By Katelyn Mary Skaggs
For a little over a year the Meramec Valley Misfits have been making their rounds playing acoustic rock.
The Meramec Valley Misfits band is made up of Jamie Kurth, Kevin Kurth, Pat Pemming, Todd Tonkel and Jason Williams.
Jamie writes most of the band’s original songs and is band leader.
“It’s been like a lifelong dream for me to gig out with dad, and my best friend from second grade is the drummer,” Jamie said.
Kevin, who does vocals, plays the banjo, electric guitar and piano, is Jamie’s father.
Jamie started playing guitar around 12 years old and was in his first band around age 14. While attending Northwest High School he played in many musical groups.
It was when Jamie was in Los Angeles working as a roadie for Los Fabulocos and Snotty Snotty and the Hankies he realized he wanted to be part of a band again.
He also realized he wanted to play with his father.
“I have always wanted to play music with dad,” Jamie said.
Also while in L.A. Jamie learned the importance of a developed set list and took what he learned and applied it to the band.
Originally, the name was Mountain Valley Misfits, however, all the band members thought it was good to tie into the area with the Meramec River.
“It’s a very special place for all of us,” Jamie said.
Jamie formed the band last April when he retired from his job to pursue musical opportunities.
When they perform they do not always perform with all the band members. Sometimes they are duo with just Jamie and Kevin.
“We’re very flexible as the gig requires,” Jamie said.
The “misfits” part of their name refers to the changing lineup of band members they have.
“Typical, it’s us as a duo,” Kevin said.
The band plays a very wide variety of music. Jamie said the band is “acoustic rock with a focus on vocal harmonic blending.”
“We do everything across the board and we can play Lady Gaga’s ‘Bad Romance’ on the banjo and we can kind of make the songs our own,” Jamie said.
Jamie said the band plays songs from Johnny Cash to Appalachian folk songs and more.
“We try and play the songs people are familiar with but haven’t heard last week,” Jamie said.
The band is always changing and adding songs.
“We always tell people we hope the stuff we’re playing right now is not the stuff we’re playing next year,” Jamie said.
They hold practice about once a week and work to learn five new songs a month.
“It’s just a ton of fun,” Kevin said.
The band plays at O’Dells in Eureka on the first Friday of the month and at Jilly’s Cafe in High Ridge once a month.
“This is our home away from home here at O’Dells,” Jamie said.
The band is working to have its first album come out later this month.