Porch Fire to ignite Mac Uptowner’s stage


submitted photo

“We all come from different musical backgrounds, but we do a good job of including everyone’s musical ambition in our sound,” band member Yeck-Petty said.

Kalyn Hayslett, Verge Editor


A neighbor’s cigarette bud not only ignited a small fire on two band member’s wooden porch, but also inspired the band’s name, Porch Fire.

One of the original members, Dakota Yeck-Petty, said the porch did not suffer any major damage so the band turned the accident into a creative muse.

“‘Hey watch out for that porch fire,’” Yeck-Petty said. “It was a joke, but we liked it and rolled with it ever since.”

Established in July 2015, Porch Fire is a fairly new band, but the band has established itself at Mac’s Uptowner through previous performances.

At 9:30 p.m. Friday, the band will be performing again at the Uptowner.

The band currently practices in Carbondale, but it has its roots in Charleston and Mattoon.

Yeck-Petty was born and raised in Mattoon and considers the Uptowner a hometown show and enjoys the atmosphere.

“The guy that runs sound is really good. (It has a) very intimate stage so we get to see the audience’s faces,” Yeck-Petty said. “Audiences seem very receptive to our music, and we definitely want to make Charleston a frequent playing area for us.”

Charleston holds a special place in the band members’ hearts because the band’s first performance as Porch Fire was during the Creation Celebration Music and Arts Festival, said Yeck-Petty.

The six members include Blake Bledose on guitar, Yeck-Petty on mandolin, Troy Hutchens on drums, Levi Jones on keyboard, Liz Hartman on upright bass and Cecily Rhodes on violin.

To match its creative name, the band has created its own “jam grass” genre.

“Jam grass” is the fusion of the energetic fast-paced sounds of rock with the smooth Southern sounds of bluegrass.

The band uses the traditional instruments of a bluegrass band with the mandolin and guitar but wanted to bring more diversity to their sound with the addition of the keyboard, bass, drums and violin.

“We don’t like to put our band in a box with a genre,” Yeck-Petty said. “We go where the music takes us and create an end product that leaves the audience surprised.”

Most audience members do not expect the combination of these two different genres but so far audience members enjoy it.

“We use bluegrass music to make electric heavy metal sounds. It sometimes gets very distorted but we turn off our pedals and rock out,” Yeck-Petty said. “There are some bands that (try to add rock to bluegrass) but a lot of people don’t expect a rock sound.”

The band is now focusing on its first album with 10 original songs.

For more than two months, the band has been working on the album, which has become a slow process when considering everyone’s schedules and limited studio time.

“It’s been a lengthy process, we have a home studio so we can’t fit everyone at once but listening to the tracks its sounding really good,” Yeck-Petty said.

The studio the band utilizes is all self-made by Bledose who went to school for audio producing so the band relies on his sound engineering skills.

Through difficult situations the band is able to work though them because of their strong relationship on and off the stage.

All of the band members established strong friendship bonds that help create a synergy while they perform.

“We all have a good chemistry together; I am very lucky to play music with these people,” Yeck-Petty said. “I think that’s why we are able to do what we do.”


Kalyn Hayslett can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].