Midnight Hollow

By Susan Marquez

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While the band Midnight Hollow has only been together for one year, the history going back at least a decade helped the band members meld quickly, finding their footing in the bluegrass world. 


Banjo picker Joey Shann has played in different groups with bassist Chance Coppedge for ten years. Both live in Oklahoma City, but Joey resided in Kentucky for a while, where he played banjo for Dave Adkins. "That was a dream come true for me," he says. While in Kentucky, Joey married his wife, Emily, and although they both loved the time they had living in the mountains of eastern Kentucky, they were both ready to be back around family. "It was a nearly 15-hour trip to go home," he says. The couple packed up and returned to Oklahoma.


Joey met Joe Kahlden, a flat-picker guitar player who also sings and writes songs. "I had known Joe for a long time," Joey says. "We always jammed together at festivals, so when I moved back, Joe and I decided to put a band together with Chance." They needed a mandolin player. Joe had played in various groups with Sam Conrey, a Memphis native with roots in blues and rock. Sam had only recently picked up the mandolin, but he was good and getting better. 


Next, they needed a name for the band. "We knocked around a lot of ideas," Joe recalls, "but Chance's wife, Bekka, came up with Midnight Hollow, and we all liked the sound of it." After practicing for two or three months, the band was ready to hit the road. "We play just about every weekend now." 


The band is new, but the musicians have ample experience under their belts. Joey was the State Banjo Champion in both Oklahoma and Kentucky in 2018. In addition to playing the banjo, the self-taught musician plays the piano and dobro. Chance is a music instructor at a music academy and musical director at a church and has played with Eric Hinson in Branson. Joe has played with his family's band, opening for Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder. Sam, also a multi-instrumentalist, made the transition from blues music to bluegrass after sitting in on a few jam sessions at a craft beer house in Oklahoma.


"It has been a natural flow the whole time we have been together," says Joey. "We just have the right chemistry together, and that's a huge thing for me." After playing music full-time for ten years, Covid put a damper on Joey's career. "I went from playing forty to fifty shows in a year to only ten." He went to work for a heating, air, and refrigeration company to make ends meet. 


Joe has had a career in law enforcement, most recently as a detective. If he isn't working, he is teaching music or playing music somewhere. Chance also plays in a couple of country bands in addition to teaching music. And Sam has a technical job at a machine shop. "All of our jobs are good with scheduling," Joey says. "We are all able to make it work to play together most weekends."


While the band plays many gigs out of state, Joey says they are growing a strong local following in Oklahoma. The audience's response to their music has been strong. "We played at Mark Gaynier's Milan Music Fest in Michigan in August and got a good response." 


With a foot in the traditional bluegrass world, Midnight Hollow enjoys writing their original songs with a contemporary spin. "I'd say eighty to ninety percent of what we do is original material," says Joey. "Joe is a great writer, and he writes most of our songs, although Sam has written a couple as well." The band's sound is both contemporary and traditional. "We throw in a few traditional songs people know at our shows." 


Midnight Hollow's single, Can't Make Things Right, was written by Joe Kahlden and released last spring. A heartfelt take on life's real moments, the lyrics are relatable, and the tune is catchy, with solid harmonies and instrumentals. To hear it, one would be hard-pressed to believe that Sam has been playing the mandolin for a short time. 

"We will have a full album available on all platforms in a couple of months," says Joey. "Trustin Baker filled in with fiddle work on the album, which we are excited about. Trustin is a  two-time Grand Master fiddle champion." 


Hear Can't Make Things Right, or visit the Midnight Hollow website at www.officialmidnighthollow.com

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