This group have a very interesting and heartwarming backstory. They first started performing in 1966, releasing their first song This Is The Time in 1967, which is now a collector’s item. Unfortunately, life got in the way (college, getting married etc.). and they split up. A mere forty years later, they decided to reform! They are now more popular and in demand than they were in their Sixties heyday, performing 60’s covers and their own 60’s-inspired songs to large acclaim.
They were inducted into the Michigan Rock n’ Roll Legends Hall Of Fame in 2011. In 2012, they released a new album featuring That Was The Time, a follow-up to their 1967 first single. Ron Hamrick wrote this song, Livin’ In A Small Town, about his own hometown Niles. It’s a nicely constructed and performed song that captures so many of the elements of what people associate with Sixties’ music, without sounding too much like anyone else. You can certainly hear the songwriting influence of Beach Boy’s genius Brian Wilson, as well as Three Dog Night and The Hollies.
Ron’s singing voice is perfect for the song, with a light vocal tone that conjures up the innocent quality of the Sixties. It is backed up with some perfectly executed three-part harmonies by the other vocalists in the group (Paul Davies, Fred Hulce and Dave Walenga – every band member sings!). Lyrically, it is about how a town changes over the years and nostalgia for the past, as well as appreciating that there are good think about progress too.
Overall, this is a charming and well-crafted song that acts as a wonderful homage to the Sixties’ sound but also just a good piece of songwriting in itself. Their story, spanning sixty years, is the stuff legends are made of, and to reform so late in the day, then become hugely popular, shows that age is merely just a number.
Verdict: 8.3 out of 10