CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Chaz Humley & The Effects may be known in blues circles outside West Virginia more than it is here.
The band intends to change all that Friday night with its first ever performance at Live on the Levee.
"One of the nice things is about Friday is that we are going to play 13 or 14 songs in an hour and nine of them are going to be our originals," said bass player Jim Spence. "We're going to play our new CD, front to back. We'll let them see who we are."
"To get to open for Edwin McCain is even more of a plus."
If you haven't heard of Chaz Humley & The Effects, don't feel bad. The guys - Spence, Alan Handley, Tim Coll and Scott Rogan - have been playing together just since 2009. It was a reunion for Spence and Rogan, childhood friends who played music together as boys, until Rogan's family moved away.
When Handley, also a musician friend from young adulthood, called Spence to suggest they get together to play and he'd invite a couple more musicians, Spence was delighted to see Rogan again.
"The first year or 18 months, it was just an informal get together - we'd get together and drink beers and play," Spence explained. At first, they noodled around with old rock material, particularly the Beatles.
"But then we found the blues really suited us well," Spence said. And the four realized there wasn't a lot of local blues to be found. They started playing electric blues - lots of upbeat stuff - and on a whim decided to enter their first blues competition in October 2011.
Because most competitions want original music, they took a few months to knock out some songs - and ended up coming in third place in the Appalachian Blues Competition.
More competitions have followed and in January, the band is headed for its second time to the International Blues Challenge in Memphis.
"Last year was very humbling," Spence said. "There were over 100 bands there. We learned a lot and it reflects itself in the original music we've written since that point."
At this stage in their lives - Handley is the youngest at 58 and Coll the oldest at 61 - the band members are grateful for the recognition that's come so fast.
Spence counts among the band's good fortune the notice it got this past January when it played a benefit concert for the family of a musician who had died of cancer.