KEARNEY — K.C. Mumy keeps things pretty straightforward.
“We’re all transplants,” he said in an interview from Elkhorn, his home base outside of Omaha. “I’m originally from the Detroit area and my wife, Ali, is from the Indianapolis area. So you get the ‘Indiana’ from there. ‘Kali’ is simply our names put together — K.C. and Ali. It’s all pretty straightforward.”
Mumy fronts a country band, Kali Indiana, that plays cover songs but also includes original music on its set list.
“We play born-and-bred Nebraska music that we’ve written and recorded here in Nebraska,” he said. “We’re also playing a lot of favorite country covers. We just try to keep the party going, going all the way back to Johnny and June, up through the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s with Garth and George. And we do some of the new stuff, too.”
For readers who need last names of those country giants, Kali Indiana would be happy to create an educational opportunity.
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Central Nebraska country fans can get a taste of Kali Indiana when the band stops in Kearney for an 8 p.m. show Saturday at Copperfield’s Bar at 13 E. 21st. St.
“We even do some classic rock and we take requests, too,” Mumy said. “There’s not a whole lot we can’t do, especially having both male and female vocalists. It’s kind of a unique situation of the bands around here.”
When it comes to an education in country music, Mumy and his band mates enjoy sharing the news — and the tunes.
“Especially playing in Kearney when the university is in session, we’ve had 21- and 22-year-olds come up to us and say, ‘That was an awesome song. What song was that?’ Really? ‘That was “Folsom Prison Blues,” man,’” Mumy said. “‘But I’m glad you liked it.’”
Mumy first started listening to country music while riding in around his dad’s truck as a toddler.
“That’s where it started for me,” he said. “For so many years I heard country music. And now, after playing live music for 15 years, you can see the evolution of the influences that come when we play. We hold on to those songs that we loved playing and pretty soon new ones come along and get built into the set list. All the sudden you have a set list that was built over 30, 40 or 50 years worth of musical influences.”
Mumy boils it down to this simple fact, “We just play the stuff we love to play and that gets a good response from the crowd,” he said. “So we play it.”
From the stage, Mumy easily can tell when the crowd reacts well to a country song.
“We know its a good song when people are stomping their feet, singing along and having a party,” he said. “It can be a lot of things as long as people are having fun.”
As for their own songwriting, Mumy said they look toward the Red Dirt movement in country music, a movement that emphasizes a lot of the familiar aspects of the country musical form.
“The biggest thing that Nebraska introduced us to is the Red Dirt influence that’s going on today,” he said. “Yeah, it’s modern country music but it’s really held on to a lot of the traditional roots. Guys like Cody Johnson, Randy Rodgers, Stoney LaRue — those guys have really become more recent influences for us. We’re playing a little bit of their music on stage right now, but I think there’s a pretty close paring to our sound. We’ve loved picking up more of the traditional influences since we came out here, for sure.”
Mumy believes that country music from Nashville often blurs the lines between country, rock and even rap music.
“Red Dirt is really hanging on those roots from Garth and George and Alan,” he said. “I would really call it a continuation of ’90s country music into today. You still get some of those rock riffs, but you can actually still hear a steel guitar, you can still hear a fiddle — and we think that’s pretty cool. We like that.”