Four Frankfort musicians thought that working at the Kentucky Coffeetree Café seemed like any other job. They earned their paychecks, enjoyed the work and got along with their co-workers.
Little did they know that the one trait they shared would create a bond that would last well past their working relationship.
Jeri Katherine Howell, 16, Nat Colten, 17, Anna Hess, 25, and Nick Holmes, 28, now make up The Metafours, a local band that is growing in popularity.
With a combined 42 years of musical experience, each member brings talent and a love of music to create a sound they say is unlike any other.
“We didn’t know we were going to mesh this well at the beginning,” Howell said.
The Metafours formed in February, an idea from Howell’s mother. They realized they had something special after performing their first gig.
“We stole the show,” Colten said.
Their unique sound is something even they have trouble describing.
“We call it eclectic folk, but I don’t know,” Holmes said. “I think we’re kind of genre-smashing.”
The Metafours have taken what started as a hobby to the next level, with requests for appearances increasing daily. Saturday they will perform at the 5th annual Kentucky Heartwood Music Festival at the Millville Community Center in Millville.
“It’s not strictly bluegrass, it’s not strictly anything,” Hess said. “It’s got a lot of elements of everything sort of woven in.”
Their varying sounds have forced them to collaborate.
“We’ve made our own sound,” Colten said. “I think our music speaks for itself once you hear it.”
The band practices about twice a week, usually for around three hours. These practices are usually pretty relaxed, often turning into unplanned social outings.
“We just get along so well,” Howell said.
Each member pointed to friendship as a reason why the band is successful.
“There’s no hierarchy in the band, so we’re just a bunch of friends getting together and sharing ideas,” Holmes said. “I think we communicate really well together.”
“Yeah, and in a social setting, not just in a musical practice setting,” Colten added.
To them, chemistry is unavoidable. It’s constant joking and an ability to finish each others’ sentences.
The band is one of the featured musical acts for the upcoming Heartwood Music Festival, along with local musician Art Mize. On top of this entertainment, the festival will include a youth music contest, art exhibitors, children’s activities, a silent auction and hands-on workshops.
“I think we’re all really excited for sure because there’s been a lot of publicity for the Heartwood Festival this year,” Colten said. “It’s our first bigger venue.”
Howell said she hopes this will be a step forward for the band.
“I’m looking forward to more people seeing us because only the café crowd has really seen us,” Howell said. “And it’s for such a good cause, too.”
The festival serves as a fundraiser for Kentucky Heartwood, a non-profit organization working toward the restoration and protection of Kentucky’s native forests. Their focus is on the Daniel Boone National Forest in southeastern Kentucky.
“We know that the money they raise is going to a good thing while some festivals are just kind of a private endeavor,” Holmes said.
The band says most of their gigs are “for a purpose” and not usually for their own financial benefit. So far, they have only been paid for one performance, and they used the money to go out to dinner as a group.
Because they are all in different stages of life, they are not attempting to become famous. They simply play their music because they enjoy it.
“We’ve got a lot of gigs coming up in the next month, then I think we’d all like to record, whether that’s in a home studio or somewhere else,” Holmes said.
“I think we just want to record, keep playing and getting better,” Hess added.
They said with about 22 original songs, they have enough material for two CD’s already.
“It’s cool that most of our songs are original,” Hess said. “Most bands can’t say that after five months.”
They invite everyone to come to the Kentucky Heartwood Music Festival to hear them play and promise good energy and timeless music.
“A lot of bands feel they have to go to New York or somewhere to make it big. We are just out of Frankfort,” Holmes said. “(The Kentucky Heartwood Music Festival) is a really good manifestation of that … it really is what Frankfort is all about.”
Kentucky Heartwood Music Festival
When: Saturday, 3-10 p.m., rain or shine
Where: Millville Community Center
Price:$10 registration fee for music competition
$7 per person admission for all others, free for children under 12. All workshops free with registration.