Richmond Music Journal
As a music fan, I regret I will never hear some of my favorite musical
groups live, but you come close when you visit Sharky's and hear The
Wrest perform. When they play, it's like a small Festival Express.
People dance and sing to the music. Once the partying ends, there's time
for thoughtful, challenging music. Critic Angie Castlebury compared the
group to "sitting in front of a jukebox with a bucket full of quarters.
Every song is exactly what you want to hear."
The band originated in October 1999 with the help of solo performer and
excellent guitarist Pat O'Brien and his friends, Jane Cooper and Jim
White. They met when Pat was performing locally. They tried some
harmonies and started practicing together, realizing they had a good
sound and their personalities and voices meshed. Cooper and White have
never been in a band, but have remarkable voices and have been singing
for years, including school choirs and with friends.
By 2001, they were regulars at Sharky's and gathered a fan base, which
continues to grow. Today the group includes Tommy Hughes, a talented
guitarist, bass player and country vocalist, the extremely talented
Krista Bolton, and pro drummer Stu Grimes.
Audience involvement is key. "We read the audience," said White. "We
note what songs people sing along with and which ones get them dancing.
The singers always sing along to 'Margaritaville' and 'Sweet Caroline.'
'Mustang Sally' and "Sweet Home, Alabama' gets the dancers going."
plays covers knows there are a few songs everybody is going to ask for,
says O'Brien. These talented musicians not only give you a perfect
rendition, they add their own touches. It's a special moment between the
band and the audience, creating an amazing energy. "No doubt," O'Brien
agrees. "You can feel it, and you feel it from the crowd. We feed off
it." It's pure enjoyment from a group that can sing almost anything, so
if you're in the mood for good local music, then stop by Sharky's any
Wednesday or Friday at 9:30 p.m. and jump on board the Wrestival
--Forest N. George III
NIGHT MOVES: The Wrest
Richmond Times-Dispatch (12/29/05)
The Band: Pat O'Brien, vocals, guitar; Krista Bolton, vocals,
percussion; Jane Cooper, vocals; Jim White, vocals, percussion; Tommy
Hughes, bass; Stu Grimes, drums
Check out the band if you like: The Beatles, Toby Keith, Fleetwood Mac
Playing next: Every Wednesday and Friday at Sharky's
What's up: Catching a performance by The Wrest is like sitting in front
of a jukebox with a bucketful of quarters. Every song is exactly what
you want to hear. That doesn't mean the members of this good-time music
ensemble should be compared with machines cranking out one song after
another. They know how to read a crowd and whip out the right tunes to
suit everyone's dancing and singing needs.
Four years ago, The Wrest began playing regularly at Sharky's, which has
helped the band create a growing following of fans. O'Brien said
word-of-mouth helps build the band's following.
O'Brien said the band is gearing up to record a live CD at Sharky's and
is planning some surprises for the new year.
What is the difference between playing with a group and playing solo?
"When you play as a band like this you get to split the vocals so we
have four different lead vocalists to break the monotony," O'Brien said.
"But when you're solo, it's all about picking the songs you want to do
at the moment. When you are in a band, you have to work with the crowd
and the others in the band."
Why does this group put an emphasis on vocals? "In previous bands that I
have been in . . . the sound of the instrumentation tends to surpass the
volume of the vocals, and the vocals get buried," O'Brien said. "That's
just natural because people play their instruments harder and harder
throughout the night. We try to start with the vocals and use them as
the foundation of what we do"