The Whales is a new Denver blues, rock and Americana band that formed in 2011, following the release of Jonah Wisneski’s solo album “Lights.” Wisneski hired drummer Scott Roush and bassist Logan Muckler to perform his newly released material. The musical chemistry was so strong between the three that they decided to move on from that project to form their own band.

That band, The Whales, return to Taos for an 8:30 p.m. show Friday (Nov. 16) at the KTAOS Solar Center, 9 State Road 150, north of El Prado. There is no cover charge.

After a busy summer, The Whales are thrilled to come back to the Land of Enchantment. The band states “there is something magical in New Mexico that makes us play our best,” and they plan to return every few months. This show will feature many of their newly penned songs.  

Jonah Wisneski is the spokesperson for the band, but he makes it clear the band is not Jonah and The Whales. “The band name came from an obvious reference to my name,” he said. “At one point we had considered performing as Jonah and the Whales, but the band is truly the sum of equal parts, and I personally prefer to avoid being out in front more than anyone else. Especially considering how incredible everyone else’s contributions to the band are.”

With nearly 100 shows played this year, The Whales are finishing 2012 by headlining The Hi-Dive Denver. Next year’s plans include getting started on recording their debut studio album as well as a few regional tours.

“We plan on working even harder, writing more songs, and playing even more shows. We really believe in what we are doing, and have no intentions of slowing down. More songs, more shows, and hopefully lots of touring,” Wisneski said.

While the band has yet to release a CD, they did release three songs recently, available for streaming on their website (thewhalesmusic.com). The songs were recorded at Scanhope Sound and videos were filmed by NoCoast TV to be released one at a time leading up to their December Hi-Dive Denver show.

“Got Me Wondering” has deep-grooved heavy instrumental licks that fit its pondering lyrics while still maintaining a pop-flavored spring. “Higher Ground” plunges into deeper musical territory with fervor, coming up for air at the refrain. “Around Every Corner” shows a sweeter side to The Whales with a quieter melody and harmonies.

Wisneski picked up a guitar after listening to Trey Anastasio and Eric Clapton. This led to his study of theory, composition, and contemporary and classical guitar styles at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Drummer Scott Roush points to John Bohnam and Mitch Mitchell as his main influences. Roush studied percussion performance at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Logan Muckler was inspired to play bass by listening to Stax and Motown soul recordings. He also has an audio engineering degree from Full Sail University.

Wisneski says as a group, the trio likes to listen to bands such as The Black Keys, Wilco and My Morning Jacket, “bands that take classic and contemporary styles and sounds, combining them with incredible results.”

“In some ways, we strive for a similar approach with our music,” Wisneski said.

A concert by Taos solo artist Wil Bell takes place in the bar from 5-7 p.m. For additional information, call (575) 758-5826.

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