Tyler Richton, middle, and the High Bank Boys perform a number at the 2021 Iowa State Fair. Band members are Kale Latcham, bass guitar and vocals; Cole Lonnie Neese, drums; Ed Henning, fiddle and vocals; and Tyler Richton, guitar and vocals.
By J.O. Parker
Four Poweshiek County bands rocked the Brooklyn Opera House on Saturday, May 21 at the Best of Poweshiek County event.
Tyler Richton and the High Bank Boys, Blake Jack, Jake Simon and the Cody Hicks Band showcased their talent at this first of its kind event to a sold out crowd at the opera house. Each band performed for 45 minutes in the above mentioned order.
Following is an overview of each band:
Tyler Richton and the High Bank Boys
Tyler Richton and the High Bank Boys have been performing together for seven years. Their first show was in May 2015 as a three-piece band.
The band plays traditional country music from the 1970s, 80s and 90s, and some modern hits along with original music that either a member of the band or a friend of the band has written.
Band members are Kale Latcham, bass guitar and vocals; Cole Lonnie Neese, drums; Ed Henning, fiddle and vocals; and Tyler Richton, guitar and vocals. On occasion, Ronley King will join the band as lead guitar player. “When we can afford him,” noted Richton.
Richton, lead man and namesake of the band, plays guitar, banjo, squeezebox and also sings. The band performs anywhere from 60 to 70 public live shows a year.
The band has two CDs and a single under its belt. “Workin’ on the Sound,” was released in January 2017. In the summer of 2018, the band released a new single, “God Bless The Workin’ Man,” written by Richton and dedicated to the hard working people that make every day America so great. The band released a gospel album, “He Taught Me To Sing,” in June 2019.
Richton and the boys just wrapped up recording their third project in Muscle Shoals, Ala., with producer Billy Lawson at Wishbone Recording Studio.
“We plan to release material from that trip very soon,” Richton said.
Plans are to perform some of the new music at the Brooklyn Opera House show.
As a group, Richton noted, we try and write music together.
“We all get some inspiration on our own,” he said. “All of our influences and styles are a little different, but it always comes together well.”
Kyle Latcham writes songs and Ed Henning wrote most of the songs that the band performs live and on the Muscle Shoals project.
“He’s a great songwriter and I’m looking forward to our listeners being able to listen to his work,” Richton said.
When asked about the Best of Poweshiek County event, Richton said there is nothing better than a show in your home county with all of your music playing buddies all in one place.
“We have played shows with all these guys over the years and now we finally all get to be on one bill,” Richton said. “Our relationships are deep with everyone on this show. I used to play in Cody Hicks band as the bass player, and we have shared the stage with both Jake and Blake for New Year’s Eve parties in Grinnell and other locations. It’s a great lineup and it means the world to me to be able to showcase how lucky we are in Poweshiek County to have all these hardworking artists.”
Richton said it’s pretty remarkable that all of the bands busy schedules worked out to make this event happen.
“Props to Laura Manatt and the Opera House team for getting on it,” said Richton. “I’m excited and I think the county is too.”
A week following the opera house show, Tyler Richton and the High Bank Boys will be opening for Joe Nichols at Wild Hogs in Walford.
For more info on Tyler Richton and High Bank Boys, visit www.tylerrichtonhbb.com and for show inquiries or information email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Blake Jack Band
The Blake Jack Band has been performing country music with a mix of other genres for about two years.
The five-piece band includes Christian Williams, guitar; Johnny Kilmer, bass; Tom Romanoski, lead guitar, Criag Seick, drums; and Jack on guitar.
The band mostly opens for a few other bands here and there and they try to play as often as they can.
When asked about the opera house show, Jack said he’s excited to be playing in his hometown.
“I couldn’t be happier to be able to share the stage with some incredibly talented musicians, especially those from here in Poweshiek County as well as to be able to perform at an absolutely amazing local venue in my hometown,” he said.
For more info on the band, visit them on Facebook at Blake Jack Band.
Jake Simon has been performing for around five years now.
“Time flies,” he said.
Simon and his band play a mixture of county and rock.
Band members include Mitch Schultz, drums; Tony Leo, bass; Alan Thorsen, guitar and Simon, guitar.
Simon currently has a handful of singles out with more in the works.
“I’m planning on having a new EP out by the summer,” he said.
Simon performs around 100 shows a year, noting that he wants to get that number up as he continues to branch out around the country.
Simon said every song he has released is original music he has written.
“I plan on keeping it that way forever,” he said.
When asked about performing at the opera house, Simon said it’s an honor.
“I’ve done shows with all these guys before,” he said. “It’s always a rowdy time when we all play shows together. This one will be fun.”
For more info on Simon, visit www.jakesimonmusic.com or send him an email at email@example.com.
Cody Hicks Band
Montezuma’s Cody Hicks has been playing live county music since 2007.
His band consists of Montezuma’s Coleton Tompkins on drums and backup vocals; Josh Free, an Ames product who plays bass and sings backup vocals; Evan Smith of Atlantic, who plays electric guitar; and Hicks, who sings lead vocals and plays acoustic guitar. Jonah Seymour, a lead guitar player originally from Tama sometimes joins the band.
The band has a couple releases on digital platforms and are currently recording a 10-song album set to be released later this year. The band performs from 80-100 concerts per year.
Hicks writes or co-writes all of the band’s music and has recorded around 20 of his original songs to date.
When asked about playing at the opera house, Hicks said he’s excited to share the stage with all of his buddies.
“All of these players and bands are friends of mine,” he said. “To be able to play all together instead of being all separated all over the state on any given weekend, will be a show to remember.”
For more info, visit CodyHicksMusic.com. Booking info can be answered at firstname.lastname@example.org. The band also has a presence on Facebook, Instagram and Tik Tok.
Following Cody Hicks’ performance, all the artists came together for the finale.
The five-piece Blake Jack band includes Christian Williams, guitar; Johnny Kilmer, bass; Tom Romanoski, lead guitar, Criag Seick, drums; and Blake Jack on guitar.
Band members include Mitch Schultz, drums; Tony Leo, bass; Alan Thorsen, guitar and Jake Simon on guitar.
The Cody Hicks Band includes Coleton Tompkins on drums and backup vocals; Josh Free, on bass and backup vocals; Evan Smith on electric guitar; and Cody Hicks, who sings lead vocals and plays acoustic guitar.