They have an average age of less than 15, but they’re already seasoned performers on the downtown bar circuit, with parental permission, of course.
Stompbox NL, featuring Joseph Coffin on guitar and vocals, Jacob Cherwick on drums and vocals, Nick Earle on guitar and Nick Bendzsa on bass, have earned attention for their blues/roots music, and have shared the stage with several top local performers downtown, as well as at the Newfoundland and Labrador Folk Festival, the MusicNL awards gala, the Janeway Telethon and St. John’s IceCaps games.
On Friday, Stompbox NL will present their first solo show, as a fundraiser to help them participate in the Winnipeg Folk Festival next month.
The four guys are all longtime musicians, having begun playing music, for the most part, as toddlers. They met as participants in various local music programs for kids, and were drawn to each other.
“We kind of stood out to each other, because we were the only ones who weren’t doing folk or pop kind of music,” Jacob explained.
Stompbox NL was recently selected to participate in the Galaxie Young Performers Program at the Winnipeg Folk Festival.
Each year, the festival hosts up to 45 young musicians aged 14 to 24 from across North America and abroad, pairing them with mentors from the festival’s lineup, who will help them craft and perfect their songs. The next day, the young performers will perform their music on stage.
Stompbox NL has been paired with roots musician Johnny Irion, who performs and records with his wife, Sarah Lee Guthrie. Other performers at this year’s festival include local duo The Fortunate Ones, along with the Sheepdogs, Joan Baez and Buffy Sainte-Marie.
“It’s a great opportunity. It’s a very big festival with very big acts, and we’ll get to meet with other musicians and talk with them about what it’s like to make a living in music,” Jacob said.
So far, professional musician is something all four guys are considering as a career.
They’ve been recording some demos, and are hoping to put together a debut album in the not-too-distant future.
Appearing with Stompbox NL Friday at Gower Street United Church will be Chris Kirby, Denis Parker and John Clarke, Brianna Gosse and Sherri Breen. Tickets are available at Fred’s Records and O’Brien’s Music, and showtime is