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are sweating and smiling in this practice session in a converted They This is where bassist Jeff Hunt lives with his parents in DeBary. garage. drummer Daniel Conner and guitarist Jay Umlauf grew up Jeff, in this bedroom community halfway between Orlando and together Beach. Daytona vocalist Ashlyn Weidemiller - once a choir singer - is an alto (the Lead female voice) whose style has been compared to 1960s American lowest icon Janis Joplin. rock Ashlyn joined following a chance encounter with Daniel in high After the band took off, even though the band's name didn't surface school, later. The talent jelled immediately. until all just really, really clicked," Daniel said, "and then we realized how "It we were to actually all successfully find each other in such a close lucky and know each other for a long time." area Sinners practice in a Haight-Ashbury-inspired band cave Grindstone with psychedelic images and illuminated by a single spiral dripping band say their influences include The Grateful Dead, Led Zeppelin members The Beatles. And, if everything goes as planned, Grindstone Sinners and be rocking for a long time. Old enough to vote but too young to will band members want to jam for the rest of their lives as drink, musicians. They know they face an uphill battle but are professional by youthful enthusiasm, talent honed by years of practice encouraged a string of industry and social-media successes. and Songwriters of America. The band landed finalist spots in other Showcases including getting consideration for Song of the Year, Band of categories, Year, Most Unique Style and Songwriter of the Year (Jay). the Sinners (with 600 Facebook followers) is on Reverb Nation, Grindstone iTunes and Google Play Music. The foursome - all 18-year-olds Spotify, a December interview - is becoming increasingly popular, during at breweries, music festivals and local clubs across Florida. appearing working hard at building a dedicated fan base -- an effort that They're up speed with the help of Real Radio 104.1's Jim Philips and picked Phile show. The show played Grindstone Sinners' cover of Philips Sky Is Crying by Elmore James about a year ago. The good," Philips said as their tune howled in the background. "That's "Wow." two years ago, Grindstone Sinners a few months Formed its first high-end CD and is branching into released including selling its first professionally merchandising, T-shirts - colorful tie-dyes with the band's new logo. designed DeBary News SINS OF THE ROCKERS Page 2 By Kevin P. Connolly Lifetime rockers fluorescent light bulb. Nurtured by their parents' taste in music, Music awards Jay, after all, was just named 2017 Musician of the Year by Philips Phile boost Jay Umlauf the
top, Ashlyn Weidemiller ,Daniel Conner From Jeff Hunt and already veterans of the local live They're scene. But this night they're music their studio - half of an shaking garage attached to Jeff's enclosed house on Colomba Drive. parents' Jay and Daniel have been buddies Jeff, kindergarten at DeBary since They began playing Elementary. for fun in the 7th grade. The together even whipped out an Iron Maiden guys later realized she performed during the (Ashlyn show. She sang a Broadway show tune.) same met Ashlyn of Orange City at University Daniel School when they were put together for an High class project. They soon realized they English musical interests. shared attributes her love of music to her mother, Ashlyn how they enjoyed signing Pat Benatar recalling Norah Jones songs while she was growing up. and soon as I learned how to form sound out of "As mouth, I was singing - even if it wasn't my she said. "I was a singing baby, you words," know?" cramped jam room is heavily insulated -- Their block walls largely contain stray guitar concrete and random bass burps. They don't play too riffs And the neighbors are cool, so there's no late. if their jams filter outside at times. problem the mish-mash of decorations include Inside, Sinner gear and memorabilia honoring Grindstone musical inspirations, including a giant their Dead tapestry. Guitars, amps and a drum Grateful share space with the family's second kit a washer and dryer and a bench from refrigerator, van. They recently took a road trip in Jeff's Jeff's to see Dead and Company, the John Mayer- van group featuring three founding members fronted the Grateful Dead. of Sinners perform about two to three Grindstone each month. Popular venues include shows Beach and DeLand, though they've Daytona at shows as far away as Gainesville and rocked make ends meet, they all have jobs To of the spotlight. outside the bassist, works in residential construction. Jeff, busses tables when he isn't drumming. Daniel is a hostess at Texas Roadhouse in Orange Ashlyn Jay, the guitarist, just landed a job at the new City. Center in Daytona Beach. Guitar employee discount comes in handy for the (His band). band members appreciate the steady Although from the traditional jobs, they're income to make music their lifetime labors of determined doing that by working hard, making They're everyone has a great time. sure first CD, released in October, was part Their a longer-term investment in raising the of profile. It cost about $3,500 -- all paid band's with money they made by playing gigs. for covered the cost of the CDs, studio time That professional mastering. Revenue from and sales goes back into the band account. CD thing is, right now, at this point it's not "The about making money off the band," Jay really "It's about getting our name out there so said. can really start to expand that fan base we more people picking up our music, with our name, knowing who we knowing Then eventually the fan base will keep are. That will come through word of expanding." social-media buzz and professional mouth, networking. they get more popular, they plan to land As as opening acts, eventually become the gigs Their strong work ethic isn't just a headliner. shared philosophy for success. It's mutually a mantra ingrained, albeit it subtly, in also dad came up with Grindstone Sinners Daniel's using a random band-name generator by wasn't sure about the name at Daniel But his dad broke it down. Then Daniel first. sold. was workers face the grindstone, the job Nine-to-5 pays the bills but isn't necessarily their that Sinners go against the grain. passion. sinners... technically means "Grindstone who are sinning against workforce, people trying to work," Daniel said with a laugh. not in a sense, we're Grindstone Sinners. We "So want to work. We want to do what we don't We want to make music." love. "We want to work hard but Ashlyn: in the sense that everyone else is not working." agreed, saying the name means band Jay "do what we love instead of just members 'practical.'" what's Page 3 DeBary News Getting more fans Singing baby their name. Making music Working hard off stage online. Miami. Added song for a middle-school talent show. love.