Key of Three
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Key of Three

Grants Pass, Oregon, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2014

Grants Pass, Oregon, United States
Established on Jan, 2014
Band Americana Acoustic


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Key of Three is a Semi-Finalist at Rising Stars"

By Laurie Heuston
Mail Tribune

Posted Mar. 19, 2015 at 10:00 AM
Updated Mar 19, 2015 at 7:06 PM

One of the best aspects of South Stage Cellars' Rising Stars music competition — and there are many — is that the annual event places original music from emerging and adept musicians at the forefront.
This year, the competition showcased not only Medford and Ashland soloists and groups, but also talent from Klamath Falls, Jacksonville and Northern California.
Key of Three, from Grants Pass, is all about original music. Music — with four songwriters in the band — that eludes definition.
"Every one of us is a songwriter," says guitarist Mike Smith. "When I joined the band less than a year ago, I had to learn about 40 of its songs, and so far the band has learned six of mine. One of us will come into rehearsal with a basic song, and we'll play it until we get to know it. Then we add parts that make it sound dynamic. We work the hardest on the vocal tracks. The vocals are really the sparkle on our songs."
The group will contend for a slot in the finals during Rising Stars' fourth semifinal round at 5 p.m. Saturday, March 21, at Redmen Hall, 110 S. Third St., Jacksonville. It will match its talent and strength against the T.J. Elton Band and alt-country and rock duo The Brothers Reed.
A panel of three judges — including Britt Festivals' President Donna Briggs — will be a factor in choosing the winner, but audience members can purchase votes for $5 to help their favorite band get to the finals.
Admission to the semifinal round costs $10, and tickets can be purchased at South Stage Cellars, Music Coop in Ashland or by calling 541-899-9120. All proceeds will benefit LifeArt, a youth suicide prevention program that provides teens with creative outlets.
Key of Three founding members, guitarist John Eyler and vocalist Heide Eyler, worked together for 10 or 15 years as a folk duo, Smith says. When guitarist Don Howell joined them, they became alt-folk band Key of Three. Bassist Debra Lawton came on board, and the group recorded "Wonderland" in 2012.
When Howell left for San Diego last year, Smith moved into the vacant spot.
"I'm a rock musican," Smith says. "So the band expanded the alt-folk sound to include alt-rock. I also play banjo, mandolin, baritone guitar and ukulele. We haven't worked the mandolin and ukulele into our songs yet, but it's on the horizon. I think I scared them a little by bringing the banjo in while we were working on this alt-rock thing, but it fits certain songs and changes our music dramatically.
"The thing about original music is that there's no reference point," Smith says. "Part of the excitement is that original music is created from scratch. John and Debbie are poetic, storytelling songwriters, I write about life in general, and Heidi's songs are a combination of poetry and mystical ideas."
Smith was a member of Grants Pass rock trio Mr. J for 13 years. He recorded two albums, "No Ordinary Moments" and "Cool Revolution" with the group.
"There's a couple of people out there that bought those records," Smith laughs.
"Key of Three is going to play a set of its best stuff Saturday. There will be everything from a straight-ahead country song called 'Sunshine' to a rock 'n' roll song called 'Mexico.' " - Medford Mail Tribune

"Will a Grants Pass Band be Rising Stars for a Third Year?"

By Kathleen Alaks of the Daily Courier

Two Grants Pass-area musical acts are among the 12 semi-finalists in this year's Rising Stars competition.

The semi-final rounds start Saturday at Redman Hall in Jacksonville and continue Saturdays through March 21.

Rising Stars is a regional band competition, in its fourth year, that benefits regional nonprofit organizations.

"It supports local musicians and supports a local intimate nonprofit. This is a very local event," says Porscha Schiller, the director of marketing and events for South Stage Cellars, which sponsors the event.

Grants Pass groups won the past two Rising Star contests, the Matt Hill Band in 2013 and Cee Cee James in 2014.

This year's Rising Stars benefits LifeArt, a program that gives teens a creative outlet for expression while struggling with grief or depression.

This year's bands were selected by committee from audio entries sent in from around the country, Schiller says.

