Story by JOYANNA LOVE
Photos Contributed by NIKKI HENLEY
The music is hard to nail down to one genre, but there are obvious undertones of rock ‘n’ roll as Holler Stock Inc. plays pop, bluegrass and other styles.
“It’s a pretty wide palette,” band founder Jason Henley of Jemison said.
Holler Stock Inc. has been a consistent band for the last two years. The majority of what they play has been written by other groups. However, now that the band has established a good foundation and secured consistent practice space, Henley expects the band members will begin creating more original songs.
Henley mainly plays the electric guitar and sings.
In addition to Henley, Holler Stock includes Melissa Ianniello of Montevallo, bass player John Dent of Maplesville and drummer Franklin Hayes of Roebuck.
Deciding what to play is usually a collaborative effort, Ianniello said.
“All four of us are pretty all over the place in our music preferences,” Ianniello said.
When Henley wanted to put together a band, he turned to Craigslist to find local musicians who would be interested. Hayes is one of the band members Henley has known the longest.
He joined Henley then left to join a heavy metal band but has now come back to play with the band.
Ianniello and Henley also met on Craigslist.
“Specifically, what I was looking for was a female that could play a little bit of instrumentation, could sing and especially could kill harmonies … and Melissa is awesome at singing harmonies,” Henley said. “We just clicked.”
Ianniello also plays the keyboard and guitar.
As Henley was looking for band members, Ianniello was also looking for musicians to play with.
Finding all of the elements for the band proved to be a challenge.
Scheduling conflicts with some former members led to them leaving.
Then, Ianniello mentioned that her friend’s brother had experience playing bass. Dent came and played with the other three members.
“It just kind of clicked,” Henley said.
“It was just overnight,” Ianniello said.
She said she has enjoyed the opportunity to have other musicians to play with.
“It’s just so laid back and comfortable — we just have fun,” Ianniello said. “You learn so much from all the other people that you are working with.”
She said it also provides “good constructive criticism.”
Shortly after the band was formed, Henley was chosen as a finalist in Overdrive Magazine and Red Eye Radio’s Trucker Talent Search. As a part of the competition, he performed at the Great American Truck Show.
“It was a great experience,” Henley said.
Ianniello said about 20 people from the area went to Dallas to show their support.
“Then we went around and we played a booth for a charity,” Henley said.
The band also set up on the top floor of the house they were renting and had some jam sessions.
The band gets together almost every weekend.
Before forming Holler Stock, Henley started playing at open mic opportunities.
“Then I got laid off and I had some time where I could play some music at night, so I started booking some gigs,” Henley said.
This was shortly after he married his wife Nikki.
One of these gigs was an open jam at Courtyard Alabaster.
Musicians Henley connected with were invited to participate and play as one large group rather than solo acts.
“It was a jam,” Henley said. “I met a lot of musicians along the way.”
Later, the Henleys moved to a secluded spot in Jemison that allowed them to host jam sessions at their home.
“This valley has really become a collective for musicians that want to come and play,” Henley said.
Initially, bands played on the Henley’s deck, but now they have a stage.
Numerous musician enthusiasts with building skills showed support for the newly formed band by constructing a stage behind the Henley home after a neighbor, Roberta L. Jennings, gave permission to use the land.
“She is a song writer,” Jason Henley said.
Henley said she has been very supportive.
The band is also working on booking events, such as weddings and private parties.
Henley and Ianniello agreed that playing random gigs at bars is “the most fun.”
Ianniello said each of the members of her family played an instrument or sang.
“It was just something that was there,” Ianniello said.
Henley said his enjoyment of music was influenced by his grandfather and his uncle.
“I always liked music, but when I heard Guns N’ Roses ‘Appetite for Destruction’ I realized I wanted to learn how to play guitar,” Henley said.
Now that the band has an established core, they call in friends who play specific instruments that they want for a particular song, such as some who play the pedal steel guitar.