In 2012, the country band Kindle Creek won the state competition and represented Utah in the Texaco Country Showdown, one of America's top showcases for undiscovered country talent.
Former contestants of this national contest include Jason Aldean, Toby Keith, Brad Paisley, Sara Evans, Miranda Lambert, LeAnn Rimes, Garth Brooks,Tim McGraw and Martina McBride.
While Kindle Creek did not advance past the regional finals in Oregon, the quintet showed that Utah and specifically Tooele County, which band members call home can produce great country music.
Band members are Dillon Hurst (vocals, rhythm guitar), Bryce Jensen (drums), Joseph Shumway (fiddle, mandolin), David Crowley (lead guitar) and Mical Bracken (bass).
Jensen recently answered questions about the band's music and inspirations.
How does living in Utah influence who you are?
Obviously there is a long tradition of strong Christian values here in Utah. We are proud of our heritage and credit who we are to the sacrifices and can-do attitude that brought our families here in the first place. We aren't out to preach, but we are passionate about writing music that makes you feel life is good and well worth living. It's great to live in a place where there are so many people who love and appreciate that.
How did you choose your band name?
Coming up with a band name everyone loves is a pretty big challenge. We made a list of roughly 380 names that at least some of us liked. Nearly every one of them was already taken by a band somewhere in the U.S. or Europe. We were looking at several names with the word Creek, but none were very exciting to us. Then Jensen threw out the idea of Kindle Creek. We were working very hard to start something new, breathe life into it, so to speak. Kindle just seemed to capture that idea, and Creek makes it pretty clear we have a strong country influence. It just fit.
Your most memorable musical experience?
Definitely recording our first EP. That was an absolute blast. It was incredibly rewarding to take our dream and push until it became a reality. We love our music. It is something we are very proud of. And now we can share it. A close second would be sharing the stage with country legend Sawyer Brown. They are a fantastic act. After our show, our agent came running up to tell us Sawyer Brown had come out and listened to our whole performance. Apparently they never do that. They had nothing but good to say about us. It was a real boost, to say the least. [Also,] it's been a lot of fun to see album sales across the country and as far abroad as England and Australia.
What sign would you like to see at one of your concerts?
Probably the best would be to see some lines or titles from our songs, like "There's Hope," or "Just Smile," or maybe something about how hot the drummer is.
What are your inspirations?
Our wives, our kids, God and everyday life. [Also,] other great artists like the Zac Brown Band, Brad Paisley, Diamond Rio and Garth Brooks.
What does not inspire you?
Songs [about] leaving. They're kind of a downer, actually. Although, admittedly, sometimes a good dose of misery can make for a pretty darn good song.
Why do Utahns gravitate to country music?
Most Utahns have pioneer or cowboy roots and a small-town attitude. Country music just seems to go with the territory. Country music has also changed dramatically over the last 20 years, and with the strong rock influence you hear now, it draws a much larger fan base than the old traditional country music.
To listen to Kindle Creek and buy music, go to www.kindlecreek.com