Grad hopes to turn blues into way to make some green
Between graduation and playing at the Jackson Blues Festival in Michigan, Evan Iannucci had a busy week.
The 18-year-old graduated from Coffman High School less than 48 hours after playing at the annual blues festival in the band Dock Adams and Blues Hammer.
Iannucci is a few decades younger than veterans Dock Adams, Rick Story and Brian Peters, but they've been playing together for almost three years as the blues band Dock Adams and Blues Hammer.
In fact, the idea came from Iannucci -- or technically from his father, John.
Iannucci started playing the bass in the sixth grade with the Sells Middle School orchestra. In seventh grade he joined the jazz band and before his eighth grade year started he took up the electric bass.
Before he started at Coffman High School, Iannucci attended a blues camp run by the Columbus Jazz Arts Group.
"I was going to do the rock camp, but I didn't know some of the skills so my dad said to do the blues camp," he said.
Iannucci enjoyed the blues camp and returned the next two years, meeting Adams again.
"Toward the end of the third blues camp I talked to (Adams)," he said. "It was my dad's idea. We loved playing together."
"I thought about it and said, 'Talk to your folks.' There is somewhat of an age disparity," the retired leader of the band said.
The duo played gigs together with Adams on guitar and lead vocals and Iannucci playing bass, before bringing Story in on the drums and Peters in on harmonica.
"We have a lot of trust, faith and appreciation for these guys, we sent our 16-year-old son with them," John Iannucci said.
Iannucci was originally interested in rock, but came around to the blues.
"Our stuff is old school blues and a little R&B," Adams said.
"We do some poppy stuff like Superstition and In the Midnight Hour," Iannucci said.
But the band also has original music and meets once a week to practice.
The month before the Jackson Blues Festival, they met twice a week to perfect their set.
Iannucci's mom, Gloria, said she worried about her son's crazy schedule sometimes, but he made it work.
"His school and work schedule is hectic, but he said, 'The music is what I look forward to,' " she said.
Music was also Iannucci's favorite part of the school day and he was involved in the jazz band, orchestra and acapella chamber choir.
"I've been really privileged to be at a school that has such an excellent arts program," he said.
With high school behind him, Iannucci will attend the Conservatory of Music at Capital University next year and hopes to stay involved with Dock Adams and Blues Hammer.
Iannucci would like to play music professionally, but knows it's tough to make money. So he's got a backup plan he'll institute with his studies at Capital University.
"I'm going to study the music industry," he said.
"For every performer on stage, there are a half dozen people that are behind the scenes.
"I'm going to study the music industry so I can learn the other side of it."
From riffs to group dynamics, Iannucci has already learned a lot with his on-stage experience. "The best way to learn music is to do it," he said.
To catch a show or find out more about the band the Coffman graduate is part of, look online at reverbnation.com/theblueshammers or search Dock Adams and Blues Hammer on Facebook.