Jamming out in a Holts Summit home as teenagers, Clarksburg-native Billy Jack Purnell and friends Casey Seymour and Charles Wall dreamed of rocking on stage in front of fans.
The latter two continued their music interest, honing their skills, until they became part of the band Rusted Horses with Quentin Davis and Joshua Arthur last year.
Purnell did not return to music after that summer until a severe accident turned him to telling stories of rural life and personal growth through acoustic vocals. His "Plain and Simple" album has been popular across the Midwest.
The old musical friends reconnected when they were playing at the Brisket and Bluegrass Festival at the LOMO Club in Lohman. Not only did they catch up, but they found they each had what the other was seeking.
Rusted Horses had tight instrumentation but needed a lead vocal. Purnell had dreamed of having more than his guitar to back him up but worried about the struggles that come with a group.
They needed few rehearsals to tell this would be a good match up. And they repurposed Purnell's "Plain and Simple" title as the band name.
They will make their group debut at 7 p.m. Feb. 10 at the LOMO Club.
"I believe this is exactly what Billy Jack needed to propel him to the next level — a full band," talent buyer Zach Ewing said. "It's going to take his real-life Moniteau outlaw songs and really bring them to life. This is something that the LOMO Club has looked forward to since the first day Billy Jack Purnell played here. We are super excited for him, for the band, and to finally hear the debut of this talent!"
Things have fallen in place for the group, Davis said. The former members of Rusted Horses met by accident about a year ago at The Mission in Jefferson City, similarly appreciating each other's tones and style, which blend well, he said.
"We've been apart but honing our skills through the years," Purnell said.
Seymour agreed: "We've been 30 years in the making."
Still, Purnell said he was worried about how it would work, since his music is original rather than covers that were more common, he said.
"I wanted us to be a unit, not a guy with a band," he said.
Purnell said he wanted them to have the freedom to be creative. Seymour, who plays lead guitar, said Purnell's solo music easily led to each instrument finding its part.
"We added but did not take away from it," Wall said. "We brought depth, dynamics and percussion."
Each brings a following of fans, which should help them get off to a good start.
For Arthur, the drummer, music has been a refuge from stress and a way to worship, as he plays weekly at his church.
Music has been more of a lifestyle for Davis. He has played in many bands and is not new to recordings and stages. However, this is the first band where he plays bass. He said he has enjoyed learning new tunes and tricks.
"We could not have planned this chain of events to happen to bring this group together," Purnell said. "With our sound and what we're doing, I don't see us not going all the way."