Toledo’s Distant Cousinz have been on the local circuit for nearly a decade with no signs of slowing down. The group, Voted Best Local Band in Toledo City Paper’s annual readers poll, was thrilled with the recognition.
“We were so excited to win the Best Local Band award. We’re so thankful to be doing what we do,’’ said band leader Corey “Big C” Coley. Formed in 2008, the band got started when Coley, working with another local musician, Scott Fish, would get together at Fish’s place to play music and kick around song ideas. Bassist Kenny Hines also joined the two at the beginning.
Fish eventually left to focus on other musical projects but there are no ill feelings. “I miss Fish,” says Coley. “We still play together from time to time— doing wedding gigs and stuff like that. But he wanted to focus on his own thing, and so with the (formation of the) band, we sort of parted ways.”
A Range of Voices
The centerpiece of the diverse group are the powerful and soulful voices of Coley and Trez Gregory— a veteran singer who performed for eight years with country music duo Brooks and Dunn. A newer band member is promising vocalist Kaiden Chase, a 19-year-old graduate of Toledo’s School for the Arts who joined the group as a guitarist. “He came to us on guitar, but he’s really blossoming as a vocalist. He and I play a lot of duo gigs around town,” explains Coley. Other members of the band include Art Bishop, Del Ray Grace Jr. and Keith Ransey on drums and Kenton Davey on keyboards.
“Kaiden and I will often perform during the week at places like La Banda in Waterville, or downtown at Fleetwoods,” Coley explains. “Then on the weekends, it’s usually the full band at places like Table Forty4 and Cock n Bull— we’ve been performing there since that place opened.”
On the Up and Up
Coley is excited about the future of the band and the future of live entertainment in Toledo. “Everything is on the up and up, and we’re doing greater than ever,” he says. “Right now we’re the strongest we’ve ever been— coming up with new material. We cater to every crowd— old, young, across genres. We have something for everyone.”
With new stages and venues opening downtown, Distant Cousinz are right there, in the mix. “Downtown is on an all-time rise right now and I’m happy because we need that,” says Coley. “There are so many amazing talents in Toledo and a lot of the venues have started to flourish and get bigger. It’s really an exciting time.”
For a list of the band’s upcoming gigs,