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Interview:
Country favorites Annabell Road ropin' it in after 11 years
 

By Gary Graff
ggraff@digitalfirstmedia.com, @GraffonMusic on Twi

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Annabelle Road’s Amanda Bailey knows the Detroit area country group’s fans, and even friends and family, are looking for a big, dramatic backstory behind the group’s decision to call it quits.

There just isn’t one.

“Everybody’s like, ‘What happened?’” Bailey, 33, says by phone from her home in Marshall. “Everybody’s waiting for this great, grand story about why the band’s falling apart. But it’s just not like that — which makes it a little bit hard to walk away.”

Rather, Bailey says, it’s simply about life catching up to her, husband Jeremy Temple and bandmates Donovan Tarjeft and Phillip Marteney.

“We’ve been doing this for about 11 years now and it’s definitely a full-time job, but all of us have full-time jobs on top of the full-time band,” Bailey explains. “As much as we absolutely love it, it’s just a lot. It’s a lot different going full-time with two jobs when you’re 21 as opposed to 31 or whatever.

“We actually decided as a band probably last August or September that this current year would be our last year. We’re just kind of ready to spend more time doing something else other than work and the band. I guess as you get older your dreams change, and right now the dream is spending some time with family while we have time to spend with them and going from there.

“We’re still at a point where we love it, and we always want music to be something that we love. So better to quit now than wait till we don’t like doing it anymore.”

Annabelle Road certainly leaves a legacy of accomplishment — if, perhaps, a slight tinge of unfulfilled hopes.

The quartet formed Downriver during 2007. Bailey recalls she and her sister taking some of the guys — who were then playing together in a rock band — to see Kenny Chesney at Ford Field.

“They kind of joked and said, ‘Wow, there’s so many more girls at country concerts than there are a rock concerts!’” Bailey remembers. “Then one day a couple of weeks later I got a call: ‘Hey, we’re going to start a country band. Want to sing a couple of songs here and there?’ Within months that turned into fronting the band with Jeremy, and a couple months later we were playing the Downtown Hoedown.

“So it happened really fast for us.”

In addition to multiple Hoedowns, Annabelle Road found itself opening for the likes of Toby Keith, Miranda Lambert, Dierks Bentley, Jake Owen and many more, both in and out of town, and doing a private show in northern Michigan with the Band Perry. The group performed a regular itinerary of lucrative corporate shows, including in multiple states for Mercedes Benz and a 10-day residency in Las Vegas during the National Rodeo Finals. It released an album and an EP, the latter recorded at Nashville’s legendary Blackbird Studios, and built a reputation that spread well beyond the Detroit area.

“Annabelle Road really epitomizes the spirit of the Detroit — a hard-working band,” says CBS Radio executive Tim Roberts, a longtime supporter of the group via country station WYCD. “They’re a band that loved playing to any size crowd, capable of doing it anywhere, and always were a total home run with the crowd, no matter what the size. I truly believed they were capable of writing and making hits on a national level — no question — and told a lot of folk in Nashville about them.”

That was, unfortunately, the one thing that eluded Annabelle Road — though not for lack of trying. The group quietly showcased a couple of times for major labels in Nashville, though Bailey notes those auditions came “very early on.”

“We knew we weren’t quite ready to take that step,” she says. “But it was still the most incredible experience to have them even notice who we are.”

The group will put its instruments down without regret after one final, “very personal” show on Nov. 4 at Otus Supply in Ferndale. After that, Bailey will dedicate herself to her nannying job in Marshall. Temple handles audio-visual at the FireKeepers Casino in Battle Creek. Tarjeft works with Best Buy’s Geek Squad and does sound and lighting at Monroe Community College, and Marteney is a team leader at Arc Metal Stamping in Hudson.

Asked if the door is open to playing together again Bailey says, “never say never.” But if it is never, she promises there will be nothing but good memories.

“Everything we hoped would happen has happened, absolutely,” Bailey says. “We all feel very fulfilled and accomplished and just grateful — I think grateful is the best word to describe how we’re feeling right now. It would be easier to walk away if something happened and everybody was angry about it, but that’s just not the case. We just know it’s time to end on a high note and take it from there.”



• If You Go: Annabelle Road performs 8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 4, at Otus Supply, 345 E. Nine Mile Road, Ferndale. Tickets are $10 in advance, $15 at the door. Call 248-291-6160 or visit otussupply.com.

Web Site: www.otussupply.com

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