Serving the Southern Illinois University community since 1916.

The Daily Egyptian

Serving the Southern Illinois University community since 1916.

The Daily Egyptian

Serving the Southern Illinois University community since 1916.

The Daily Egyptian

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Local band hits all the right notes in returning to Carbondale

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A Murphysboro band will return to the local area to perform at Hangar 9 on Feb. 3. Murphy500 is a country music band that writes and performs original music and covers.

“It’s nice when you go to a show and you know almost everybody in the crowd,” said lead vocalist Justin Easton.

The band comprises Easton, bass guitarist Patrick Jones, guitarist John DeNosky and drummer Seth George. They began playing together locally in 2014 and then started to expand their music career. Some of the band’s original music includes Heart Strings, I Wanna Know, Last Cigarette, Carving Her Name, City Rust and Gasoline. These songs are part of their debut self-titled album.

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“We decided to kind of go down to Nashville and record a song,” Easton said. “And we kind of did that on a low budget. We did it in a guy’s house studio and it was all low budget, not good recording. But anyways, once we did that, and kind of put it out to our friends and all that started gaining a little traction, we got offered a management deal. And we ended up signing that in 2014 and they basically put a band together for us. And so the whole band has been together since 2014.”

The southern Illinois locals have been staying in the area while they are working on putting out new music. 

“Right now we’re just kind of playing shows kind of within three to four hours from home, nothing crazy right now,” Easton said. “And then we’re working on some new music and we’re working with a producer in Nashville on two songs. We’re going to kind of see where that goes and that leads to where we need to start traveling. We will [travel] but for right now, we’re just gonna play pretty close down.”

All of the members have regular jobs and take off work to travel for gigs when needed. The band members have a special connection with people who live in southern Illinois and attend many of their concerts.

“Something I would say about Murphy500 is that they are the same on and off stage,” said SIU alumni Kaitlin McWhorter, who works at Buckle. “I’m lucky to interact with them outside of the concert environment. And they actually come to shop with me where I work which is really special because a lot of times they’ll have on something that I sold them that’s cool. But other than that, they’re just true good hearted people who like to have a good time.” 

The band’s name was inspired by Easton’s hometown of Murphysboro. The main street from Hardee’s, leading down to Casey’s has a special name from locals, The Murphy500“This has been going on way before I was even alive, but basically, you just drive up downtown on Main Street. We got to come up with a name so we wanted something to do with the hometown so that’s what it ended up being,” Easton said.

On Saturday night, they will be performing covers of country music and some of their original music. Their covers vary from hits to fan favorites to please everyone who attends. Guests at Hangar 9 have to be 19 or older and pay a 5-dollar cover charge.

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“I mean, we have people from 19-year-olds to 60-year-olds that show. I mean, ever since we kind of started gaining traction, it’s been all ages, which is good,” Easton said.

McWhorter said the band is very family friendly.“Everywhere I’ve been and it’s just consequently always been an establishment where they serve alcohol. So I’ve seen younger people there. But I always find a mature lady to buddy up with and dance with. It’s a great place to go dancing. So anybody that likes to dance and sing it’s a really interactive concert,” McWhorter said.

The doors will open at 9 p.m. and Murphy500 will begin its set at 10 p.m. It will play throughout the night as long as the crowd wants until 1:30 a.m. Hangar 9 will have a cash bar and drinks will be served until 2 a.m. 

Attendees of prior concerts are waiting to welcome Murphy500 back onto the stage. The local southern Illinois area has a range of people who never want to miss live country music. 

“I’ve been going to watch Murphy play since 2019, when I transferred here to go to SIU,” McWhorter said. “So it started as a fun thing to do as a college student. I’ve now seen them probably at least five times and enjoy the fact that they play a lot of cover music of all genres, but also that they will always play their own music that they produced.”


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