PA Musician Magazine
PA Musician Magazine - Cover Story - November 2022
The Dark Matter Trio –
Playing Music that Effects People in a Positive Way
By: Rachel Rocks
The Dark Matter Trio is a three-piece band based out of Harrisburg, PA. Their music is a very eclectic instrumental fusion of rock, jazz, and funk. The Dark Matter Trio consists of Jerry McGowan on 6 and 7 string guitars, Drew Hall on 4 and 5 string basses, and Kevin Gibson on drums.
Jerry started playing guitar back when he was 19 out of necessity. He was in a band with some friends, but unfortunately, they kept burning through guitar players, at the time he played keys, and he was the lead singer, but since the guitar is such an important element to any band, his friend bought him a guitar and he’s been playing guitar ever since.
At 14 Drew’s Dad bought him his first bass. His Dad forced him to take lessons, at the time he hated it, but now he is very grateful. He had an excellent teacher that made him learn proper fingering and scales, which even today helps him have great form. He loves making people dance, move, and feel the vibrations of the bass.
Kevin remembers sitting at home watching the Ed Sullivan show seeing all the different drummers on TV and he was just amazed. He watched all different types of bands, and growing up in New York City he was constantly surrounded by all kids of musicians that had a great influence on his life, including his Dad who was a Jazz Saxophone player. Kevin of course would constantly be drumming on anything that made sound, and he’ll never forget the day he got his first drum kit. He’s been hooked ever since!
The band started in 2009 as just “The Trio,” but with their love of astronomy they were always amazed by the concept of Dark Matter, which by definition: is material that cannot be seen directly, but we know exists because of the effect it has on objects that we can observe directly. Just like their music, you can’t see it directly, but you can feel it in your souls, and before you know it, you can see the effect that it has on the people around that are listening. Jerry and Drew have been in the band since the beginning, Kevin joined them back in 2015.
On October 25th, The Dark Matter Trio just released their 3rd album, “A Merry Myrtle Christmas”. It is a collection of traditional holiday melodies arranged in a non-traditional way. Every year they get asked to play multiple Christmas shows, so they figured since they took the time to arrange some of the more popular Christmas songs for their shows, why not actually record them. They started working on it, it took them a while to decide which songs to record, but they came up with the five most popular songs, and they got it done in time for Christmas. You can recognize the foundation of each song, but they put their own eclectic twist on the music to make it their own. “A Merry Myrtle Christmas” is available now for streaming and download on all of the major digital music platforms.
Just to be clear, even though they recorded a Christmas album, they play a lot more than just Christmas themed music, they’ve been writing songs for quite a few years. In August of 2011 they released “Stelliferous” their first full-length album, followed by “The Puzzle with No Pieces” in 2015. All of their music is made by music lovers for music lovers. Every song throughout their albums vary; sometimes the songs seem heavy and intense, and other times quiet and subdued. Each of their songs are a story without the obvious redundancy of words. Each album takes you on a magical mystery ride. They are hoping to have another full-length album completed sometime in 2023.
They have a very laid-back approach to their songwriting, all three of the guys contribute to the song writing aspect of each song. When one of them comes up with lick, they all build around it to create their song. Sometimes they can get together for practice and just write a whole song on the spot just by jamming their way through it, but other times it takes a while to get each piece perfect. Most of their music they like to consider structured improvisation, leaving them room to “stretch” a bit, even when they are out playing live. Throughout their songs, all three of them have solos to showcase their different instruments. They mix it up as much as possible, it helps add to the variety and the feel of the music. Ultimately, they enjoy writing music, and they thoroughly enjoy the music themselves, but when they see people liking what they are hearing, it takes things to a whole new level. A little toe tapping to the beat is pretty awesome in itself, but when you can get people up moving and dancing to the point that you can make the place shake, that’s when you know you’re doing something right!
They are hoping to get things shaking at their upcoming Christmas shows: December 3rd at Noon is the Philadelphia Christmas Village Performance, Dec. 17th the Baltimore Christmas Village Performance at 6pm, and on December 21st, it’s time for the 2nd Annual Holiday Spectacular at the Hershey Lodge. There will be a lot more details on that show soon on their website, www.thedarkmattertrio.com. It’s not too late to get them booked at your venue or private event. They also have a booking form on their website, or you can simply call Jerry at 717-554-3290.