Rocking out with The Roils

Bluesy-rock band The Roils is set to headline 123 Pleasant Street in Morgantown.


Photographed by Jayson Harris

Kevin Hamric has been playing music ever since he was 4 or 5 years old. “I was always interested in music, from my parents’ music to my sister’s music,” he says. “I did take some piano lessons as a kid, but as I grew up, I was really enamored with the guitar.” That interest soon crystallized when his fifth grade music teacher, Bo McMillion, introduced him to classic bands like Pink Floyd and The Beatles, opening up a whole new world of music. Kevin began taking lessons from Bill, and at the age of 15, started writing and performing his own original songs.

Kevin’s passion for songwriting continued well after he graduated from West Virginia University with a degree in journalism, and he began searching for another musician to help him play his acoustic shows around town. He found Leo Schlosnagle—a drummer originally from Accident, Maryland—and after discovering that the band name they wanted to use, The Rills, was already taken by a small rock group in Europe, settled upon The Roils. “We thought about slight tweaks to The Rills, but the concise, punchy sound of it was getting lost. I liked the artful complexity of homophones, and when ‘roil’ came to mind, the meaning was fitting to what we felt was going on,” Kevin says.

The band currently plays blues-centered rock, tinged with an indie and alt-country undertone, although the style has changed significantly over the years. The band currently consists of three members, lead singer Kevin, drummer Leo, and lead guitarist Chris Baker, who joined the band in early 2013. The band plays at local venues like Black Bear Burritos and McClafferty’s Irish Pub and will headline at 123 Pleasant Street on Saturday, March 8. “We are really excited about this Saturday’s show at 123 Pleasant Street. We will be sharing the evening with local groups Rock Bass and Ye Gods & Ye Little Fishes, as well as local artists,” Kevin says.

The show at 123 starts at 10 p.m., and cover costs $5. “123 is a great venue to see regional and nationally touring acts as well as local artists,” he adds. “I enjoy going on any given night to hang out and listen to other bands, so playing there is always exciting. We put together an entertaining lineup of bands for people to have a good time. It’s a Saturday night with our friends playing music, so it’s hard not to have fun with that.”

The band will also be selling its first EP, Hello Serpent, at the show. It was originally recorded last summer and includes versions of original songs like “Baltimore,” “Build Your Still,” “Guitar Playin’ Man,” and “Master Plan.” “It’s fun! We hope people dig it,” Kevin says. “Right now, we’re really just playing to have fun, and we hope to keep that element of fun in all of our shows. But one thing that we would like to explore more in the future is recording more original songs.”

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