Quick Chord: Local country act Licker’d Up plays all kinds of country hits and is gearing up for an epic 2016
When local band Black Creek broke up and drummer Ben Mike, bassist Mark Trapane and guitarist Mark Trapane Jr. found themselves estranged musicians, they decided to enlist a mutual friend who sang in the country genre and founded Licker’d Up. When that singer didn’t work out (Trapane Jr. cites varying tastes in music), the group brought in lead singer Rich Hinthliffe and the core of today’s lineup was formed.
“Rich is the kind of guy who can sing in any genre there is,” the elder Trapane said. “He really adopted country. You would think he grew up chewing tobacco.”
Hinthliffe did not grow up chewing tobacco in the country. He grew up in Philadelphia, but gained an appreciation for country as a music genre after moving to Northeastern Pennsylvania.
“We didn’t have a whole lot of trees and squirrels and stuff like that,” Hinthliffe said. “We were mainly sidewalks and pigeons. I grew up listening to a lot of different kinds of music because of where I grew up, but I was never really a county guy until I moved up here.”
The singer cites what he calls “powerful country singers” like Luke Bryan and Brantley Gilbert as influences. Licker’d Up plays hits from modern country acts like the aforementioned artists, but their song selections come from all over country’s timeline.
“We typically play a lot of different styles of country music,” Hinthliffe said. “We do pretty much everything. We’re trying to keep pace with all the country music that people want to listen to when they’re out dancing. That’s what we like to do — keep people out on the dance floor having a good time.”
Their country quartet became a quintet with the addition of Berklee College of Music trained fiddle and mandolin player (and Trapane Jr.’s sister) Michaelina Trapane. The inclusion of a third Trapane in Licker’d Up may make the group seem like a family band, but according to Ben Mike it was one already.
“I’m one of the two that’s not a family member, but I’ve been hanging around these guys for so many years they treat me like family,” Mike said. “We call our band family. I had a tragedy in the family this summer and my brothers and sister here in the band were so good to me. We had to cancel a couple of gigs and they never thought twice about it. They were there for me.”
The band’s set currently consists of all covers, but they haven’t ruled out the possibility of recording original material in the future. If they want to do that, they’ll have to fit it in a 2016 that’s already booked with a year’s worth of shows at The Honkey Tonk in Dunmore, along with the usual festival and benefit dates the band takes on over the course of a year.
“There’s a lot of people who don’t really know who we are yet only because we haven’t gotten ourselves out there,” Trapane Jr. said. “We haven’t played everywhere, but there’s a lot of places we’re going to be playing this upcoming year.”
Fore more information about Licker’d Up and their 2016 schedule, visit lickerdup.com.
Reach Gene Axton at 570-991-6121 or on Twitter @TLArts