Story by Jennifer Ray, Editor-in-Chief
The World Ag Expo has been known to bring people together from every corner of the agricultural industry. This could not be more true for up-and-coming country rock band, Chaparral and agriculture advocacy group, I Love Farmers … They Feed my Soul. The two will join forces again on November 10 at SLO Brewery in San Luis Obispo, Calif.
“In 2011, we were promoting a concert at the World Ag Expo in Tulare, Calif. and shared a tent with the I Love Farmers organization. Sharing stories and believing in the same cause brought our two groups together,“ vocalist, Martina Otterbeck said.
Chaparral’s music is deeply rooted in the agricultural lifestyle. Band members grew up in the Central Valley of California, with the exception of Ben Watts, the electric guitarist from Australia. Agriculture has influenced all band members and the music they write, record, produce and play.
“I think agricultural roots have given me a work ethic. I am constantly working on writing new songs and thinking of ways to improve our music. It has also given me a location to base most of my songs out of. Our music is the story of regular people living in agriculturally rich towns. Even though all the songs are not specifically about ag, the influence is ALWAYS there,” member, Joseph Costa said.
“Agriculture is my way of life and has molded me into the person I am today. The songs we write and sing tell a story that reaches out and touches people, reminding them of their roots. Ag has a funny way of doing that,” Otterbeck said.
Since the two groups met in February of 2011, Chaparral has been sporting the I Love Farmers attire and helping the young catalysts spread the word about agriculture. I Love Farmers is an all-volunteer, non-profit organization dedicated to starting conversations about food and farming, and sharing a passion for agriculture. You can bet the I Love Farmers group reciprocates this support by promoting Chaparral shows. Chaparral will play their first headliner concert at SLO Brewery on November 10 at 7:00 p.m.
This is not the first time Chaparral has played in the San Luis Obispo area, but it will be their first time as the closing act. The band has opened for Shooter Jennings, the Josh Abbott Band, Gary Allan and Montgomery Gentry. This past summer, they opened for Eric Church at the California Midstate Fair. The band said all of the shows were “out of this world, amazing,” but they are looking forward to their “chance to close out the night.”
“SLO Brew is our favorite venue to play and one of the biggest reasons is how energetic the crowds are,” Costa said.
Otterbeck agreed, “The fans make our world go round. Also, the fact that we are headlining at this venue is epic!”
Luke DeGroot is an I Love Farmers board member and Cal Poly Agribusiness major, minoring in music. DeGroot is also looking forward to the show.
“The friendship [I Love Farmers has] with Chaparral is exciting because they represent so much of what ILF is passionate about. Chaparral is not afraid to show their country roots and love for farmers, and they have a good time doing it! I’m excited for the show because Chaparral makes great music and they make every performance a lot of fun. Hope to see you there,” Degroot said.
Chaparral is a big supporter of the I Love Farmers movement, “because [they] believe in agriculture. The future of the world is in the hands of those who grow our food. … There are so many people in the world that have a false view of farming and I Love Farmers is making a huge impact by informing these folks on what is REALLY going on,” Costa said.
Otterbeck believes the I Love Farmers message is especially relevant in California.
“Being a country music artist from California, I am often asked if our state is all about Hollywood and surfboards. People have no idea the agricultural impact our state has on this nation. I Love Farmers is out to make a statement as well as educate all those who will listen. I dig that,” Otterbeck said.
Remember, their headliner show is November 10 at 7:00 p.m. at SLO Brewery in downtown San Luis Obispo. Tickets are on sale now on the SLO Brew website. Tickets are $8 online and $10 at the door. Must be 21 or older to attend. Buy your ticket before they sell out! You can show your support for I Love Farmers by wearing their apparel to the show or purchasing it there.
Want to know more about this cool band? Here’s an excerpt from my interview with husband and wife, Joseph Costa and Martina Otterbeck:
How did the band come together?
JC: Martina and I met through a mutual friend who knew we were both in music. I was in a different band at the time and Martina was new to music, sitting in with bands here and there. From the moment we first heard each other, we knew we had to start a project. I called up my best bud from high school, Jeremy, to play bass and we eventually found Jake to play electric guitar, who had gone to high school with Martina. Ben produced and engineered our first record and shortly after graduating Musician’s Institute, joined us as lead guitarist. Zach is our newest band member and was recommended to us by a good friend of the band.
How would you describe your sound? Or how have others described it?
JC: This is always the toughest question for bands. At our core, we are a country band. We live just down the road from Bakersfield and the music from that area has definitely shaped us. At the same time though, our guitarists are heavily influenced by rock especially from the 70’s and 80’s. To put it in a nutshell, if Merle Haggard’s music and AC/DC’s music had a baby you would have Chaparral’s Sound.
MO: Wow. That’s clever, Joseph!
Describe your favorite crowd to play for.
MO: Favorite crowd to play to? ALL of them. If there are only 5 people in the crowd or 5,000, they came to see a show. To be lifted up by music. What more could you ask for?!
Your first album was “California Line” and was released in 2011. Your second album was “Lost and Found” and was released in 2012. Any plans for a new album?
JC: Well, from the track record, one would assume a new album in 2013 and you would be right!!! We have already started to record a new album and are extremely excited about it. We don’t have a time of release set just yet, but I think its safe to say it will be out around summer 2013.
MO: Stay tuned. This record is going to blow some minds.
What does the band like to do for fun?
JC: We play music for fun!
MO: Just your normal group of 20-something-year-olds. We enjoy hanging out, BBQ-ing, watching a good game of football, etc. On the road, we always travel with a volleyball, frisbee and a rubber bouncy ball to keep ourselves busy!
What are your goals for the future of the band?
JC: A platinum record and a stadium tour.
MO: Yeah, what he said!
Anything else you would like to add?
CHAP: To all those who support original music, THANK YOU. We are nothing with out you.
Visit the Chaparral website to learn more and enjoy free previews.