Southern rock charm

Jake Roberts Band bring outlaw country
to Dark Horse Tavern


Jake Roberts Band (L-R) Jake Roberts, Mark Bishop, and Nate Jenkins.
Photo: Kendra Weatherholt

By Justin Kreitzer

Alongside the recent mainstream success stories of fellow retro-minded country & western artists such as Chris Stapleton and Sturgill Simpson, Franklin, Ohio’s Jake Roberts Band embodies the brash spirit of classic ‘70s country outlaws. The likes of Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, and Johnny Cash as well as Southern rock icons The Allman Brothers and Lynyrd Skynyrd with their self-proclaimed “Authentic Honky Tonk Music.” Led by the charismatic vocalist/guitarist Jake Roberts along with lead guitarist “Big Dave” Cornett, guitarist Nate Jenkins, and the sturdy rhythm section of drummer Lynn Long and bassist Mark “Beef” Bishop; the band creates a country-leaning brand of Southern rock that is both modern and nostalgic all at once.

With that sound in hand, the band is fast becoming a staple in the live local music scene, bringing their raucous live show and a party-like atmosphere everywhere they go. Furthermore, the band is booked solid throughout the year, playing two or even three shows most weekends. National touring bands have noticed their road warrior mentality as well, and they recently increased their profile even further when they opened for ex-Staind front-man and country music star, Aaron Lewis, during a local show. Riding the crest of that momentum, The Jake Roberts Band will make a stop at Dark Horse Tavern this week on Saturday, Feb. 10. If you have yet to witness one of their authentic live shows, now is your chance.

In anticipation, the Dayton City Paper spoke with Jake Roberts of the band about their formation, band dynamics, their future plans, and more.

DCP: Can you please tell us more about your musical background as well as how and when the band formed?

Jake Roberts: My background is in country music. Forming the band was kind of accidental. It just started as an acoustic duo and then we found all the right dudes to put the band together. As far as background we all have one thing in common; we dig old country, outlaw country, and southern rock. Of course, we like other kinds of music like blues, rock, gospel, and our grass is blue.

DCP: Although, the band takes its name after front man Jake Roberts, I get a very strong sense that the band is more than just a bunch of sidemen but is a collaborative effort. How does each member fit into the band?

JR: Absolutely! There is no front man in this band, each member plays a vital role in the sound of the band. Lynn and “Beef” create the backbone and Nate and Dave work well as the lead and rhythm guitarists. Then I sings my ass off and work the crowd. 

DCP: Iconic touchstones such as Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings and ‘70s southern rockers make their way into the spirit of your band more obviously, but who are some of your less obvious influences?

JR: Some of our main influences are Townes Van Zandt, Kris Kristofferson, The Allman Brothers, The Rolling Stones, Derrick and the Dominos, Steve Earle, ZZ Top, and Muddy Waters but really the list is endless.

DCP: Your live shows have a fun, party-like atmosphere with fans singing along to the many classic country and southern rock covers in your repertoire, as well as your originals. What is your favorite original song and cover song to play live and why?

JR: Really, “The War” is the only original we have out but a full album or at least an EP will be released sometime in the spring. As far as a favorite cover to play, I’d say, whatever gets the crowd going and that may be something different each night. Either way, we have a blast with every song we play! 

DCP: Aside from several live, fan-filmed YouTube videos and the trio of cover songs that are posted on your Reverbnation page, the band doesn’t really have much recorded output as of yet. Do you have any plans to record and release your original songs and/or put out a live album any time soon? If so, where are you in that creative process?

JR: We are currently writing and tracking songs for an eventual release this spring.

DCP: After that album is released and besides all of the shows you have scheduled to play, what do you hope the future holds for the band?

JR: We hope for longevity. As I always say, “This is the best Country & Western band in Southern Ohio.” We are just tickled to death about the lineup we have now and are excited about what’s ahead.

The Jake Roberts Band will appear on Saturday, Feb. 10 at Dark Horse Tavern, 209 Byers Road in Miamisburg. The show starts at 9 p.m. For more information, please visit Facebook.com/JakeRobertsBand.

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Reach DCP freelance writer Justin Kreitzer at JustinKreitzer@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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