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10 Years and 1,000 Shows

Article Published: Aug. 25, 2011 | Modified: Sep. 7, 2011
10 Years and 1,000 Shows

The life of a touring band can be a short one.

Considering the confined spaces, constant traveling and meager monetary rewards involved, it's no wonder that most bands last only a few short years.
And then there's Sol Driven Train.

Last year, the Charleston, S.C., band notched a decade of making fun, funky music together.

"We celebrated 10 years as a band in 2010 and performed our 1,000th live show," said Joel Timmons, guitarist and vocalist for Sol Driven Train. "We released 'Believe,' and it was chosen Home Grown Music Network's record of the year by popular vote and landed at No. 22 on WNCW-FM's best albums of 2010 listener poll. We toured non-stop all over the nation."

Next stop, the High Country.

Sol Driven Train will take the stage at the Music on the Mountaintop festival at Grandfather Mountain Campground in Foscoe on Friday, Aug. 26, at 6 p.m.

The band will be joined at Music on the Mountaintop by acts, such as Railroad Earth, Sam Bush, Acoustic Syndicate, Infamous Stringdusters, the New Familiars, Possum Jenkins, Lazybirds and others.

Sol Driven Train released a new EP this summer, titled "Watermelon." The title track is a funky ode to the big green melon that is available only during the summer. Like on previous albums, the band is all over the place on "Watermelon," dipping into bluegrass, soul, reggae and rock territories. When saxophonist Russell Clarke belts out some low notes on his horn, the band even has a slightly E-Street Band feel to it, in the same way that Asbury Park, N.J., and Charleston are both seaside resort towns.

Clarke and Timmons are joined by Ward Buckheister on guitar and vocals, Rusty Cole on guitar, bass and vocals, and Wes Powers on drums.

The band's five members remain the same after years of traveling and playing together.

"And we still love our job and each other," Timmons said, adding that they spend so much time on the road and in the studio together that it often feels like a family on vacation.

"When we get home, we have a little time to say hello to Charleston before heading out again," he said.

Recently, the band retired its sturdy yet high-mileage touring van, affectionately known as The Original. With a new sponsor in tow, the band now travels in the Firefly Sweet Tea Vodka RV.
"Firefly is one of our sponsors, and the tour is called 'Sol Driven Train on the Fly,'" Timmons said.

"We'll be spreading our music and word about our delicious sponsor all the way down to the Keys."
Single-day Music on the Mountaintop tickets for Friday or Saturday are available for $40 per person. Two-day tickets are $70 per person.

For more information on the Music on the Mountaintop festival, visit

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