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The Upbeat: Barndon Calhoon

Of the Oakland Press

Posted: Friday, June 12, 2009

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Name: Brandon Calhoon

His story: Born in Beaverton, about 150 miles northwest of Detroit, Calhoon attended Western Michigan University and Delta College — playing basketball for both — before earning an industrial technology degree at Central Michigan University. He moved to Los Angeles and Pensacola, Fla., before returning to Michigan about two years ago and currently resides in Berkley.

Sound: Rock with a gritty, bluesy edge.

Influences: The Black Crowes, B.B. King, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Humble Pie, The Band, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Gretchen Wilson, Motown.

Day jobs: Calhoon is currently “toughing it out, diving in the deep end of music” full-time. He most recently worked for Defender Tech in Clawson, which markets defense and security equipment.

What’s in a name? Yes, it really is spelled Calhoon, even though the singer-songwriter says there’s some disparity in the family. “I even have first cousins who spell their name C-a-l-h-o-u-n. We tried to track back to where the disconnect was and who changed the spelling, but we can’t put a finger on it. It’s really bizarre. Only a few of us spell it o-o-n.”

Making his name: Calhoon’s first big splash in music came in 2005, when he was a finalist on the reality show “Rock Star: INXS.” He was the seventh contestant eliminated but still enjoyed the experience. “It was fun, but it’s reality TV. You have your false hopes that it might catapult you (to stardom). I got to find out what show business was kind of about; once I got a taste of that, I didn’t want to taste it again. I decided I was going to let the music do the talking, and going that (reality show) route wouldn’t change a thing.”

Hear him: Calhoon released a five-song EP, “Detroit City,” in late 2008.

See him: Calhoon performs tonight at the Magic Bag, 22920 Woodward Ave., Ferndale. Core Effect, Gelheads and Concrete Soul are also on the bill. Doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets are $8. Call (248) 544-3030 or visit www.themagicbag.com.

Surf him: www.brandoncalhoon.com

Web Site: www.brandoncalhoon.com

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff


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