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Mount Airy-based band The Reagan Years performs at inaugural ball

Mount Airy-based band The Reagan Years performs at inaugural ball

For the past 20 years, Mount Airy band The Reagan Years has kept the 1980s alive, covering the best and lost hits of the decade. On Thursday night, though, it was less about their namesake President Reagan and more about President-elect Donald Trump as they performed in Washington at the All American Inaugural Ball celebration.

Despite the name "The Reagan Years," bassist Jody Lewis says the band takes an apolitical stance in the public eye. He said they were honored to have the opportunity to perform as a celebration of America.

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"To me, it's just an honor to be a part of the democratic process," Lewis said. "We're not politically affiliated, and some people just can't comprehend that, but it's the truth of the matter. We're not here to backup any protests or fly in anybody's face."

In fact, Lewis said, the band has been angling for the inaugural ball gig since before Election Day, when the winner was still in doubt. He said the band's name is designed to remind people of the culture of the era, and not as an endorsement of the former president.

"We used to say, 'No voodoo economics, just good music,' to clarify that whole point," Lewis said. "We didn't want to tag our name to a piece of clothing. 'The Reagan Years' just seemed to represent the time period."

The band first formed in 1996, dedicated to the music of the 1980s. Their repertoire includes genres as varied as pop, rock, new wave and heavy metal; Lewis said the music of the '80s has as much of a draw for audiences today as it did two decades ago when they were getting started.

"We like to say that our demographic is everyone from 21 to 79," Lewis said. "We went to Spain and everyone knew the music. We went to Germany and everyone knew the music. We went to Panama and everyone knew the music. You could go to South Africa and play radio rock from the '80s and most people there are going to know the music."

Lewis said that although the group has performed internationally, the inaugural ball represents one of its most prominent performances. He said the group's been chasing the idea of performing at an inauguration for a long time, with the inaugural ball performance crossing off an item on the band's bucket list.

The ball, designed as a tribute to American heroes who sacrifice for the behalf of others, will also feature appearances by astronaut Buzz Aldrin, Beau Davidson, comedian Dan Nainan and others.

The Reagan Years will stay in town for the inauguration, following up their performance at the All American ball with a concert at the WMAL Inauguration Celebration in McLean, Virginia, on Saturday.

jacob.denobel@carrollcountytimes.com

410-857-7890

twitter.com/Jacob_deNobel



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