The Road Again

L-R: Rich Nelson, Marco Noto, Ian Harrod.

L-R: Rich Nelson, Marco Noto, Ian Harrod.

Ian Harrod has enjoyed regional success with rock band Velvet Truckstop and national recognition via his work with The Honeycutters, an Asheville group led by Americana crooner Amanda Anne Platt. Now partnered with guitarist Rich Nelson (The Trophy Husbands) and drummer Marco Noto in the Tryon-based band 176 — named after the local rural highway — the bassist/vocalist foresees big things as the group releases its third album of hard-rocking, melody-based original material.

Wander, recorded last summer at Sound Temple in Asheville, mixes crunching guitar, three-part vocal harmonies, power ballads, and untethered jams. “I hope we get something cool going, get a rock scene going more around here,” Harrod says.

Bold Life: U.S. Hwy. 176 is known as the road linking the mountains to the foothills …
Ian Harrod: We used to take [Hwy.] 176 to practice. We were trying to think of a name, and thought that sounded good. Plus, I was thinking we had free advertising up and down the road.

Rich Nelson: You can play a lot and make actual money if you do other peoples’ stuff, or you can stick to your guns and write your own stuff, and that was really the mission of 176. We’ve been focusing on, “What is the vibe that we’re putting out in the world?” And we decided we just want it to be about peace and love and unity. It could be a sad story or whatever, but the point is, how are we connecting with people in a way that reaches them and it’s meaningful?

I love a good power trio …
IH: It makes things simple, and space is a good thing to have in music. Plus it’s just cool when three people can make that much noise.

RN: It takes us down to the essence. You really have to edit your own parts, like, “What’s the priority here?” Ian and I are pretty much singing all the time, too, so I find that it’s plenty full. When you go see a band in an arena, you can’t really hear everybody — you can’t hear that Hammond organ when the guitar player’s got his Marshall cranked up. So it works well. Honestly, the key to our band from day one has been Ian’s voice.

Do you two have more shared influences or different ones?
IH: Rich and I are similar, but we have differences, too. I’m probably more inclined to be into Motown. I have the soul thing going on and I love classic-rock stuff, too. And Marco has a deep background — he’s been into jazz, funk, and soul. He’s very solid and musical.

RN: Yeah, live, Marco’s really getting in touch with his inner John Bonham [Led Zeppelin]. It’s funny — Motown is where I grew up, but I’m a rocker, man. Detroit is Rock City, so I love Alice Cooper and David Bowie and Mott The Hoople – that was what hit me when I was like ten years old.

176 performs a CD-release show at Winding Creek Brewing Co. (322 E. Mills St. in Columbus) on Friday, February 10, at 7pm. For more information, see wcbrewco.com or call 828-894-8715.

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