It was about 10 years ago, give or take, when two local music buffs living along Miles Road would find their perfect pitch.
“I was a bonfire guitar guy,” Chagrin Falls resident Dave Ducas, a custom home builder who also liked to sing and play harmonica, explained.
“I have always played guitar as part of my week or my day,” added Bentleyville resident Jeff Kronstain, a sales manager for an office-supply company.
The two would meet at a clambake of a mutual friend – taking what would be their casual first “gig” together and turning it into one of the valley’s most beloved local bands.
Miles Road Band, comprised of five area musicians from all walks of life, has played anywhere from the backyard of a friend’s house to Progressive Field – and most of the town’s local establishments in between.
They will take the stage at 9 tomorrow night (Jan. 20) at the Greenville Inn, headlining for the fourth year the annual Night at the Ville benefiting the Chagrin Falls High School PTO.
“It’s just about friendships,” Mr. Kronstain, 59, said. “We meet other people and seem to find other avenues, influences and opportunities to play. The goal is to just get a gig.”
The group, known for playing an eclectic mix of classic, alternative and country rock that brings crowds to their feet, plays year-round throughout the valley, including at such venues as the Eagles Club on South Main Street, restaurants within the Chef Art Pour group, including Burntwood Tavern and M Italian, area music festivals and many more.
Band members balance their day jobs with their passion for music while amassing a local following along the way.
“People really appreciate it,” Mr. Kronstain, a father of one daughter who picked up his first guitar at age 13, said of the live music they provide.
“To have the crowd engaged and listening and seeing them really enjoy the music is the greatest reward, really,” Mr. Ducas, 56, a father of four, added. “Putting five guys in a space and creating music, whether it’s something people know or not, is just fun.
“Every time we are playing people will say, where is the Miles Road Band playing next?” Mr. Ducas said. “We have a certain following of regulars.”
Mr. Kronstain said many of those regulars have become friends, with the band also collaborating with other local artists in the area.
“What Jeff and I love doing is finding new music and putting it out there,” Mr. Ducas said.
The band especially loves when people sing along, with a recent rendition of the hit “Wagon Wheel” being a prime example.
“We provide a lot of music out there and take very short, infrequent breaks,” Mr. Ducas said, which can get tiring after a long day at work. But it’s important to say a quick hello to friends who traveled a distance to see them play, he said.
“We all have families,” Mr. Ducas said. “The goal is to try to get gigs in when we can be there.”
The band plays regularly throughout the year, practicing not as frequently, though, due to the members’ hectic schedules.
In addition to Mr. Ducas and Mr. Kronstain, the Miles Road Band is comprised of Dr. Greg Fedele, a plastic surgeon, on drums, Kevin Kruszenski, who works in banking, on lead guitar, and Matt Wheeler, an engineer, on bass.
The group is known to regularly give back to the Chagrin Falls community, especially the schools their children attend, an example being free gigs in the parking lot each year before the opening Tigers football game in support of the Boosters tailgate.
“It’s a way to give back and add value to something we are doing,” Mr. Ducas said. “You can go pick up trash after a Booster event and add value, but this is a whole lot of fun.”
Despite the many gigs throughout the year, some stand out as milestones.
Mr. Kronstain recalled the energy of their first gig post-COVID shutdown, under a tent in the parking lot of Burntwood Tavern on East Washington Street in South Russell.
“Everyone was dying to get out,” Mr. Kronstain said with excitement. “It was the first post-COVID party, and people were letting loose. I remember one girl saying, ‘I haven’t danced like this for two years!’” he said.
Mr. Ducas’ favorite venue to play is the Greenville, he said, despite it being tight quarters. “It’s so fun and local, and you always know a lot of people in the crowd,” he said.
Mr. Ducas and Mr. Kronstain also play as a duo from time to time, with an upcoming gig set for Jan. 28 at the Bummin’ Beaver Brewery in Auburn Township.
“We are doing some stuff on our own that’s fun and easy,” Mr. Ducas said. “We love those side gigs, which are eclectic.”
Looking ahead, the band has monthly gigs set at the Eagles and already is booked at the Ville this Halloween, as well as at numerous private parties and annual events throughout town.
Both agreed on what would be their dream gig moving forward.
“Whiskey Island,” Mr. Ducas said matter-of-factly.
“It’s on my list too,” Mr. Kronstain said. “We will get to that this summer.”
“Music binds our friendship,” Mr. Ducas said.