Salem band breezes home to get away from the party

By John Benson

There’s a familiar breeze back in the Youngstown area in the form of Salem rock act The BreezeWay, which for the better part of the last decade has called Nashville home.

Less than two years ago, the quartet returned to the Buckeye State. You can see the group — Roy Henceroth (vocals, guitar), Jesse Henceroth (drums), Mike Bowlin (bass) and I.R. (vocals) — in action Saturday at The Side Door in Salem.

“We’re a rock band and do a lot of rap elements and country elements,” said Jesse, a 2000 United Local High School graduate. “We’ve been a band for 15 years. We just released a couple of singles on iTunes. The songs ‘Sing It’ and ‘Believe’ feature I.R., who is a local rapper who really hasn’t done that much but he’s really talented. We’ve been told we sound like a cross between Gin Blossoms,Everclear and Beastie Boys.”

In talking to Jesse, it appears the band’s focus — like its music — is a bit scattered these days. Despite the fact he says The BreezeWay has a following of fans in Europe, where the group has toured twice, there’s a sense the group is in transition. The outfit, which is known for songs such as the punk-based “Drunk Cupid” and mellow “Big Time,” didn’t achieve its dreams of stardom in Nashville.

A small fish in a big pond may have been The BreezeWay’s experience in the Music City, but the Henceroth brothers did find success working as producers with the seemingly non-stop influx of singer- songwriters coming to Nashville. Now they’re hoping to parlay that experience into a career.

“In Nashville, we ended up going to the School of Audio Engineering, where we kind of got into the behind-the-scenes stuff with music,” Jesse said. “Now we wanted to come back and get away from the party. So my brother and I are taking classes at the Kent State University Salem Campus. We’re kind of taking a little break from music in some ways like touring.”

While Jesse said band enjoys playing music, ultimately he’s hoping his future includes working with local bands on the rise.

“I’d like to find more bands to produce in this immediate area,” he said. “That’s what kind of drew us back. There might not be as many places to play, but there’s so much talent in this area in Northeast Ohio.”

It sounds as if Jesse is hoping to become Northeast Ohio’s go-to producer for up-and-coming bands.

He said, “That would be nice, for sure.”