Albion native comes home for concert Friday at Main Street restaurant

Staff Reports Posted 18 October 2018 at 5:10 pm

Provided photos: Trevor Jennings, second from left, is a member of the Rust Belt Brigade which performs Friday at 39 Problems.

ALBION – Originally an acoustic duo frequently found busking on the streets of Buffalo, Rust Belt Brigade, founded by Victor Castillo and Albion native Trevor Jennings, has since become a 4-piece Americana outfit carving a sound all their own self described as “Rhythm & Roll.”

The Rust Belt Brigade will have their first performance in Albion at 8 p.m. Friday at 39 Problems in Albion. It will be a homecoming for Albion graduate and cajon wizard Trevor Jennings.

“It’s nice to have a place like 39 Problems where we can perform,” Jennings, 25, said. “I am really excited to finally have a chance to bring this project to Albion, as it’s had a major role in this projects sound.”

For those unfamiliar with a cajon (pronounced cah-hone), it is a box-shaped percussion instrument that has become popular with street performers and acoustic acts. Jennings started out on drum set and was given a cajon as a Christmas gift during his senior year at Albion High School.

“I opened up this box and there was this…wooden box inside,” he recalled. “I really didn’t know what the thing was at first, but after a few days playing around with it and watching videos on YouTube I truly fell in love with it.”

The instrument has become a centerpiece of the band’s live show, which features an array of acoustic apparatuses.

The band primarily performs in Buffalo and Rochester and welcomes the chance to perform in Albion on Friday.

Over the last few years, The Rust Belt Brigade has established themselves in the Buffalo music scene by performing mostly original music. Castillo handles the majority of the lead vocal and guitar duties and is the group’s primary songwriter.

Not long after their inception, the duo added Medina native Jeremiah Franco on banjo, and later Brandon Mueckl on acoustic bass. The group’s four-piece sound is now a unique combination of FolkGrass and Americana, reminiscent of The Devil Makes Three and The Avett Brothers.

They released a self-titled EP in late 2016, and late last year released their first full-length album called Rhythm & Roll. They celebrated the album release by performing to packed house at Nietzsche’s in Buffalo.

In a few short years The Rust Belt Brigade has landed some prestigious gigs, performing at Ani DiFranco’s Babeville in Buffalo and earning an extended residency at Buffalo’s Mr. Goodbar. This summer they performed on the Main Stage at Goo Goo Dolls bassist Robby Takac’s Music is Art Festival, and this year they landed a spot performing at The Steampunk Festival. The group has appeared on WLKK FM, better known as Alternative Buffalo, and their version of “The Erie Canal Song” is featured as the theme song for a popular regional podcast.

They have also made regular stops at 810 Meadworks in Medina, with each performance bringing in larger crowds.

“810 Meadworks has opened a lot of doors for us, it was one of the first venues that gave us a shot when we didn’t really have much to show at the time and has most recently helped us to land the spot at Steampunk,” Jennings noted. “We spend the majority of our time performing in Buffalo and Rochester, but it’s always great to come back to our roots so our family and friends get a chance to see us close to home.”

The group’s calendar is filling up and this will be a rare opportunity to catch them at 39 Problems.

“We know it’s going to be a fun night, Albion is lucky to have a venue owner that is willing to support original music,” Jennings said. “We hope to see some old friends and make a few new ones. I think people will be pleasantly surprised by our unique original sound as well as our old school and new school tributes.”

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