Over the years we’ve been really blessed in having folks appear like magic in our track room and they just become family, always showing up for our Open Filks and even helping us entertain between resetting the track room.

Our Fan Performer Groups this year really do fall into this category, and we love that we can highlight them by giving them their own spots in the schedule this year, along with having David Hewitt (Foot Pound Force) and Jared Claxon MC our Filk Comedy Music Showcase on Friday Night.

Foot Pound Force

Insano inspects the MashtunFoot Pound Force is a group that is described by its members as a Nerd Rock band, and these guys really are nerds. Hailing from the Rocket City of Huntsville, AL, they can make the claim that they really are rocket scientists; when they are not busy rocking out they keep their skills honed and bills paid with their engineer day jobs. First formed in 2007, they have been playing, writing and recording songs about video games, breakfast foods, nerd humor, craft beer, mad scientists, sci-fi, fantasy, computers, hackers, role playing games, 80’s and 90’s nostalgia, cartoons, action figures, and many other esoteric topics.

Their sound has been described as a diverse and geeky oscillation of rock, cow punk, R&B, funk, jazz and many other crazy tangents. Their influences range from Weezer to MC Chris with a sprinkling of They Might Be Giants, Primus, The Sword, and all kinds of classic rock.

The band consists of original founders Brandon Whitworth on drums and David Hewitt on bass and vocals as well as recent addition Kenneth Barnes on guitar and vocals. 95% of the time they perform as a three-piece, but they are sometimes joined by co-founder Matt Barron on guitar and vocals when he can make it from his home in Chattanooga, TN. All of the members contribute to songwriting, recording and production. Some members have also been known to produce a barrel or two of good craft beer.

Recent notable shows have been at many of Huntsville’s emerging craft breweries as well as Con Kasterborous (2014 and 2015), NASA on the Square 2015, Rocket City NerdCon 2014, Chattanooga Mini Maker Faire 2014, Nashville Mini Maker Faire 2014, and finally the DragonCon Filk Track (2013 and 2014). Foot Pound Force introduced themselves to the Filk Track by joining in on the Open Filk at DragonCon 2012.

Website: http://www.footpoundforce.com
Twitter: @FootPoundForce
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/FootPoundForce

Gray Rinehart

GWR-TLMB-TroubadorGray Rinehart may be the only person to have commanded an Air Force unit, written speeches for Presidential appointees, had music on “The Dr. Demento Show,” and been nominated for a Hugo Award.

Gray is a Contributing Editor (the “Slushmaster General”) for Baen Books, and his fiction has appeared in Analog Science Fiction & Fact, Asimov’s Science Fiction, Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show, and elsewhere. He is also a singer/songwriter with two CDs of mostly science-fiction-and-fantasy-inspired songs: 2013’s Truths and Lies and Make-Believe and 2015’s Distorted Vision. His story, “Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust, Earth to Alluvium,” was a finalist for the 2015 Hugo Award for Best Novelette.

Gray fought rocket propellant fires, refurbished space launch facilities, commanded the Air Force’s largest satellite tracking station, and did other interesting things during his rather odd US Air Force career. Gray’s alter ego is the Gray Man, one of several famed ghosts of South Carolina’s Grand Strand, and his web site is http://graymanwrites.com.

Count Jared

jaredStraight from the crypt to a stage near you comes Count Jared! The Count has been rocking his accordion and infecting people with his music all over the country. Singing songs ranging the gamut from Pokémon zombies to MST3K he’s sure to leave you laughing and keep you rocking with his heavy accordion beats. When he isn’t performing solo or with his band, The Gekkos, Count Jared can be found visiting haunted houses and graveyards in his YouTube series “Ooky Spooky Places”.