Local band Gravel Roads brings back traditional country

There’s a new band in town, and they’re bringing back the “original” country. Gravel Roads  – an Isanti-based country group – recently launched its debut album.

Jeff Pasbrig and his brother-in-law Jim Mellor started playing together casually for more than 25 years. That musical connection, combined with Pasbrig’s experiences with the recession, brought them to the Texaco Showdown, a country music competition. That competition inspired them to try something a bit more: an album. The first version came out in October. Since then, they’ve added two band members and have developed their CD further.

Gravel Roads is a traditional country band.
Gravel Roads is a traditional country band.

The name “Gravel Roads” came about because of the competition.

“We didn’t want to be Jeff and Jim because that was dorky,” said Mellor. “We wanted something with a country theme and something to do with life being a hard road – something that would relate to that. Neither of us really liked it at first, but it grew on us.”

The two, along with drummer “D” Darrel Ion and bass player Tom House, are traveling around the state to promote their new release. They’ll be performing from 8:30-10 p.m. Aug. 16 at the Rush City Arts & Music Festival, at Main Street Church in North Branch Aug. 24, and at the Minnesota State Fair at the Crossroads Chapel from 2-3:30 p.m. Aug. 31.

The band steps away from the modern, poppy country of Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood to bring back story arch, guitar rifts and inspirational country back to the forefront, to the likes of George Strait. The CD is inspired by the rough times Pasbrig experienced during the recession. The album’s namesake song, “Gravel Roads” is about overcoming a home foreclosure. The two hope that people can relate to the album and feel uplifted by the message.

The band hopes to do more than uplift with their songs. A portion of CD sale profits will go to The Heart of Music Foundation, which is a musical nonprofit dedicated to bringing awareness to congenital heart defects.