New Albany Has Some ‘Crazy Neighbors’

Local band takes their music to the masses.


Courtesy of Cliffy Madden

From left to right: Austin Merten, Tyler Reed, Amber Renee, Leora Nosko, Lance Sorrels and Alan Passmore

Tyler Clerkin, Staff Writer

There seems to be one thing that can bring people together and that is music.

The Crazy Neighbors is a band located right here in New Albany that was formed because everyone in the group had a passion for music.

The band consists of Amber Renee at lead vocals, Tyler Reed at lead guitar and backing vocals, Austin Merten at rhythm guitar as well as lead and backing vocals, Lance Sorrels playing drums and backing vocals, Alan Passmore playing the bass guitar and Leora Nosko playing keyboard and assisting with backing vocals.

The band made it clear that they were not tied down to any certain genre of music. The band said that they are willing to perform anything that they feel will be fun for the listener as well as fun to play. They have often been looked at as a country-rock band said Merten, but that they are much more than that.

“Where the country-rock comes from is, Amber, our lead singer,  has been a country style vocalist for a very long time, while Tyler and I have been playing rock guitar,” Merten said. “So when you take those, that is our strongest type of music, but we are not locked into just that.”

The band was formed in February of 2016. Reed put the blame of the band’s creation on Austin by saying he was the reason they were introduced to each other.

“I wanted to be in a band for quite a long time and a lot of attempts did not work out well,” Merten said. “I probably emailed Mark Maxwell at Maxwell’s House of Music probably twice a week.”

Maxwell’s House of Music is a music store located in Jeffersonville and that is where the band was able to come together.

Merten said the store offers a program called, “The Weekend Warrior Program” and that is how Maxwell was able to pick the members to form the band.

Merten said Mark was able to select four people that he thought would be able to work well together, He chose Merten, Reed, Renee and Passmore to form a band.

Passmore said his wife, Nosko, was asked to join after the band was looking for a keyboard player and had many unsuccessful interviews.

Later on, Sorrels began filling in for the band, they all agreed that they wanted to make him the permanent drummer.

Passmore, the bassist, said he had always had an interest in music but never had a background in it.

Passmore said three years ago, his wife and fellow band member, Nosko, bought him a bass guitar and he began teaching himself how to play.

“I began taking a few lessons over at Maxwell’s,” Passmore said. “Mark kept coming in and telling me that he was going to put me in a band and I was just freaked out but this is what ended up happening so it worked out.”

Some other members of the band were able to find their passion for music at a young age.

Lead guitarist, Merten said he picked up his guitar for the first time back when he was just a kid. He is currently 19 years old.

“I have been a musician for about 12 years now,” Merten said. “It is always more fun to play with a group rather than playing alone and that is something I realized over the years.”

Lead singer, Renee has been singing for quite some time now. She is currently 20 years old and said she has been singing seriously for over 10 years.

“For me, I have done solo stuff since I was really really young,” Renee said. “I just got tired of competing and performing all by myself so I feel like God brought me to these people and I couldn’t be happier.”  

Since the band has only been around for about 10 months, Renee said they have been really working on their set list and some songs of their own before diving into the process of finding places to perform.

One big part of being in a serious band is looking to perform and get their name out to more people is the willingness to travel. Renee made it very clear that traveling is not an issue.

They are ready to take on the challenge going forward.

“It just really depends on the event,” Renee said. “However far we have to go, we will be there to perform.”

Nosko wanted to make it very clear that they are not just a bar band. She wants to make sure the venues they perform at are spots that are going to be in a good environment to not only play in, but for the listener to enjoy the show as well.

It is very important to Renee and Nosko that the crowd has a great time and enjoys what they are playing. Renee said that the band has about 20 songs on their current set list and are aiming to get about 20 to 40 more. Renee said that the band always take into account whether or not the song they choose will be a song the crowd can dance, sing along and really feel the vibe of the performance.

Even though they are still a new band and have a lot to work on, Merten said the band is ready for what the future holds.

Passmore said the group has put together two music videos covering the songs “That’ll Be the Day” by Buddy Holly and “Seven Bridges Road” by The Eagles. Their first video is almost at 1,000 views on YouTube and their newest video has almost 200 views in only three days.

Passmore said the band plans to take full advantage of their YouTube opportunity. They plan on creating new videos frequently and try to help build a bigger audience.

“Our first video was just on a whim, we didn’t really know the song until we were at the place to film the video,” Passmore said. “Then when we realized how many hits we were getting, we decided we should start to take this a little more serious.”

Renee said the band is currently focusing on extending their set list and trying to book new shows.

They are active on Facebook and YouTube. Check out their Facebook page to find any updates as far as shows or new videos that have been posted.