Band of Banks looking for local venue

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By Becca Owsley, Landmark News Service

 What do three bankers and a guy named Banks do in their spare time? Form a band, of course.

Chris Buchanan, Charles DeRoche, Matt Neel and Pat Banks make up the local band Poor Man’s Grave.

While their photos resemble those of many folk bands, they started out that way, but morphed into something louder and more electric, according to Buchanan, lead vocalist and acoustic guitar player.

He said their sound is based in blues, jazz, soul, funk and rock. The group performs about 10 of its own original songs in each set. They also perform covers of classic rock and newer tunes popularized by artists such as Pink Floyd, the Rolling Stones, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Modest Mouse and Black Sabbath.

Buchanan usually writes the lyrics and the band works on the music. Buchanan said Neel has great timing on the drums, which gives the songs personality.

Some of their songs are just “cool words mixed together,” Buchanan said. Others, he said, are about political justice, truth, philosophy, and include spirituals and songs from the heart. Some are based on his observations of the lives of others.

They all have day jobs and know they are not going to make a lot of money from their music gigs.

“We’re just a bunch of dads that like to get out and have fun,” Buchanan said.

The group, whose ages rage from 20s to 50s, has been together about a year. They’ve played gigs in Louisville and Bardstown and at Heartland Sports Pub in Elizabethtown.

The name Poor Man’s Grave came from a song written by Buchanan. He wrote the song after seeing a historical coal mining camp. The poor life the miners lived inspired him to write it.

Neel grew up in Appalachia and his dad was a coal miner. The song and name struck a chord with members.

The band would love to perform at the Historic State Theater some day and wants to see more opportunities for local bands to play in Hardin County.

“One of our biggest goals is to support local music here in Elizabethtown,” Neel said.

They’ve experienced jam nights and other collaborative efforts at Louisville venues and hope to see more of that in Elizabethtown.

Starting a band at an older age has its advantages.

Because his kids are older, Neel said he can perform and practice more and can afford better equipment.

Buchanan said he’s more focused and has more life experiences to pull from when writing songs.

Some are surprised their day job is banking, but they don’t like to think of themselves as bankers when they are performing.

Neel said he just wants to be in a band playing with people and enjoying the music as a disconnect from his day job.

“That one moment, you’re not a normal Joe,” Buchanan said.

For more information about the band, find them on Facebook or call 270-765-9168 or 270-872-5205.