chris1PADUCAH, Ky. (8/16/14) — Formally known from the band 'Oh Yeah, Dakota,' singer, songwriter Chris Black had different plans to where he wanted his music to go.

Black then formed a band with Adam Rader, Zack Winding and Shelby Preklas, and started calling themselves “Chris Black & the Eagles of Unemployment.”

“I started writing my own lyrics when I was 15, I tried singing and I was horrible,” said Black. “I actually played the harmonica first; I started when I was 18 or 19.”

Black remembers when he was about 15 years old, he went to Walmart and saw a cheap guitar on a shelf and asked his mom to buy it for him.

“There was this crappy guitar on the shelf for like $30, and I asked my mom if she would buy it for me,” said Black. “I got it, took it home… I had no idea how to play the dang thing. I began to tinker with it and really liked it.”

Black enjoyed playing so much; it interfered with his chores and he learned a lesson the hard way.

“I remember this one time my dad was trying to get me to do some chores and I was in my room playing the guitar… awfully,” said Black. “Then my dad came back in and told me I needed to do whatever it was he wanted me to do and I kept telling him I would do it, but continued to play. It finally got to the point where my dad told me he would cut the strings off if I didn’t get out of the bed and do my chores. Well, he lived up to his word. By the fourth or fifth time, he came in with some scissors and cut my strings.”

Black said no one in his family played music, so he didn’t realize the guitar could be restrung.

“No one in my family plays music,” said Black. “So, when my dad cut the strings, I thought the guitar was broken… forever. I didn’t realize you could buy new strings; so, it sat in my closet for four years. Then, I bought another guitar when I was 19. I joke with my dad to this day, that I might be a better player if I had those four extra years.”

After Black realized his guitar wasn’t broken, he left his factory job in Illinois and moved to Nashville and began playing and writing seriously.

“I started playing the guitar at 19 and really writing seriously at 23,” said Black. “I really didn’t like the factory job I was at, so I left Illinois and moved to Nashville. I didn’t want to be like Clint Black or Garth Brooks, I just wanted to get better… and I did.”

Black lived in Nashville for a couple years until he met a girl from Paducah and moved to be closer to her.

“After living in Nashville for a couple years, I met this girl and fell in love, then moved here,” said Black. “She ended up moving to Georgia a few years ago and we broke up… obviously. So, that’s how I ended up in Paducah.”

Black said “Oh Yeah Dakota” got started when he and some of his friends from his hometown got together and played a show.

“I have always played solo, but then ‘Oh Yeah Dakota’ got started when some friends from back home and I started playing shows,” said Black. “We swapped the guitar and bass back and forth. When I played my songs, I played guitar. It was fun and was really well perceived, but the distance made it hard for us to practice… but the music we were playing wasn’t the direction I wanted to go in, so ‘Chris Black & the Eagles of Unemployment’ was formed.”

Black said at first he was going to do both bands, but now that “Oh Yeah Dakota” isn’t a band anymore, he is focusing on the new band.

“Since I wrote a lot of the songs for ‘Oh Yeah Dakota,’ I am using those songs in the new band,” said Black. “We have some shows coming up over the next few months. We will be playing from Kentucky to Illinois to Missouri then Tennessee. We are trying to get ourselves out there.”

Chris Black & the Eagles of Unemployment are currently in the studio working on the new album that will be released in the near future.

“We should be releasing the new music at the end of this month, early Sept.,” said Black. “We are actually recording the full album now. Bandmate Shelby Preklas has a recording studio called ‘Loud and Clear Studios’ in Paducah. The new music we release will be two songs off the new album. It will be one record with 8 to 10 songs of rock-n-roll and then there will be a CD with 10 songs of what we have been calling ‘folk-hop,’ which means we are recording folk songs, but producing them like hip-hop. Kind of like we are ‘sampling’ ourselves… it’s weird, but I like it.”

Black offers his words of wisdom to those who are just getting started.

“Just practice,” said Black. “The thing is, it really sucks in the beginning and you really have to like it. Even now, I still plateau and get to the point where I feel like I am not getting any better and feeling indifferent and doing the same stuff over and over. But, the cool thing about an instrument is, there is no limit on what you can do with it. So, you’re always finding other ways of doing things, which is my favorite part about music and makes it worth it.”

For information and for listing of upcoming shows, visithttps://www.facebook.com/freedomlightningeagle.

Amber Averitt
SurfKY Lead News Reporter
Photo by Amber Averitt and video by Brittany Vasquez

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