When CBS coined the phrase “Who Shot JR?” to pitch the continuation of the famous cliffhanger from “Dallas,” it captivated television audiences across the globe.
Rocker Jonathan Roberts is hoping for a similar reception when his band of the same name takes the stage New Year’s Eve.
Roberts, lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist for “Who Shot JR,” and his band mates will help local music fans ring in the new year Friday at Handley’s Pub and Grub, 3873 Renee Drive, Carolina Forest (http://www.handleyspub.com/).
“[Handley’s co-owner] Andrew Handley approached me a couple of months ago,”Roberts said. “ He said that slot was open and asked if my band was available.”
Handley’ s typically draws good crowds — especially on New Year’ s Eve — but this year’ s celebration is extra special.
In addition to holiday glee, sports fans will get a double dose of ACC and SEC bowl action.
At noon, Clemson takes on South Florida in the Meineke Bowl. Later in the evening, South Carolina will face Florida State in the Chick-fil-A Bowl, which kicks off at 7:30 p.m.
A self-proclaimed Gamecock fan himself, Roberts predicts an especially energetic crowd at Handley’s.
“ I made a couple quick phone calls and everyone was super pumped to play in front of a large group of people,” Roberts said. “ In my opinion, it is THE live venue for bands in Carolina Forest.”
Roberts said the band plans to hit the stage after the South Carolina game ends, but may begin early if the game turns into a rout. He also didn’ t rule out a short set during halftime.
“ We might play 20 minutes during half and then go with a full set from the end of the game,” Roberts said.
If there’ s one word that best describes “ Who Shot JR,” it’ s versatility.
Sometimes they plan as a four-piece band. Other times as a five-band. They do duos and occasionally Roberts plays solo gigs, such as his Dec. 21 show at King Kong Sushi at Broadway at the Beach.
“ That’s one thing of my band, we can cater to the budget of the venue,” he said. “ If they want a duo we can put that in there. If they want a five piece band, we can do that too.”
Roberts said fans can expect a four-piece band Friday at Handley’ s. Other band members include longtime friend Brad Dawsey on lead guitar; Damon Bradley on keyboards and Marshall Horne (owner of Stool Pigeons) on drums.
“ Who Shot JR” is one of the more popular Southern rock bands around. Their sound most reminiscent of the Dave Matthews Band, Who Shot JR culls from other rock mainstays as Led Zeppelin, The Eagles, Kings of Leon and even Bob Marley.
“ We try to play really good songs that people like listening to,” Roberts said. “ Between all of us, we know a lot of songs.”
While Who Shot JR plays a lot of covers, the band has at least five original songs in its repertoire.
Roberts said the band will likely play at least three of them Friday night, and he hopes to include them in a compilation CD tentatively planned for release in Spring or Summer 2011.
One of the most popular tunes is “ Like Heaven,” a song Johnson wrote in 2001 about personal events. It’ s one of Robert’ s favorites and can be heard on Youtube.com.
“ It’ s a song about a day in the life,” he said. “ If you listen to it, it’ s easy to follow.”
Other original tracks include “ Rising Tide,” a song about the ups and downs of a new relationship, and “ The Mirror,” which Roberts said he wrote two years ago along with his wife Ashley.
“ The Mirror” is another relationship song focusing on events in the Carolina Forest couple’ s life.
“ One of the slogans we say is good music for good people,” Roberts said “ We want the audience to see how much fun we’ re having.”
Michael Smith is the Editor of the Carolina Forest Chronicle. Please support local journalism by checking out more of the Chronicle's coverage online at http://www.thecarolinaforestchronicle.com/ and following the paper on Facebook.
See more from Who Shot JR? on Reverbnation.