Last updated: August 28. 2013 5:47AM - 331 Views

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The worst thing to happen to the Nace Brothers Band in a while quickly turned into the best thing to happen to them in a while. In May, bass player and fiddler Tim Williams retired after 31 years with the band, but on June 1, Paul Greenlease was on the bass and providing the other three members lead singer and drummer David Nace, guitarist Jimmy Nace and keyboardist T.J. Erhardt with fresh inspiration.



Its devastating in the fact that you think youre gonna have a revolving chair of bass players from here on out, Jimmy Nace said in a recent phone interview from his rural Warrensburg home. But luckily, thats not what happened, and me and David were both surprised.



Kansas Citys Greenlease, 43, had known the Nace Brothers (based out of K.C., except Jimmy) since 1994, but he had never imagined actually joining the band. After all, the Naces and Williams had been together since 1981 and Erhardt joined in 1996.



I always was a fan, but I never thought about joining them, Greenlease said in a recent phone interview.



Desperate to fill the fourth slot, David Nace heard about Greenleases weekly jam session at a K.C.-area bar that was known to draw bass players checking out Greenleases chops. He didnt imagine that Greenlease himself who had been touring with blues singer Samantha Fish for four years would be looking to join a new band.



Dave Facebooked me, asking if I knew any bass players who would be interested. And I said Yeah, I know one, Greenlease said with a laugh.



Wanting to spend more time close to home with his 3-year-old daughter, Greenlease found a pragmatic fit with the Nace Brothers. Whereas Fish would go on four-month international tours, the Naces are more likely to book four-week U.S. tours.



The band members agree its also been a good match musically. Fans can decide for themselves when the Nace Brothers play the first four nights of the Missouri State Fair on the Budweiser Stage, starting Thursday.



His whole approach to the bass guitar, which is dominant in any band, is the opposite of what were used to, Jimmy Nace said. His note selection is whats most surprising. For example, were playing a D but the bass player is playing an F-sharp. Paul is a thinker like that; he works chords through the rhythm section that were never there. I was so intrigued the first couple gigs that I forgot to focus on my playing.



Greenlease, who has performed in many different genres, said its fairly easy for bass players to join new bands.



Im pretty flexible; thats the nice thing about playing bass, he said. It doesnt necessarily work that easy on guitar, but with bass you pretty much show up, make it sound low in the right key, and youre in business. I can jump from one style to another, and the Nace Brothers are like that, too. Theyre hard to categorize.



Jimmy Nace is excited to get cracking on the bands eighth studio album, the follow-up to last years Well Traveled Road. He has several songs left over from a recent attempt to sell some tunes to Nashville artists.



I cant wait to take them to him in raw form and see what direction he goes, Jimmy Nace said. As a drummer, David has the biggest smile, thinking I wonder how Pauls gonna play this.



One thing missing from the new lineup is Williams fiddling skills.



Yeah, I miss the fiddle a little bit, Jimmy Nace said. But Ive been playing the harmonica a bit to make up for it. Its not the same, but its cool. Were just working with what we got. T.J. still does the squeezebox on the Zydeco stuff. Its not as Cajun, but it still works. People seem to like it.



Although the Nace Brothers are now mostly Kansas City-based (and they practice at David Naces house in Brookside), a lot of their longtime fans are in Warrensburg and Sedalia. Greenlease is looking forward to playing for those folks at the state fair.



Everybody Ive met has been great, Greenlease said. The Nace brothers and T.J. have been super, and real welcoming.



IF YOU GO



WHAT: The Nace Brothers



WHEN: 9 p.m. Thursday through Sunday



WHERE: Budweiser Stage, Missouri State Fairgrounds



ADMISSION: Free with gate admission



WEBSITES: nacebros.com, mostatefair.com


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