows in the early part of the work week. Didn’t go to those either.

After taking a short breather, I decided on Monday that I’d pay a visit to Half Moon and leave myself as little time as possible to write an interesting and informative commentary. When I think about it, it occurs to me that I could’ve just as easily seen them later this weekend and given myself more time by reviewing someone else this week. Why am I telling you all of this? So that in the event you enjoy what you read, you’ll have enough additional information about my personal struggle to truly appreciate how awesome I really am.

Assuming you’re a longtime reader of my column (how long have I been doing this, now?), you’ll recall that I don’t naturally gravitate toward jam bands. Not that I don’t enjoy the spirit of spontaneity or admire the strong improvisational skills. Spread over a few hours, some of the more inspired artists can happen upon pure genius, going off into their own world and making some pretty profound musical statements along the way. While you probably won’t confuse them with the Grateful Dead, their sound would no doubt make Garcia proud. Often up tempo but rarely at a pure drive, they add flavor to a relaxed rhythm and blues foundation with folk/rock guitar, swinging bass groove, and soulful horns. Their two (yes, two) drummers flirt with jazz percussion and add a touch of classic rock ‘n roll to turn the bassist’s thumb-snapping walks into full fledged bounce.

On paper, I’d expect such a thing to sound like a mess. Every member seems to be doing something entirely different, meaning much less overlap and leaving a lot less room for error. Since the quality of talent can vary greatly in a genre that does not adhere to the normal music-making rules of expectancy and resolution (the opening and closing of each musical idea with the notes that your head tells you are right), you’ll often find that groups tend to jam by breaking off one or two members at a time. Taking turns at individual improvisation is usually the safer form of fusion, but Half Moon don’t appear to care. Their drummers are seamless and entirely complimentary of one another (at least onstage). The guitarist and bassist groove around each other, and the horns come across surprisingly mild, lending just enough Southern-style tone to be distinct.

In the end, the group’s impressive chemistry and relaxed performance style allowed even a curmudgeon like myself to have a good time, and that’s saying something. I get letters from people all the time who read the column and ask why in the hell someone so negative bothers to even go outside, let alone to review a band he expects might bore him to tears. One word, folks: Paxil. But even unmedicated, Half Moon put on a worthwhile show, with tunes that hold up whether you appreciate each note or just want to take pleasure in a casual listen.

That’s all for this week. Much to discuss in the next installment, including the offer I posted several days ago about doing an interview. Several local acts have expressed interest in taking part, and I think it might be an interesting experience. Anyway, thanks for reading, and do keep those letters coming. We’ll be opening the mailbag again pretty shortly, and who knows…next week I might even post on time. Until next we meet…

- Roanoke Times

"Moon Lighting"

By Michael A. Knipp

Like many young musicians, Half Moon front man Adam Beason began what many in the biz refer to as “the calling” when he was just a boy.

From choosing an instrument that would let his fingers flow to finding the right rockers to put on a great show, he has created what he believes to be a dynamic ensemble. Admittedly, playing professionally in Southwest Virginia doesn’t rake in the green, but Beason isn’t necessarily singing the blues either. Unless, of course, the song calls for it.

With his drummer/brother John Beason and two other close friends, bassist Jacob Porter and pianist Billy Huffman, Beason is taking Half Moon to new heights. But don’t be fooled––these guys aren’t reaching for the stars. They’re already halfway there.

Michael A. Knipp: When did you start playing?

Adam Beason: I began playing when I was very young. I‘ve got a terrible disposition that doesn’t allow me to sit still very long. Soon I was thrown into piano lessons due to the fact that every time I walked or ran by the piano there was an undying urge to bang on it. For my mother’s sanity, I began lessons that spawned a world of creativity and endless possibilities. I was eight I think.

MK: I used to bang on pots. My mom learned to lock the cabinets. I bet I could’ve been great! What led you to choose the instruments that you did?

AB: I wanted something different. I was very bored with classical piano. I was also very into the Beatles and they didn’t use piano on stage, so I was pretty much opting to go with guitar, another complicated puzzle that took my attention.

MK: When did you start playing music professionally?

