Saturday, August 7th, 2021

Deck Stage

George Fetner and the Strays

Cover:$5 at the door

“A fierce guitarist and accomplished songwriter who has made a name fronting jam band-adjacent groups like Pinna and George Fetner and the Strays, he’s also a new music composer and classically-trained guitarist with undergrad and master’s degrees in composition from the University of South Carolina.

True to form, he also diligently worked on putting together a recorded compilation of his compositions played by USC students and faculty entitled Beneath the Ice, which appeared in 2015, and a solo acoustic album in the vein of Nick Drake and Elliott Smith, Some Things We’ll Change, in 2017.

His current project, George Fetner and the Strays, which he affectionately refers to as GFATS, finds him back in rock band mode, competently tackling a variety of styles with a renewed emphasis on songwriting while applying a composer lens to crafting individual roles for each player. (Kyle Petersen)

The bands self-titled debut EP, released in 2018, featured for the first time an extended lineup of musicians, “all of whom come together for a rollicking, raucous (and brassy!) joyride” (SC Music Guide). That extended lineup now is more common than not, adding percussion, horns, and keyboards to his rock quartet. “Whereas most local acts would have turned this expansion into a trainwreck, Fetner expertly guided his ensemble into something that sounded, in fact, bigger than its parts, evoking the stadium grandeur of U2, the worldly musings of Peter Gabriel, and, yes, the loose-limbed feelgoods of Phish.” (Free Times).

After honing in on their large, seasoned sound over the past few years with festival appearances at the Free Times Music Crawl, Rosewood Crawfish Festival, JerryFest, the Jam Room Music Festival, Fall for Greenville, and others, GFATS releases their debut LP Longer Like This in 2020. Recorded at the Jam Room to tape, and mastered for and pressed to vinyl, Fetner’s devotion to the album listening experience is evident in the musical direction, energy, and flow that the Strays, with additional musicians, execute masterfully.

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