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All four members of Austin's Bus to Brooklyn hail from unique backgrounds in Texas, but they all have one thing in common. They all saw magic in the songs of Jesse Felder. quot;I was at a party with Jesse one of the first times I met him,quot; says drummer Matt Reynolds, who moved to Austin from Waco in 2006. quot;Everyone's doing their own thing, carrying on and getting drunk. Jesse pulls out his guitar while I'm having a cigarette, and I hear the music stop and all the conversation stop. I look inside and everyone in the room is just paying attention to Jesse for an hour. And I thought, 'I gotta be playing with this guy.'quot; The same can be said of bassist Casey Haliburton, Reynold's friend from music school in Waco, who brought the low end to Bus to Brooklyn at Reynolds urging, and Houstonian Spence Hughes, the lead guitarist raised on Metallica who learned about Stevie Ray Vaughn and Paul Simon and grew to love Bus to Brooklyn's brand of alternative rock. quot;We're all from very different backgrounds,quot; offers Felder, quot;different musical backgrounds, social backgrounds, everything. But that really brings our own creative sides to each song project. It allows us to be more productive.quot; Which is exactly what Bus to Brooklyn has been since forming in February 2009. The Bus to Brooklyn foursome has stormed through Austin, playing clubs and venues like Red Eyed Fly and Ace's Lounge throughout 6th Street, Red River Street and San Marcos along the way. They've also put together a self-titled EP of six songs originally written by Felder. The Austin native has been writing songs since he was 17 but finds that he's gotten the most out of them since putting together Bus to Brooklyn. quot;I'll have my own ideas,quot; says Felder, quot;but we're a band, so we all have a hand in the song creation process and an opinion about what we want to be doing. Because of that, we're getting tighter, more cohesive. And our songs are getting better.quot; Felder's passion for music and songwriting can be traced back to early in his childhood. Raised on the music of James Taylor and other country folk-singers, he moved to Nashville at 19 to pursue a singing career before enlisting in the Army and heading to the west coast and Hawaii. It was during that five-year stint in the Army that he realized his love for playing in bands, and he made it his mission to start one when he returned to Austin. His first move was to bring in Matt Reynolds, who he'd been in touch with through a mutual friend. Reynolds, versed in progressive/psychedelic rock but trained on the deep pocket grooves of Slim Jim Phantom, Stewart Copeland and JJ Johnson, knew right away that he was in the band he'd long been looking for and encouraged his friend Casey Haliburton - a rare talent who went to music school on a saxophone scholarship but left more devoted to the bass - to fill out his and Felder's jam sessions. The band was complete after a meal at Pluckers with Spence Hughes, a University of Texas guitarist who'd been looking for a good fit since moving to town from Houston. He could feel the connection immediately. quot;I came over to jam and knew that this was exactly where I saw myself,quot; says Hughes, quot;playing in a rock band that's not too heavy but isn't light, either. It's exactly what I wanted to get into.quot; With their EP in circulation and plans to dig deeper into Austin's legendary live music scene, Bus to Brooklyn's keeping their focus on the road. quot;We love gigging. We just love playing live for people, which is great b Bus to Brooklyn
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