• John McGary, Woodford Sun Staff

Trippin’ Roots to play Unique Taste of Woodford

TRIPPIN’ ROOTS, all of whom hail from Versailles, will play at Addie’s Saturday during the Unique Taste of Woodford. From left are, Zac Day, Aaron White, Evan Curran and Andrew White. (Photo submitted)

Sometimes, something good comes from something terrible.

At the end of an interview with Evan Curran and Andrew White of the band Trippin’ Roots, Curran asked if the reporter could mention his mother.

Kelly Jo Curran died Aug. 22, 2016, at the age of 48, but her unexpected passing helped bring the four men in the band, all of whom graduated from Woodford County High School from 2007 to 2011, together.

Trippin’ Roots features Curran on lead guitar and vocals, Zac Day on rhythm guitar and background vocals, Andrew White on drums and his brother Aaron on bass. They had played together before, but hadn’t been in touch with each other for a year or so, Curran said.

“Things fall apart sometimes, but when she passed, the first thing we did was get together,” Curran said.

“That’s what kick-started everything. That’s what brought us all closer,” said drummer Andrew White. “I mean, she helped raise me and Aaron and, obviously, her son, Evan.”

Trippin’ Roots will provide the entertainment at Saturday’s Unique Taste of Woodford fundraiser, which takes place at Addie’s at the Woodford Inn from6:30 to 11 p.m. The event serves as a fundraiser for the Versailles Merchant’s Association’s Friday Night Block Party series and other events.

It’s not the typical venue for Trippin’ Roots, though three of the four have played at Addie’s.

“I’m excited to see the vendors … the auction, it’s going to be a really cool event to be a part of,” Curran said.

Many of the group’s shows are in Lexington and Louisville, and they’ve played at Ricardo’s and hope to perform at the new Versailles Brewing Company.

White said he and Aaron began playing together in 2004 or 2005 – influenced by Curran, whom they’d met at Sunshine Camp in Big Spring Park and learned that he lived about 200 yards away in Merewood subdivision.

Curran had gotten his first guitar a few years before.

“So I started playing guitar, and it was one of those, like you’re nine or 10 years old, and you’re like, ‘You’re gonna play bass. And you’re gonna play – what are you gonna play?’” Curran said.

Before the death of Curran’s mother, the four had played together, including a Bluegrass-oriented period, but didn’t settle on their present band name until shortly after the tragedy.

The band’s website describes their style as a mix of folk, rock and Americana, though songwriter Curran said he thought a list of genres doesn’t do their music justice.

“It’s kind of just, I’d say, roots rock. I mean, it’s heavy, but it’s not in your face, really. You have to listen to it for yourself to (decide),” Curran said.

Asked if they are fans of The Band, a Canadian-American group whose music could be described much the same way, Curran and White nodded enthusiastically. Asked whether they’ve seen “The Last Waltz,” an acclaimed concert film in which The Band played together for the last time, they nodded again.

“Every day,” White said.

“I watch it every morning,” Curran added.

They’re proud they now have enough paying dates to be able to concentrate on their music fulltime, but the road has had a few bumps, literal and otherwise.

Last December, the transmission on their 1991 Chevrolet van went out on their way back from Louisville. A week later, a much newer truck that Aaron White had purchased from Sturgill Simpson drummer Miles Miller (another Versailles native who was profiled in The Sun in January 2017) was parked in a Lexington neighborhood, full of instruments and amplifiers.

The band was about to leave for Prestonsburg to record with Christopher Bentley of the band “Sundy Best.” It was a cold morning, so Aaron White started the truck, then walked back inside to wait while it warmed up.

The next time they looked outside, the truck was gone, and while it’s since been recovered, nearly $7,000 worth of gear was not.

“That was our biggest slap in the face,” said Andrew White. “We lost a couple of teeth on that one.”

That evening, they performed at Ricardo’s using rented instruments, but a supporter’s GoFundMe page raised about $2,000, and others pitched in, and the band kept playing.

Asked about their goals, Curran said, “We’re going for it, for sure, whatever it is,” and agreed with White that not having to hold second jobs was a blessing in itself.

“It’s kind of what you make it. Your goal could be to sell a thousand albums or a million albums or just to play around town and have fun and pay your bills and do what you love. …” Curran said.

“Anywhere in between,” White said, laughing. “As long as I’m fed and my family’s fed.”

No matter how far they go, down the road or up the charts, the members of Trippin’ Roots, like nearly every performing artist, probably haven’t had their last misadventure.

They’ve decided on one thing, at least: they won’t warm up their vehicle unattended. “I think we learned our lesson on that one,” White said.

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