The Texas Americana/pop/bluegrass band Willow City comes to Waco to perform Saturday night at the Jubilee Theatre with more than one family thread connected to their appearance.
There’s the immediate one of members and crew: The band consists of Proch siblings Beecher, Ezra, Liza and Asa with father Tom as a roadie and mother Janet as tour manager and “merch girl,” with non-family member Cameron Tarvin occasionally joining on drums, as he will on Saturday.
There’s the thread of history: One grandmother grew up in Waco and met her husband while at Baylor University in the 1930s.
There’s the music, a family friendly mix of upbeat songs, sibling harmonies and stories that 26-year-old band leader Beecher says “cut through all this negativity around us today.”
And then there’s the television show: The Proches are one of 30 contestants in the Nickelodeon reality show “America’s Most Musical Family,” hosted by Nick Lachey, which starts this month with families vying for a recording contract, $250,000 and, well, the title of “America’s Most Musical Family.”
Willow City — Beecher on electric and acoustic guitar, 23-year-old Ezra on guitar, banjo and keyboards, 20-year-old Liza on electric bass and 16-year-old Asa on mandolin and percussion — evolved somewhat organically from the home-schooled siblings playing bluegrass and folk as they grew up. They found singing bluegrass and gospel drew a positive response wherever they sang.
As their audiences broadened, so did their interest in pursuing a band for commercial reasons, which followed Ezra’s selection eight years ago for a role in the film “Seven Days In Utopia.” They changed their name from the 4 Proches to Willow City, a tiny community near Fredericksburg where the family has lived since the siblings’ teenage years. It’s more evocative than the family name and carries a story with it, as do many of the group’s songs.
It also doesn’t hurt in the “America’s Most Musical Family” competition where it’s noted that the Prochs are “one-fifth the size of the town,” Beecher noted.
Beecher and Ezra write much of the band’s songs, drawing on their experiences on the road and in life, while Beecher points to Ezra and Asa as the band’s instrumental talents. With the expansion of their touring, they’ve also shifted their sound to add more of a pop influence.
All the Proches have an entrepreneurial side, Beecher noted: Ezra in music, Liza in visual arts, himself in denim clothing and Asa — well, music, but he’s still in high school.
It’s music that’s the family’s main interest, however, and Saturday’s Waco concert will feature Willow City’s mix of songs and storytelling, all aimed at uplifting their listeners. “Our shows are insanely high energy,” Beecher said.