“I said ‘You sing. You think you could learn to play a bass?’ ” Ken said. “We sat in our living room and started working on songs.”
A decade later, the duo has expanded to a quartet and will be a featured performer at this year’s Arts in the Heart of Augusta Festival, taking the Global Stage at 8 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 15.
“It’s exciting,” said Mindy Stephens. “We’ve played Arts in the Heart so many times.”
The band, which won The Augusta Chronicle’s 2010 Singer-Songwriter Contest, plays a mix of music, but Ken Stephens said he’d probably classify the band’s signature sound as Americana.
“It’s a catch-all of many sounds,” he said.
Stephens grew up listening to Johnny Cash, The Beatles and the Beach Boys. As a young adult, his tastes expanded to punk bands such as The Ramones. He said the band plans to record some of its new music, but he doesn’t have a timeline on it.
ANOTHER BAND keeping it in the family is von Grey, four sisters from outside of Atlanta and another featured performer of this year’s festival. Von Grey will perform at 5:30 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 16, before the closing ceremonies.
The four classically-trained sisters – Kathryn, 17, Annika, 16, Fiona, 14, and Petra, 12 – have been performing together for about three years. The band’s name is the sisters’ last name.
Each sister plays at least two instruments, and all four sing.
Annika said the sisters moved from classical because they like the freedom of expression when creating their own music.
“With classical music, you play everything from sheet music,” she said. “It took us a while to figure out our sound,”
They experimented with all types of music from the Red Hot Chili Peppers to bluegrass until they found their indie/pop/Americana niche, she said.
Von Grey plans to release an EP in October.
LIVINGROOM LEGENDS and von Grey are only a few of the performers taking the stage during the 32nd annual Arts in the Heart of Augusta Festival.
There are four stages with a variety of performances scheduled during the weekend, according to Brenda Durant, executive director of the Greater Augusta Arts Council.
This year’s spotlighted nation is Germany, and the Channelheimmer Oompah Band will perform during the opening ceremonies as well as other times during the weekend.
Durant said the event will be bigger this year than in the past.
“We have new food with representatives from Turkey. Spain is back, and I’ve seen their menu. It’s rocking,” she said.
Food from 35 nations will be available in the Global Village.
Also, there are more fine arts and crafts vendors
“We brought in over 100 this year,” she said.
Returning this year is Lisa Davin, a jewelry designer, who was the festival winner last year.
Other artists include painters, potters and weavers from across the Southeast.
People whose phones have Internet access can locate their favorite artist or download menus during the festival from artsintheart.mobi.
Weekend badges to the festival are $5 in advance and $7 at the gate.
For more information, visit www.artsintheheart.com.