Happenstance is (from left) Alex Peterson, Nathan Ash and Lindsey Wolfford.
The singer of Happenstance casually strums her guitar, long hair covering her features as she looks down, flowing dress hearkening back to a twirling Stevie Nicks in 1975. With his wild mane and colorful attire, the guitarist conjures up a Lenny Kravitz-style demeanor.
As the trio begins to play, the two singers harmonize beautifully as they cover Simon and Garfunkel’s “Homeward Bound.”
No, this isn’t footage from a 1960s performance in front of a state capitol. These are three Edwardsville-based young people who just may have been born a few decades late.
“My mom raised me on the Mamas and the Papas, KC and the Sunshine Band, and Bob Seger,” says Lindsey Wolfford, 19, who plays guitar, mandolin and bass and sings lead vocals. “In middle school, I was in a youth rock group. That is where I met Alex, and we started doing acoustic music together.”
Alex Peterson, 20, plays guitar.
“Around fourth grade, some friends and I decided to just start a band,” Peterson said, laughing. “We didn’t know what we were doing, but over time I really got into the music.”
Focusing on the classic rock genre, the duo had been playing together for about a year when they came across Nathan Ash, a Southern Illinois University Edwardsville student with an extensive musical background.
“My family is really musical,” Ash, 20, said. “As I got older, I got involved with drama club and started doing musicals. I joined choir my sophomore year and worked on my singing technique.”
With the addition of the new singer and percussionist, the trio christened itself Happenstance in March 2013 and began making appearances around the Edwardsville area. Wolfford says they enjoy the challenge of taking a rock song and transforming it into an acoustic number.
“We do A-Ha’s song ‘Take on Me’ with a guitar solo replacing the synthesizer bridge,” she said.
In addition to classics from the Beatles, Dusty Springfield, Pink Floyd and Fleetwood Mac, the group also performs more contemporary numbers from Coldplay, Imagine Dragons, Mumford & Sons and the Foo Fighters.
“You know, we need to do more Monkees,” Wolfford says thoughtfully as they take turns listing the bands they cover. “We do ‘Pleasant Valley Sunday’ and it is always so much fun.”
Wolfford says because her roots are so strongly in the past, she depends on the guys to go through modern music and find the “gems in the rough.”
“There is some really good newer stuff that still has that vintage spice to it,” Ash said.
All three say they want to make a career out of music.
The group recently performed at the Edwardsville Unplugged event at the Edwardsville City Park celebrating Earth Hour, and will have gigs this spring and summer at the Edwardsville Farmers Market and the Stagger Inn Again (dates forthcoming).
For what it’s worth (another classic song the trio performs, by the way), more information is available at www.happenstanceband.com.