These days, Shanholtzer, 18, and Kemmerer, 19, are getting lots of recognition as part of Joe Taxi, a trio that along with guitarist Christian Lopez, 17, is billed as folk rock.
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Joe Taxi played at Vans Warped Tour at Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, Md., last month, and also had a gig at the 9:30 Club in Washington, D.C. But all three band members agree they are looking forward to two performances in their hometown of Martinsburg at Berkeley County Youth Fair, 2419 Golf Course Road. The fair opens Saturday and continues through Saturday, Aug. 11.
The trio opens for country music singer David Nail at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 8, and will be featured performers at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 11.
"I've been going to the Youth Fair since I was a kid, so this is a really big deal for me," said Shanholtzer, who is going into his sophomore year at West Virginia University.
This year is the first time the band had been part of the fair's lineup.
Shanholtzer, a bassist, said Joe Taxi came about a little more than a year ago. He and Kemmerer had recently been in a punk band, but decided to get together with Lopez to form the New American music band.
Lopez, who is the band's guitarist and vocalist, made it to Hollywood Week last winter as a contestant on "American Idol." Shanholtzer said he met Lopez a half-dozen years ago during a local talent show. Lopez and his then-8-year-old brother performed an AC/DC cover, "and here was this 11-year-old kid just shredding it. (His playing) blew me away," he said.
The guys said they hope that the recognition they got this summer will help them move on to bigger venues. That effort has been helped by social media. Shanholtzer said after their experience at Warped, "a lot of people found us on Facebook. It's cool when people you don't already know appreciate your music," he said.
The 9:30 Club gig was also a great way for the musicians to hone their act.
"Their sound is top quality, and (the venue) is so prestigious. The whole thing was surreal," Lopez said.
Kemmerer said beyond playing the fair, he is looking forward to Joe Taxi's Saturday, Sept. 8, show at Pickin' in the Panhandle in Hedgesville, W.Va. Shanholtzer is excited about the gig as well, noting that there are many big-name acts coming to the annual bluegrass festival.
"To be able to play alongside of them is a great honor," he said.
Lopez said name recognition is a priority.
"We just wanna get our name out there," he said. "We've been playing every weekend, and we're just working on getting better and better."
Kemmerer, drummer for Joe Taxi, said, "I really want to be on the road," he said. "My dream is to go national, obviously, but you gotta start somewhere."
The band has recorded their first single, "Will I See You Again," and Lopez, who is a rising senior at Martinsburg High School, said he hopes to get back to the studio.
"We want to rack up some money to do some more recording," he said.
Making contacts in the biz is another priority for Joe Taxi, Shanholtzer said.