Though still young, The McLovins’ ID is a sure thing

By Leslie Rosenfield

At 16-years-old, most high school sophomores are more concerned with after-school sports and gearing up for that highly anticipated driver’s test, but that’s not the case with Hartford, Conn. band, The McLovins. This band is comprised of three members: Jason Ott – Basslovin, Jake Huffman – Drumlovin and Jeff Howard – Axlovin. The McLovins may be rather new to the Western Massachusetts area, but surprisingly, this trio has performed over 125 shows. That includes appearances at festivals Mountain Jam, Strange Creek, Gathering of the Vibes and Nateva this past summer. This past fall has also been a great run for these guys playing 10 shows around Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont with upcoming shows right around the corner, including a stop at the Iron Horse in Northampton on Saturday, Jan. 29 at 10:00 p.m. The boys definitely held their ground and made a name for themselves in the rock and jam band scene, and they are still in high school.

While they don’t have many original songs, they are a talented cover band and feature the works of the Rolling Stones and one of their biggest influences, Phish. Jason, Jake and Jeff look and sound like they have been playing together for 10 plus years, and certainly exude the skills of great musicians like Phish lead guitarist Trey Anastasio, Les Claypool and Police drummer Stewart Copeland, all of which are very hard bands and musicians to cover. Technically it takes a lot of time, practice and effort to produce music the way these youngsters do. They definitely have spent the time learning the tough riffs, bass slaps and drum solos of their mentors. If you have ever seen or heard Phish play, then you know that Trey’s fingers move quickly up and down the frets making you think, “Is this really humanly possible?” while Mike hits the bass with swift plucks and forcible funk beats and Jon Fishman keeps the whole band on pace with his elaborate drum kit.

To cover a rock or jam band is a hard feat, but The  McLovins have shown they have what it takes. They first popped up on YouTube when they filmed themselves covering one of Phish’s most popular and technically challenging songs, “You Enjoy Myself,” more commonly known as “YEM.” It is hard to believe that the guys in the video are still in high school and show a technical skill, flow and a demeanor beyond their years. Another video that floored fans was that of yet another Phish song, “Harry Hood,” which has over 39,000 hits on YouTube. The song allows these boys to show that they too have the valiance to exhibit the staccato style of music, where the notes are not connected and are detached to allow flow and improvisation throughout the jam – something that comes with chemistry within the band. The  McLovins, like Phish, the Stones and Led Zeppelin, do not just find inspiration in one genre of music.

The  McLovins show through their music that they gain knowledge and motivation through the stylings of funk, soul, rock and progressive music.

What’s unique about the  McLovins, though, is that they have been making a name for themselves for a little over two years and already sound like a tenured jam band. As a result of all their success and lovin’ from fans, they landed a record deal with Triple J Records and recently recorded a new song with lyrical genius Tom Marshall and Rocker Anthony Krizan, called “Cohesive.” Hopefully that tune will be busted out this coming Saturday when The  McLovins will be rocking in Northampton.

Tickets are available in advance online at for $8 and $10 at the door.

Leslie Rosenfield can be reached at [email protected]