Three groups will perform at each of the four Saturday shows. A winner will be selected each week by a combination of judges choices and popular vote.
The four winning acts will advance to the final round, which will be held March 28 on the enclosed Britt Festivals stage. The finalist will be chosen by popular vote.

Voting proceeds, as well as the cover charge to each event all will benefit LifeArt.

The Grants Pass groups in the semis are Key of Three and the Mercy Duo.

Key of Three, with John and Heidi Eyler, Mike Smith and Debra Lawton performs all original, all acoustic music that runs the gamut of genres.

"It's all about the songwriting," John Eyler says. They will perform songs written by all four band members at the March 21 semi-finals.

The Mercy Duo, with longtime Grants Pass resident Dave Day and Lynda Morrison, will play acoustic soul, rock and blues on March 14.

The other groups in the competition are:

• Singer, songwriter and guitarist Mikaela Gomberg of Medford.

• Michael Quinn and Cherry Wine, a contemporary country songwriting trio from Klamath Falls.

• The Evening Shades from Medford, playing indie rock, progressive rock and pop.

• Singer songwriter Darrin Wayne of Central Point playing outlaw country.

• Intuitive Compass, from Applegate, playing original Vaudevillian folk.

• Danielle Kelly Soul Project, from the Ashland area, performing Motown, oldies and soul.

• Live-looping artist Ryan Marchand, of Mount Shasta, Calif.

• The indie folk trio Kites and Crows of Ashland.

• Singer songwriter T.J. Elton of Jacksonville, playing a mix of R&B, country and rock.

• The Brothers Reed, an indie folk pop duo, with guitar-playing siblings Aaron and Phillip Reed from Ashland.

The winner will take home $1,000 in cash, interviews with the Medford Mail Tribune and Southern Oregon Magazine, studio time with an engineer from Blackstone Audio, performances at five wineries, the Bella Union, and at the downtown Art and Sound event in Medford as well as other venues.


Reach reporter Kathleen Alaks at 541-474-3815 or

See the stars

• WHAT: Rising Stars 2015 Semi-Finals

• WHEN: Saturdays, Feb. 28-March 21, 5 to 8 p.m.; doors open at 4 p.m.

• WHERE: Redman Hall, 110 S. Third St., Jacksonville, not handicapped accessible

• TICKETS: $10 per night. Sold at South Stage Cellars in Jacksonville, Music Coop in Ashland, or call to reserve

• LIBATIONS: Wine, beer, soft drinks and food available for purchase

• INFORMATION: 541-899-9120

• LINEUP - Local bands in bold:— Feb. 28: Mikaela Gomberg, 5 p.m.; Michael Quinn and Cherry Wine, 6 p.m.; The Evening Shades, 7 p.m. Sold out.

— March 7: Darrin Wayne, 5 p.m.; Intuitive Compass, 6 p.m.; Danielle Kelly Soul Project, 7 p.m.

— March 14: Ryan Marchand, 5 p.m.; Kites & Crows, 6 p.m.; Mercy Duo, 7 p.m.

— March 21: T.J. Elton, 5 p.m.; Key of Three, 6 p.m.; The Brothers Reed, 7 p.m.

• FINALS: The finals will be March 28, with four finalists performing to a crowd on the enclosed stage of Britt Festivals. Tickets are $12; call South Stage Cellars, 541-899-9120. - Grants Pass Daily Courier


Still working on that hot first release.



Key of Three offers the audience a wide musical pallet from Americana to Prog rock while touching on country, latin and reggae themes along the way. The strength of the band starts with lush vocals, as every member has lead vocal chops that power the dynamic three and four part harmonies the band is well known for. The band uses these vocals is every combination to provide a wide variety of sound that matches perfectly with the wide variety of instruments; guitar, bass, banjo, mandolin, ukulele, & a very unique custom baritone guitar called Bari White. The band is now in its sixth year; Mike Smith and John and Heidi Eyler are the "Three" with Debi Lawton on board for bass and vocals. For larger concerts the group has several top flight percussionists available - prefessionals we use often for studio work. The group can perform as a duo - Mike and John, as a trio add Heidi, and Debi is always in the mix.

Band Members