Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
The Post - Athens, OH
The independent newspaper covering campus and community since 1911.
The Post
Sunday Creek pose for a portrait in Athens, April 14, 2024. From left to right, the members are Peter Rhynard, Abby Golden, Connor LaCroix and Gabriel Morgan. Not pictured is Anna Crabtree.

Appalachian band Sunday Creek blends folk, bluegrass

No genre of music is as synonymous with a particular geographic region as bluegrass is with Appalachia. Stemming from the folk music of Irish and Scottish settlers in the region mixed with African traditions brought by formerly enslaved people, bluegrass focuses on acoustic instruments such as the banjo and fiddle with an emphasis on musical dexterity.

Blending bluegrass and folk as singer-songwriters, Sunday Creek is a band that is tapping into Southeast Ohio’s roots. The group consists of Peter Rhynard, singer Abby Golden, guitarist and singer Gabriel Morgan, bassist Connor LaCroix and banjo player Anna Crabtree.

The band got its name from the real Sunday Creek, a tributary of the Hocking River that begins in Chauncey and runs for 27 miles, ending in Wayne National Forest. The creek was heavily polluted by acid mine drainage from coal mines in the area. 

The Sunday Creek Watershed Group, sponsored by Rural Action, worked in the mid-2000s to help revitalize the creek to its pre-mining state. Rhynard, a junior studying biology, said this comeback story inspired the members of the band.

“We didn't know what the fate of the band would be,” Rhynard said. “While that message is cool in itself, we were hoping that people would look up our band and get redirected to Sunday Creek, the community impact parts of it that deserve much more attention.”

Golden, a senior studying musical theater, said she got her start in music early on.

“I grew up in theater from second grade on and had an array of different musical, choral and vocal teachers and groups that I was a part of,” she said. “Now I'm majoring in it and I still like to sing.”

Pulling inspiration from bands such as Crooked Still, Pinegrove and Andrew Bird, Sunday Creek blends everything from contemporary indie to the heavy hitters of bluegrass. LaCroix, a grad student studying geology, said though some of his musical inspirations may not show, they still play a big part in his music.

“Even though we don't play music anything like Vulfpeck, they're a very inspiring band in my opinion,” said LaCroix. “Then, also, I've been liking Billy Strings a lot, even though I play the bass.”

Formed in 2022, the group has seen many bands come and go in Athens. Morgan, a junior studying biology, said younger bands should accept any mistakes they will make in their journey.

“You should go into it knowing that you will make lots and lots of mistakes,” Morgan said.  “Because performance is really hard, and there's just a lot of things you won't see coming.”

Golden said new musicians need to put off any doubt about themselves they may have.

“Trust your work and trust that you've done the work you've done as much as you can,” she said.

The quintet also suggested experimenting with different sounds instead of sticking to just one genre. Rhynard began his musical training in classical music. He said his bandmates have encouraged him to not be as rigid as classic music calls for.

“Something I learned from Gabe as we started playing together was to not hold back from crossing any boundaries,” he said. “And to experiment as much as you godd---- can, with whatever you do musically.”

The idea of being free in one’s musical style can truly only come once the musicians are comfortable with each other. LaCroix said being in a band with his friends has greatly helped everyone’s musical abilities.

“The best kind of music is when friends are having fun together,” LaCroix said. “Which is kind of exactly what we do.”

The band will perform at the Earth Day Celebration hosted by the Office of Sustainability at the Walter Hall Rotunda on April 23 from noon to 4 p.m. The event is free and will also include a thrift shop, goats and a sustainable fashion show. Sunday Creek can be found on Instagram at @sunday.creek.

“We're grateful to be part of the cool Athens music scene and that we get to do this,” said Morgan.


Powered by SNworks Solutions by The State News
All Content © 2016-2024 The Post, Athens OH