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The Waymores way more than a folk trio

Courtesy photo
The Waymores headline this season's penultimate Woody Hawley Series concert on Saturday at the Clay Center's Walker Theater. The group is composed of accomplished musicians Sally Barris, Tom Kimmel and Don Henry, who clicked at a songwriter's night and decided to start performing together.

WANT TO GO?

The Waymores

A Woody Hawley Series concert

WHERE: Clay Center Walker Theater

WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Saturday

TICKETS: Adults $18, students and seniors $15

INFO: 304-561-3570 or www.theclaycenter.orgCHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Tom Kimmel understands how there could be some confusion between his trio, The Waymores, and Waymore's Outlaws, a Waylon Jennings tribute band made up of musicians who played with the late country legend.

The bands have similar names and there is vague connection -- sort of.

"Waylon Jennings recorded two of my songs," Kimmel said. "I'm very proud of that. We're all big fans of Waylon Jennings."

The connection stops there, however. Waymore's Outlaws, who canceled its show at the Municipal Auditorium last July, took its name from Jennings. The Waymores, who play a Woody Hawley Series show at the Clay Center's Walker Theater Saturday night, did not.

Two years ago, Kimmel and songwriter Don Henry got a call from their friend, Sally Barris, to do a couple of songwriter shows with her. After talking, they decided to perform parts on some of each others' songs.

"We did some rehearsals together," Kimmel said. "Just to learn some parts on each others songs. I just hate those songwriting shows where you watch people look at each other play."

Kimmel said the three of them just clicked.

"We said, 'Hey why don't we come up with a name and an album?'"

Neither proved to be a particularly easy task. With coming up with names, Barris made up a huge list of potential monikers, then brought them to Kimmel and Henry for consideration.

"There must have been like 50," he said. "And they were all awful."

Kimmel said he told her, "Sally, I'm not going to be in a band called The Wild Mountain Strawberries. It's not going to happen."

They laugh about it now, he said.

"We tease her and say she wanted to call us the Fluffy Bunnies, but the truth is pretty close."

Not that there was anything especially wrong with being in a band called The Fluffy Bunnies or the Wild Mountain Strawberries, Kimmel added. He thought those would be great names for bluegrass combo made up of, say, three young women? It just didn't feel like what their trio was about.

Finally, as they were discussing and discarding names, Kimmel tossed out The Waymores. It came out of the blue, but it stuck, and the band has been traveling under it ever since.

Getting the record out has been a bit more arduous. Coming up with material wasn't that difficult. Kimmel said that early on they decided to each bring in a couple of songs they already had for the group to work with. Plus, they would write a few more together in the same room.

"It came together pretty easy," he said. "Everybody kind of found a role. It wasn't a real competitive thing."

All of them had experiences where co-writing had become a chore or a disaster, but Kimmel said the mix of Barris's traditional folk and bluegrass, Henry's California pop influences and Kimmel's early rock n' roll sensibilities went together easily.

Still, after two years of performing together, the trio only recently received its CDs back from the press. Kimmel said they all would have liked to have had something out sooner.

"The good thing is it's given us a chance to play out and get really tight and comfortable with each other," he said then sighed. "But in some ways, it's difficult touring without a product."

The record could be in stores soon. Meanwhile, Kimmel said he's looking forward to playing more dates, particularly Saturday's at the Clay Center, which also features local opening act Mike Arcuri. It will be his first appearance at the venue, but Henry and Barris played there in 2010.

"When we first got our schedule," Kimmel said, "they told me I was going to love this place. They told me it was going to be one of my favorite places to play."

He said he thought they were probably right.

Reach Bill Lynch at lynch@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5195.


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