With over seven passion driven years dedicated to The Blackwater Thieves, band members Chris Pritchett, Keith Dunlap, and Harrison Wallace have no plans to stop any time soon.
A band with a very particular, unique sound that can only be described under the mixture of jazz, funk, and psychedelic music, The Blackwater Thieves have become known for their originality. Though they often cover songs by greats such as The Grateful Dead and Phish, they always add their special “Thieves” sound to everything they do.
In a personal interview held at the band’s “godfather” Chris Pritchett’s house, the guys were able to discuss more in depth about what drives and inspires them to continue doing what they love.
Being around other bands and listening to music all day long was the triggering factor that set Chris off into the path he is on today. “Being able to connect with your instrument and being around other musicians who inspire you to continue is the most important part.” From the early age of eight, Chris carried around his boom box and listened to whatever his older sister was listening to at the time. After years of listening to Britney Spears, Backstreet Boys and then slowly transitioning into Screamo and Hard Rock, his father suggested he should listen to The Beatles– a band that would spark his interest and influence the music taste he has today.
Both Keith and Harrison were also influenced by bands and styles of music that sparked their interest into the realm of the music scene. Keith’s dad played him his first Led Zeppelin song and he was hooked from then on. After listening to Led Zeppelin’s lead drummer, John Bonham’s solos, he found an instant connection to the instrument and how it made him feel. Now a senior in college, Keith still jams out on the drum set he got from his parents in the ninth grade.
Coming from a musical family, Harrison always knew music was a passion of his; music, for Harrison, is a way to find “relaxation and ease.” As a graduate student in American Studies and soon to be professor for an American Folk Music class at The University of Alabama, the excitement that pours through his words when speaking about music is undeniable. The fire in his tone of voice when referring to his rare and distinctive findings of various different instruments around town could be heard from miles away.
Not only is it passion and love for music that makes The Thieves successful, it is also their ability to stay humble and appreciative of their surroundings and local musicians alike. All three of the band members gushed on about all the different concerts and open mic jam nights that were happening around town.
“We like to go out and see as many shows as we can,” Lead Vocalist and Guitar player, Chris said, “always making sure we are being supportive of our friends and their music.”
Both locally and nationally known across the states of Tennessee and Georgia, The Blackwater Thieves are just getting started on their road to success. After numerous changes to who was going to play keyboards in the band, the guys finally came across Brad Bates. With both his similar personality and musical likings similar to the band, the guys knew from the start that they had found their “missing link.”
Although The Blackwater Thieves endured many challenges along the way, these guys didn’t let any small change get in their way of doing what they love–performing and connecting to their audience. They all simultaneously agreed that the biggest inspiration of all is when they can feel the audience’s connection to what they are singing.
With upcoming shows in Nashville, Tennessee and Florence, Alabama, this charismatic, welcoming, and talented band is not one to be underestimated. Though the guys don’t know exactly where they will be in ten years, location wise, they do know one thing for certain– their love for music will never die and if they can help it, The Thieves will continue on for years to come.
You can check out The Blackwater Thieves playing live at Moe’s on October 1st and at The Green Bar on October 10th.

About The Author

Alejandra is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Journalism with a minor in Spanish and Creative Writing at The University of Alabama. When she is not busy writing or in class, she can be found all around Tuscaloosa, exploring with her tiny blue nose pitbull named Cooper.

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