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  • Writer's pictureolivia perreault

Family and Friends

An emerging indie-folk rock band, Family and Friends, is set to play in Pawtucket next Thursday on their first month-long tour in support of their recent EP. Family and Friends, originally from Athens, Georgia, is a seven-piece collective band with an eclectic blend of folk vibes, gypsy-tribal rhythms and a sense of rock n’ roll. Members include Mike MacDonald on guitar and vocals, Casey Harper on vocals, Alejandro Rios and Ryan Houchens on percussion, JP McKenzie on guitar, Tuna Fortuna on bass and Maria Kindt on viola and vocals.

Originally, the band formed over friendships that were made throughout high school as well as college at the University of Georgia. MacDonald explained how it wasn’t until after college that they started the band. He said that Athens is such a small town, so they wanted to get their sound to spread fast. Collectively, the members wanted people to experience their songs, so they decided to put their best foot forward and record an EP in a recording studio in Athens. Their first EP, “Love You Mean It”, hit soundwaves in January 2014 and their latest EP, “XOXO”, was independently released on July 17. MacDonald said that this fall tour is their longest tour to date, set to hit 20 cities over the course of about five weeks. MacDonald described their sound as indie-folk rock mixed with acoustic folk rock. He said that the fact that the band has two drummers really adds to their sound, making them stand out against other artists. During a live show, he said that the percussionists are all over the place and party on stage, claiming, “You never know what they’re going to do next.” “I recommend our music to anyone who wants to have a good time and be a part of it,” MacDonald said. “While on stage, I like to tell the audience that we’re all in one room, so forget what you’ve been doing and just let the music take over.” In the future, Family and Friends plan to continue traveling, meeting new people and doing whatever they can to stay on the road and make their dreams come true. MacDonald said that next year, the band hopes to record a new album. He explained that they currently have some songs in mind for the new album and will play a few while on tour. “It’s a steady process,” MacDonald said. “Right now, we want to write and keep moving forward. This is everything we’ve wanted to do since the beginning.” Next Thursday, Family and Friends is set to play in Pawtucket for the first time and MacDonald said that he’s “stoked.” MacDonald’s dad is from Rhode Island, so he’s excited to be able to see some of his family and bring their music to the Rhode Island scene. Family and Friends will open for the folk rock duo, The Oh Hellos, next Thursday night at The Met in Pawtucket at 9 p.m. For more information about Family and Friends visit and listen to their EP, XOXO at

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