Band's soul surviving bumpy road

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— A free concert series returns this weekend to rock the 'Boat with a Chicago-based band that has jumped hurdles to shine in the spotlight. While a former name continues to follow the band, it will show Steamboat's residents and tourists on the third week before the season ends that the Marty Lloyd Band has more rock 'n' soul than The Freddy Jones Band could ever muster.

Whether it was some hidden agenda or the ideal alignment of the planets, Marty Lloyd never imagined the magic of his former band could find a way to reconnect.

But after a year, the magic still was there.

All but one of The Freddy Jones Band members reunited to form a distinct style and sound like the varied chimes in the wind.

The Marty Lloyd Band has reconfigured its direction and its motives in order for those chimes to blend into a smooth wind that they enjoy.

"Musically, it's a world of difference. It's a thousand miles better than where we were," said Lloyd, vocalist and lead guitarist.

When Jim and Rob Bonaccorsi, guitarist and bassist for The Freddy Jones Band, met up with Lloyd after an uneasy break-up, the reincarnated magic created a unique twist of fate.

"Really, there's quite a story there," Lloyd said.

As the crack in the wood began to splinter The Freddy Jones Band, Lloyd, and his wholeheartedness, decided to stick it out, see it to the end and help the cracks mend.

But the vision and the energy was lost.

"I was willing to give it a go. I wanted to see it through to the end, but it became musically unsatisfying for all five members," Lloyd said.

When Lloyd realized he couldn't fix it, he ditched the relentless record label, kept writing music and followed the rainbow to find his own pot of gold.

After everyone left, he brought different people and elements into the band. Until one day, one of the Bono brothers visited Lloyd to bridge the gap that had wedged between them.

Making sure the Bono brothers and Lloyd were comfortable with the idea of starting a new band, they gave it a go. After playing at the Sunshine Bash in Chicago, Lloyd said the musical connection didn't disappear with the band's name.

"It felt so great. I'm just bouncing off the wall I'm so excited about it," Lloyd said of his new-found band and upcoming record.

And for those wondering, Freddy Jones is a fictitious character created only to screw with the fans and the media. There is no Freddy Jones, nor will there be again.

But the story's not over.

The fracture in The Freddy Jones Band began when drummer Simon Horrocks left the band for Alliance Artists, a management company in Atlanta, Ga. Horrocks now is the manager of the Marty Lloyd Band.

And there's more.

With help from producer Justin Neibank, The Freddy Jones Band released three albums. Now, Lloyd and company will be recording their first album this May under the production of Neibank again.

"Four of the five of us are working toward the same goal now. We're all pedaling in the same direction," Lloyd said. "It fragmented, fizzled out, lost its way and now I've had to go back and try it as a solo."

But Lloyd doesn't have any negative feelings toward the old band. In fact, looking at the bright future ahead is his main focus. However, a part of that future is forgiving the past.

"Within the last year, I've been writing and mending some fences. I feel like I'm throwing life preservers off the back of the boat," Lloyd said. "(The Freddy Jones Band) is my history. I want people to understand where I'm coming from. The things I'm involved in bring me to where I am now."

And where is he now? Back on the road, compiling and sorting the variety of music he has written to put on the first album - only to revel in the freedom of independence. Next time, he will choose the record label, instead of it choosing him.

Lloyd's bout with Capricorn Records has shied him away from selling his soul to a label. The band's existence will choose its own fate when the timing is right, he said.

Lloyd said his band has taken a detour from the original sounds of The Freddy Jones Band and is "dynamically more exciting."

"We're not the guitar army coming through town. It's smoother with a little more texture," Lloyd said. "I would like to keep this five-piece as long as I can, but let's cross every bridge when we get to it."

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