AB: Well, it depends on what you call professionally. Do I only play for a living? Yes. Does it bring enough cash in? Not really.

MK: Don’t feel bad, not much does these days. When did Half Moon form?

AB: Half Moon began after several other bands I performed in disintegrated. John, the drummer of Half Moon, who happens to be superb, lives with me. He also happens to be my brother, but we don’t really talk about that much. He was around, so I asked if he wanted to make some cash doing what he does anyway, and now here he is. Jacob, the man with the low notes, was dating my cousin when we began an acoustic group called Hobos Know. I was temporarily living with my cousin, so we had time bum around, burn smoke and throw back a few, while just sittin’ and pickin’. Billy Huffman didn’t come around until later, when we had two guitarists and two drummers. We picked Billy up from another band called the Stone jack Ballas. He‘s fantastic on the keys. He really listens and puts forth great ideas.

MK: Why do enjoy playing with those guys?

AB: I’ve tried to play alone and it really doesn’t turn me on as much. I was in band during my younger days and I was taught very thoroughly to listen to others and that kind of makes things more interesting. It’s the collaboration that makes it so much fun. It’s like writing a story and making it go the way you want it to.

MK: What projects is Half Moon working on?

AB: I’ve been writing a lot and hope to get that all down on vinyl sometime this summer.

MK: Where do you like to perform?

AB: We’ll play anywhere that’ll embrace the opportunity to enjoy our company. I actually had one lady tell me that she enjoyed the show because of the little hippy girls that dance around. I believe she claimed it was like watching a mini-Woodstock.

MK: How would you describe the band's sound?

AB: Fresh and new. It’s everything you want in a sound.

MK: Why is Roanoke a good place to be a musician?

AB: I think it has potential, but there are still factors trying to hold it down. Roanoke can be a very conservative place when you’re not looking. I hope that for the next few years that changes. It looks like it could go in a great direction; it just needs some guidance.

MK: If you weren't performing, what would you be doing?

AB: Well I worked in heating and air for a while, but that kind of fell out. And I’ve waited tables, but nothing really holds my interest other than being on stage or recording. It’s just what I do. I can’t really do much else.

MK: Where do you see the band in five years?

AB: It’s hard to predict that. Part of me wants it to take off immediately and really catch on, but I know that we still have to grow, so it’s hard to say. Maybe in your hometown, I hear it’s nice this time of year.

MK: Baltimore (my hometown) is beautiful this time of year. The baseball, the seafood, the deck parties overlooking the Bay. But Roanoke’s got good times, too. I miss Thirsty Thursdays at Avalanche games. OK, back to music. Who are your influences?

AB: Influences…this could take forever, but I’ll try and narrow it down. The Beatles really got me started with Sgt. Pepper, but I’ve learned a lot from (Frank) Zappa and the Stones. Bob Dylan. The late J - City Magazine


Currently Half Moon has two demos in circulation. They are however, recording a full-length album due to be released in the fall.



Half Moon is comprised of the two brothers, John and Adam Beason, who as children realized their love of music and began teaching themselves to play their instruments. At ages 15 and 19, the brothers decided to share their talents with the world.

Five years later, Half Moon has played over 250 shows. They have entertained crowds in every major city of their home state of Virginia and as far north as New York City. Half Moon frequently receives critical acclaim from southwest VA newspapers, including being named one of Roanoke VA’s top local acts by the Roanoke Times.

During those early years, the brothers played anywhere they could and had the privilege of playing with many of Roanoke’s top musicians. It wasn’t, however, until 2008 that they'd meet the bass extraordinaire they now share the stage with, a very talented man named Brad Taylor.

Combining their musical efforts, the brothers and Brad formed a newly reconstructed Half Moon, creating funk and rock originals mixed with other influences ranging from Afro-Cuban to R&B and Gospel.

They are big believers in high-energy shows; and feed off the vibe their audience emits as they tear into each song. With over 30 original pieces and an endless array of covers Half Moon never fails in exciting their fans.

The band is now traveling from city to city looking for professional, live-artist venues to unleash their musical creation to the masses.