A fondness for pie, music roots and a common desire to perfect their craft were the common links for the members of the local band known as Huckleberry Pie.
There are many aspects that sustain the band’s popularity in the area, one of which is their desire to keep their scene right here in town.
Huckleberry Pie, realistically, knows they will stay local. Each member has a day job, most of them are professors other priorities in life. They are not in it for the money, just for the joy of music. The members can attest they have improved on playing their respective instruments throughout the years through the band.
“It’s a totally different talent then playing on your own. You got to know when to come in, when to stay out, and when to accent,” said Randy Dymond, a founding member of the group and a professor in the civil and environmental engineering department at Virginia Tech.
John Rossi, another founding member and a professor in the department of mathematics at Tech, said the dichotomy of the relationship between his roles as a professor and band member creates a balance in his life.
“I find that being in the band is the fun part of my life and being a professor is the serious part of my life. It’s work and play in some ways,” Rossi said. “When I come home at night, I almost immediately pick up my guitar and just play for 15 min and relax before I do anything else.”
The band started back about five years ago when each member had differing levels of band experience. Dymond actually left a previous band he was in to create this one with Rossi and Bob Rodgers, another professor in the mathematics department at Tech.
The timing was ripe to start something new for these original members, who wanted an outlet away from their jobs, which they all love but wanted to separate from.
The other band members came along as extensions of the original members. Shirl Rodgers is Bob Rodgers’ wife who plays the drums, Rossi’s daughter Catherine is the vocalist and Will Ayers is one of Dymond’s graduate students, whose fiancé, Jen Faulconer is also in the group.
Huckleberry Pie has had other members come and go but it has never hindered the band's dedication to music. Every time a new member joins, they adapt and acclimate to accomodate the new sound.
And with a band name that has it's own funky sound, there isn’t much of a hint as to what its musical styling is. The most encompassing description they have is “Americana” which is a little of folk, a little country and a little bit blues, basically a wide variety of music.
Their setlists fall anywhere from Norah Jones to David Bromberg and can include up to 20 different artists, Dymond said. Recently they did a show which included three Motown songs.
Even though they mostly perform covers for their gigs, they also experiment with playing original songs, which Rossi is the lead writer of.
“If you’re going to do the pub scene, nobody wants to hear your songs,” Rossi said. “We throw in a couple, but we have to win the audience over first. You have to do some song that they’re really going to like before they like your songs.”
Even before an audience hears a band’s original playlist, the audience first sees their name, which, in this case, definitely strikes one’s curiosity with its uniqueness factor.
The reason for the band’s name isn’t all too special, however. It simply had to do with the fact that they all loved pie and originally wanted to go with Sweet Potato Pie but found that it was taken. Thus, Huckleberry Pie came to fruition.
Huckleberry Pie is a band that has unique written all over it from its desire to only play local, its multi-genre setlists, and most importantly, its members’ dedication to practice out of their pure love of music.