Ten Toes Up
A unique sound often times wrapped in a swirl of rhythms served with a southern accent and heartfelt honesty the body of work Ten Toes Up produced over a five year period will resonate for some time to come I believe. Taking it all in and enjoying it as I have this past week in prep for this showcase I can’t help but wonder and hope that this band left an impression upon other young musicians locally and across the southeast to boldly step out and push the edges on their songwriting and composition structure, in particular the approach to rhythm and percussion placement. This was a well-oiled machine and these guys seemed to clearly understand the sound they were presenting to us and for that I’m very thankful indeed.
From the official website Bio:
Ten Toes Up started with founding members Adam Miller and Charles Freeman playing together in a small church in a small town. After playing with several different musicians around the beach, they invited Joshua Gregory to join the band after he sat in to jam during a show at Drunken Jacks in Murrells Inlet, SC. While playing a show in Charleston, SC, BJ Craven sat in as lead vocalist/guitarist and was offered the job full time. The current line up has been together for 3 years and has released 2 studio albums and 1 live album.
BJ started his life in the small town of Spartanburg, SC. He grew up surrounded by music. The family stereo was always playing classic rock from the Rolling Stones, Zeppelin, and the Allman Brothers. His mother was a performer and choreographer for the local theater and was constantly bringing new music into the house. The holidays found BJ amongst a musically talented extended family that always ended gatherings with sing-alongs. His mother taught him the beginnings of the acoustic guitar around the age of 15 and he continued studying the instrument through a few years of lessons. His first band was formed at 16 where he and few friends began writing music and covering Hendrix (doing both poorly). It was in high school that he first heard Ben Harper and his fascination with the lap steel and weissenborn began. BJ graduated high school and attended Clemson University to pursue a degree in Industrial Engineering. Music remained a hobby throughout school but he always came back to it, forming three different bands while at Clemson. The summers found him in Charleston playing gigs and enjoying the beach lifestyle. His experiences on the coast convinced him that life as a musician had a lot to offer and after graduation he moved to Charleston full time. One night BJ received a phone call from a friend that an out of town band needed a lead guitarist for a show. After the gig the band asked him to play some more shows with them and eventually asked him to move to Pawleys Island to join them full time. That was the beginning of the band now known as Ten Toes Up.
Charles was born and raised in Charlotte, NC. Following in his older brother John’s footsteps, he found music at a young age, starting with the clarinet and soon switching to electric bass. Charles’ brother, a trumpet player, turned him onto jazz greats like Charlie Parker and Clifford Brown. The two were in a 6 piece jazz combo that performed regularly in the Charlotte area, and Charles also played in his high school jazz ensemble. He also grew up a fan of motown and 70′s funk, and embraced the playing style of James Jamerson. Charles’ two biggest influences are John Paul Jones (bassist for Led Zeppelin), and Flea (bassist for the Red Hot Chili Peppers). His understanding of music as a language gives him the ability to create bass lines that blend seamlessly with his band mates’ parts. Charles’ goal is to one day be a world-class studio/session bassist.
Joshua “Animal” Gregory:
Born in Chester, SC, and then relocating to Surfside Beach at an early age, Joshua found music through his all-inspiring sister who replaced his glam rock records of the 80′s with timeless classics such as The Who, Led Zeppelin, The Grateful Dead, and Santana. At 10 years old he received his first set of drums and has been an advocate of the craft ever since. When he was 16 he had the pleasure of meeting and having a private lesson with the world-renowned African drummer Babatunde Olatunji. Treating that as a once in a lifetime experience he used that as inspiration to become an unconventional drummer with an energy-fueled style while always keeping the basics in mind.
Originally from Michigan, Adam, a self-taught drummer, cut his teeth on old hymns and praise choruses in a Baptist church. Adam first attended Alma College on a football scholarship, but quickly found out that music was more important than collegiate athletics. He transferred to the University of North Carolina at Charlotte in 2000 where he studied elementary ed. and played drums wherever he could. A family move to Pawleys Island, SC was all that Adam needed to find his way to the beach. He quickly transferred to Coastal Carolina University, where he graduated with a B.A. in history. Adam feels lucky for finally finding a group of musicians who love to create music and that are focused on achieving the goals that they set for themselves.
William (BJ) Craven – Guitars, Vocals
Charles Freeman – Bass, Vocals
Joshua Gregory – Percussions, Harmonica, Vocals
Adam Miller - Drums