The teenage members of New Hollow have changed a little since they first met at New Albany Middle School, but the rock trio say they have not forgotten their central Ohio roots.
"We have recorded in other places like Nashville but we are most comfortable working with our producers, Michael Clouse and Joe Viers, right here at Sonic Lounge Studios in Grove City," said Mick Clouse, the band's 18-year-old guitarist and vocalist.
The band still practices the basement of Clouse's home in New Albany.
"This is where it all started and (where) we continue to this day," said drummer Chad Blashford, 17.
New Hollow will play at 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 16, in the grandstand at the Franklin County Fair in Hilliard. The performance is free with fair admission.
The band then will open for Carly Rae Jepsen at 7 p.m. Wednesday, July 31, in the Celeste Center at the Ohio State Fair. Tickets are $32.
Clouse and Evan West, 18, who plays bass guitar and keyboards and sings, met in sixth grade and started writing music together.
Blashford, Clouse's neighbor, joined them after another drummer left the band.
They've come a long way since winning a battle of the bands competition at the New Albany Fourth of July celebration in 2009.
They have released four singles, three of which topped the Billboard Hot 100 Singles sale chart.
They also have opened for bands such as Train, Big Time Rush and Hot Chelle Rae, but Clouse said their "most exciting time performing" was playing The Star-Spangled Banner at Dallas Cowboys Stadium to open the 2010 Thanksgiving Day football game against the New Orleans Saints.
"Ninety-three thousand in the stadium and another 30 million at home," West said.
They came home to be the featured artists at the New Albany Classic Grand Prix Invitational and Family Day in 2011 before hitting the road in 2011-12 to open for Big Time Rush and in 2012 for Hot Chelle Rae.
Clouse said the band members have learned the music industry is a business.
"We have met some great people along the way who have told us that it is a marathon, not a sprint. Perseverance is key," Clouse said. "We are still young and we want to be who we are, and not molded into a pre-fab boy band because it's 'marketable.'"
West agreed, saying, "That's great for other bands but not us."
Clouse explained, "Most bands today play to a pre-recorded track and that's fine, but we just choose to be 'old school' when it comes to performing."
That means completely live performances, they said.
"We play live on stage. Everything you hear is real," West said. "If somebody makes a mistake, you hear that, too. We love the energy and excitement that comes with performing live."
Michael Clouse, their manager, said New Hollow's influences are different than most young bands.
"As the boys have grown up, so has their music," Michael Clouse said. "They've been told that they are 'old souls,' and I agree.
"A lot of their influences are from '50s-'90s rock and soul. Evan is a Sam Cooke disciple, Chad loves John Bonham, Mick listens to Pink Floyd like it's 1973. You can see it and hear it in their songwriting and performing."
When they started playing in New Albany, the band performed as Monkee Hollow, a reference to an obscure road in Sunbury.
The name has changed since then and so has their school status. Clouse and West have graduated from the online school ECOT, the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow, and Blashford said he's set to graduate in 2014.
Though all are interested in college, it might be delayed because of the music.
West said they want to take their music as far as it can go.
Blashford said their next step is courting a record label.
"We always try to be about the music," Blashford said.