Verne’s musical history dates back 25 years ago
when he attended “Jam Sessions” where he played his guitar and sang Folk and
Country tunes with dear friends like: Bob Batyko (guitar & vocals ), David
Chapin (dulcimer & Autoharp), Tom Murphy (guitar & vocals) and Nel Arnold.
Verne states “Nel was one of the most gifted vocalists I have ever known”.
About that same time period, Verne joined his first band, Patchwork Blue (1978-1980), which included Fred Grupe (Bass), Tom Murphy, (Guitar, Vocals), Kevin Weinbrecht (Guitar/ Harmonica, Vocals), Dan Brady (Keyboards, Vocals), and the late Bill Perry (Drums, Vocals).
Verne’s next venture was a duo with good friend, Don Loy (Guitar, Banjo, Vocals) and they were billed as The McDonald Brothers (1980 – 1981). They played many weekends at what used to be Major McKinney's in historical downtown Willoughby.
Following that, Rumor Hazit (1982 – 1984) was formed. This dynamic group included Don Loy (Guitar, Banjo, Vocals), Anita McClelland (Keyboards, Vocals), Ken Davis (Guitar, Vocals), Chas Bowdler (Bass, Vocals), and Kevin Morgan (Drums, Vocals).
Verne’s musical influences are still quite prevalent in his preferences for both performing and song writing. These influences include Dan Fogelberg, the Eagles, Simon & Garfunkle, James Taylor, Joni Mitchel, John Hartford and all else who write melancholy love songs.
Verne confesses, “I love to sing and play songs that move me, and usually those are songs about love and loss. I believe that playing and singing in an intimate environment, where you can evoke an emotional response from those listening, is the most rewarding part of playing music. To connect lyrically and musically with the listener is the key to what I would consider a successful performance.”
He continues, “Abbey Rodeo is, without a doubt, the best band I've ever been a part of because I work with people who share the same musical interests as well as a sense of brotherhood (and sisterhood since we have Debbie). This band plays songs that people react to. The music we play is history and memories for a lot of people. It’s really a blast to see the expressions on their faces and hear the comments after the gig.”
Verne is proud of his work with Abbey Rodeo and considers the members of the band his friends and family. He appreciates the support and encouragement the crowds supply time and time again. Verne anticipates the future of Abbey Rodeo as they continue to bring a different kind of music to the live scene in Northeast Ohio.
Verne McClelland's bio...