All things geek – Model City is the model band

Matthew Lane • Jun 8, 2020 at 8:30 AM

KINGSPORT — If I was to take a time machine and go back some 30 years, to the days of my senior year in high school, I daresay I would realize I didn’t have my act together.

Some may say I still don’t.

Meanwhile, there are plenty of young adults coming out of high school — despite all the craziness 2020 has brought us — who definitely have their act together and are doing some amazing things. This past week, I had the pleasure of meeting three such ones.

Their names are Joey Carrier, Luke Fielden and Brandon Sexton and along with Philip Edwards (whom I did not get a chance meet) they make up the local indie rock band Model City.

These Dobyns-Bennett grads have been playing together for more than two years, writing their own songs, performing at local venues and working on their first album that’s hopefully going to be released this year. The first single from that album, “Blond Boy,” a beach rock type of song, should be out this month.

At least when it comes to music, these guys have got it together.

“I started taking broadcasting at D-B, and Joey was in that class and I knew he played bass,” Brandon said of the group’s origins. “I purposefully sat beside him just to exploit his talents.”

It turns out that later, after Brandon and Joey became good friends, Joey admitted to doing the same thing: sitting beside Brandon to exploit his talents. The duo knew Luke through drumline since all three were in the D-B band and asked him to join their musical endeavor.

“I knew both of them and they said, ‘Hey, you wanna be in a band?’ I said, ‘Why not?’ ” Luke said.

The four got together and performed at “Indian Idol,” a talent show at the high school similar to “American Idol.” They won it. From there, the budding musicians knew they had to take it to the next level: practicing on a regular basis, writing their own songs and getting booked.

From performing at a friend’s graduation party, Model City has also played at the downtown concert series in Kingsport, has twice done the Santa Depot event, and has performed at local venues like Quaker Steak & Lube in Bristol, Virginia, and High Voltage in Kingsport.

The young men describe their musical style as “indie alternative” with influences being such bands as Nashville-based Coin and Cincinnati-based Walk the Moon. Don’t worry. I had to Google them too.

So far, Model City has released an extended play album of six titles — two instrumentals and four with lyrics. The titles are simple — “Sunrise,” “Fishnets” and “Elsewhere for example” — and the melodies are pleasing to this old ’80s hair band fan. I found myself truly enjoying their beats.

“We have a really weird songwriting process when compared to other bands,” lead singer and guitarist Brandon said. “They’ll write the music and make the lyrics through that. I write lyrics, have ideas and melodies in my head and then we’ll practice.”

Bass player Joey continued by explaining, “We’ll sing the basic structure of the song and write the chords to it. Then we’ll build off the back of it.”

“We all have our own influence on the song, which is cool. It all comes from the same essential idea with our own flair,” said Luke, the group’s drummer.

If you want to hear Model City for yourself, then head over to www.modelcityband.com, where you’ll find all of their songs and links to their social media pages on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Their tunes can be found on Spotify and iTunes, and if you want to physically express your support for a local band, the group even has “merch” like stickers and T-shirts.

Brandon is planning to attend ETSU, Luke is heading to the University of Tennessee and Joey is off to Savannah. It wouldn’t be unusual for college days to end a high school band. However, the three young men all said they have no plans to break up the group.

“We plan to keep the band together and play gigs when we can,” Brandon said.

For the sake of the Tri-Cities music scene, let’s hope they do.

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