John McCormack's Introduction

Nolan Gasser writes in his book “Why You Like It: The Science and Culture of Musical Taste”, that a lot of what we as human beings develop as musical tastes “has to do with where you grew up and what kind of musical influences are in the air, but we participate in so many subcultures of affinity, just based on what we like.” He also speaks about “inculturation” stating, “In the first six months or so, babies can actually follow the syntax of any musical style – complex rhythms from Turkey or major scales from Europe. If you play something for a baby a few times and make a slight shift, the baby turns its head at that shift. It recognizes the deviation.” The environmental development of us as children tends to shape our musical tastes as we grow. 

John McCormack grew up listening to his parents play in a lively Motown band. As a result of watching and listening to the two brothers singing lead who would throw their mics to each other on stage, John was drawn to music at an early age. In fact, his first memory of music is being in the basement listening to the band practice. McCormack states he was immediately “drawn to the drums in the biggest way”. It’s no surprise that he was led into the Rock genre of music when his best friend received a drum set as a gift for Christmas one year. 

At this point, McCormack decided it was time to try something new. He ventured to his nearby pawn shop and bought his first guitar – a Teisco. With his new guitar and its accompanying Silvertone amp, he began his journey as a guitarist. During this time, he would listen to albums from his father including the likes of The Beatles and The Rolling Stones to gain inspiration of what he could write with his new instrument. McCormack would listen to the albums without the intention of learning the exact thing the musicians played but listening “to what they were playing and making something with it of [his] own.” 

John states that growing up in the Midwest, “the only way [he] found anybody to write music with was in country [music].” As a young adult, one of his best friends wrote country songs with him. “I never could find anyone to write outside of the country vain until I met [Kris and Kevin] and I was like ‘I’ve found my soul mates’”. Now, 30 years later, with Kris on keys, Kevin on his kit, and John jamming out on his guitar, the trio continues to grow and write new material regardless of the genre to which it would be categorized. 

Looking ahead, John states that in the coming year, “I want to write more material and grow our presence in other areas” He also wants to find some new interesting venues that might have the band as openers for more well-known acts in the region. 

The band just finished their first set of performances at Andy Brasher’s Lil’ Nashville and at Wired For Good in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Ariel and The High Wheels continues the year with gigs like PorchFest OBKY of Owensboro, Kentucky on June 11, 2022 where they will wow the crowd on Griffith Avenue with original songs that lean toward the Rock genre with a influences from Blues, Country, and Soul. To keep up with their lively schedule, follow them on Facebook, Instagram, or checkout their website: arielandthehighwheels.com.

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