Sometimes the best gifts in life are stumbled upon by accident. In the case of Hometown Strangers, this certainly reigns true. Due to the need for a live band at a local charity event, Hometown Strangers was born out of complete chance. After their initial show and the discovery of an undeniable chemistry, each member started to realize that there might be something amazing within Hometown Strangers. Something that their already established solo aspirations couldn’t match.
As a result, Hometown Strangers continued onward after their initial show, and began to book more at various venues in their area. They began to play more and more often, expanding their skills and building their fan base. As they each became comfortable within their newly found family, HTS also began writing and composing more original music. Being comprised of multiple individual artists, HTS has a wide range of influences and their song writing reflects that.
Their fans (Strangers as we call ‘em) started asking for an album. In 2020 HTS started working on their first album “To the Horizon.” They released a single and began preparing to release the full album. Unfortunately, a global pandemic would have other plans, forcing a halt on the process resulting in another single being released in place of the full album. However, as things calmed down, recording was a possibility again and in the Spring of 2022 “To the Horizon” was finally released. This album serves to show the feeling, passion, and history behind Hometown Strangers and their music.
HTS is a group of musicians who were once strangers, but now have stumbled themselves into a family. Connor Manley, Laura Mae, Tucker Ball, Bo Ritter, And Trevor Kelly are Hometown Strangers.
Since I was a young boy, I’ve been listening to country radio, yearning to hear my songs screeching through the speakers. My love for country music fully solidified in middle school, thanks to a song by Alan Jackson. After this, I began writing my own melodies, lyrics, and songs. Songwriting became an immediate love for me and it only grew stronger after I graduated from high school. Once I became comfortable with my musical ability, I began teaching myself guitar during my sophomore year of college. I then took a step towards professionalism by constructing my own recording studio (from a previously used chicken coop) and opening it up for local artists! Fueled by passion and a love for music, I wanted a standalone space in which to create music with my friends. I stumbled upon Hometown Strangers and found a connection with a band in which I never thought I would find. Being in Hometown Strangers has improved me in many ways and shown me that a family can arise from any random situation.
I am a local musician from Central PA. I began learning guitar my freshman year of high school, my inspiration coming from my Gramps. When I was little, he gave me my first acoustic guitar. It had survived a flood and was never before used due to an injury to his hand. I still remember when he told me, “If you promise that you’ll learn to play it, it’s yours.”. I gave him my word, and though it took years to find a teacher, I finally found my happy place at JW Music, and received lessons from Andrew, a highly skilled musician whom I attribute a lot of my skills to. Learning guitar opened me up to many possibilities. I’d always enjoyed writing songs, but my true writing potential blossomed as I advanced my guitar playing skills. I’d always wanted to perform solo, and with my guitar, it became possible. My start in the local music scene began by opening for bands and playing during breaks at local venues before I eventually began performing my own shows, starting right by the river. Shout out to my river rats who have been following me and supporting me since I was 16! Everyone who came to know me through my live music was regularly recommending that I join a band and, while it sounded fun, I was hesitant because I was unsure of how I would work with other musicians. Well…as fate would have it…somewhere along my journey, I teamed up with the most loveable group of hooligans to put on a show for a local charity event. HTS members have come and gone, but the bond lasts a lifetime. When Trevor and I got married, they were in our wedding! Hometown Strangers has become another home, and I am so thankful to have this special little family.
I began playing guitar in 2005 at age 11 after coming across a cassette copy of KISS “Destroyer”. Immediately, I fell in love with rock n’ roll and knew music was a path I was ready to pursue. Some of my strongest musical influences are KISS, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Tom Petty, and Creedence Clearwater Revival. Since 2014, I have traveled, playing many different genres of music at venues all over the east coast. In 2018, I joined HTS playing bass until early 2020, then rejoined the band as lead guitarist in summer of 2021.
I have always had a love for music, from long car rides, listening to Classic Rock with my Dad, to jamming out to Hall and Oats with my Mom. Throughout school I played the Alto Sax but always had an interest in learning a string instrument to eventually join a band. After high school, I spent five and a half years in the Army, where my love for music flourished. I began to understand and appreciate the different styles associated with each genre and found a particular love for Texas Country and Cajun Country. After leaving the Army, I finally fulfilled my high school dreams and purchased my first bass. I then set out on a journey to learn the instrument and additionally; find people to play music with. Through social media and a reconnection with a classmate from high school, I came full circle and found my place in a family that happens to be very close to home.
I’ve always felt like drumming was in my blood. I was raised by my Father, who was a professional drummer, so there was always a drum set nearby. He began teaching me how to play at a very young age, and I continued playing casually throughout my adolescent years. In my teens I played in a few different punk and rock garage bands. Later in life, I put all of that aside for a while and focused on other areas of my life, but music always called to me. I eventually picked up my Styx again when I was asked to back up some musicians for a charity benefit, which turned out to be a band, which turned out to be a HUGE part of my life. Unfortunately my Dad has passed, but I always feel most connected with him on stage. Becoming part of HTS has been an integral part of my life, and I couldn’t be happier to be a part of it and share the experience with my brothers (and my wife I guess).
Guitar / Lead Vocals
Guitar / Lead Vocals