Morning News - Jen Andrus
Musical duo Bart Bradford and Steven Muldenhauer entertain customers at Tommy Vaughn's.
With the voice of a smooth and mellow middle-aged man and the acoustic stylings on the strings of a guitar from a 28-year-old, Bart Bradford and Steven Muldenhauer create a sound that is undefinable. Bradford said, "I wanted to be more like Metallica but it comes out more like Simon and Garfunkelesque."
Bradford and Muldenhauer create an unlikely duo which came together after both were in the musical "Brigadoon" which The Blackfoot Community Players presented at the Nuart Theater.
Their love of music and a drive to become more than just mere hobbyists helped them to develop the sound they have put together and the band they lovingly call "Hambone."
"The name came," explained Bradford, "because this kid is a ham." as he pointed to his partner.
Bradford has been singing his whole life, apparent by the occasional outburst of song throughout the interview.
"If your life isn't like a musical, you are doing something wrong." quipped Muldenhauer. But their life is definitely not a musical.
Muldenhauer, in his 20's, suffers from severe arthritis and Psoriasis. "There are times that I play for 20 minutes and then go cry and stick my hands in ice. Pain is just a factor you have to work through." Beyond that, his sister Brady Meline is the youngest woman in the world to suffer from cardio microvascular dysfunction, an incurable disease.
"She's 28 and has a 3-year-old, and they are essentially telling us that they are just waiting."
Waiting isn't something that Muldenhauer and Bradford want to do. They want to be proactive.
"Part of the reason we want to succeed is so we can help Brady." said Bradford "The bigger we get the more we can help." They plan on putting together a fundraiser for the extra costs that insurance doesn't cover.
The band started in February and they have "a couple of hours worth of material." said Bradford. They play cover songs familiar to the audience - songs from Eric Clapton and Lynard Skynard - but all the songs played have the Hambone simplicity. The amplified acoustics have natural clean feel and Bradford's laid-back tone gives each song distinction.
Muldenhauer credited local music store owner Kim Tweedy as a large influence in his music development,
"Kim said, 'Why sound like them (other bands), when you can sound like you."
Taking Tweedy's advice, Bradford and Muldenhauer also create their own songs. Muldenhauer created a song for his father called, "My Hero" and Bradford has created a few songs that refer to his time in service with the Marines. The song "Soldier Boy" refers to his tours in Lebanon and Grenada. "I like people's views of our armed forces these days," said Bradford of writing the song "I would like to keep the sentiment going. It's nice to be united."
They can be found playing popular covers and their own creations this year at the Fair's free stage and they are trying to book gigs at the Blackfoot Swimming Pool, Music in the Park and other area venues. To book Hambone call 569-2963 or 681-2406.