*This is part of our State Of The Art series, showcasing bands every Monday from the featured State*
This month’s State is South Carolina!
State of the Art: South Carolina just got unexpectedly very, very personal with a band that I have listened to long before I started writing for MN. From Columbia, SC, I give you hard rockin’ Osara…
Originally a cover band, Osara was officially founded back in 2013 by Colton Beasley on vocals/guitar, Seth B. Boone on the kit and Ethan Gibbons on the big strings with that addition of Dallas Dwight on guitar soon after inception. With an energetic stage presence and influences ranging from Alter Bridge and Of Mice and Men to classics like Iron Maiden, Led Zeppelin, Van Halen and many, many others, Osara was able to successfully fund a trip to the studio after a 30-day Kickstarter campaign in late 2013. By January 2014, their debut EP was completed at Black Dog Sound Studios in Stone Mountain, GA by Ken Lanyon and award winning, platinum producer Rick Beato of Shinedown, Crossfade and Needtobreathe fame. As bright as the immediate future appeared, almost exactly one month later, everything changed.
In February 2014, vocalist Colton Beasley was diagnosed with Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis (ADEM), a potentially, life threatening swelling of the brain and spinal column. This is an extremely rare condition that occurs in about one in 250,000 people each year, 80%+ being children under the age of ten and usually following a severe bacterial infection or in rare cases, a vaccination. Essentially, the spinal fluid around the brain and spine strips the myelin (the coating around nerve endings) which causes the body’s immune system to become confused and attack healthy cells in the brain and spinal column that results in fever, headache, confusion, vomiting, seizures and in rare, more severe cases, coma. I know all of this as clearly as a recurring nightmare because my son (then eight) was there a couple of years ago. Like Mr. Beasley, my son suffered the worst form of ADEM and slid into a coma. The details of Colton’s condition is not clear but I will share my experience in an effort to give some first hand perspective on the severity of ADEM. My son was in a coma for about two weeks. During that time, he quite breathing because nerve paths from his brain to his lungs were cut, requiring him to temporarily need a ventilator. Because there is no pattern for the areas of the brain/spine being attacked, what we were going to be left with once he came out of the coma was in constant question. After he came out of the coma, intense physical therapy was required for almost six months where basic motor skills like walking, talking, muscle control, coordination and writing all had to be relearned. Colton’s therapy was a little shorter, but I can imagine, much the same. Fortunately, he and my son show few lasting signs of the condition that left family, friends and supporters living in the very depths of Hell. There is, however, a young lady in Tampa, that got ADEM the same week as my son that is still to this day, bed-ridden, unable to speak or move and others that have lost their lives to this out of nowhere neurological condition. I know this has nothing to do with Osara’s band spotlight, but it does spotlight how very precious every moment is and opens some further awareness for this nasty affliction. I sincerely hope Colton and the rest of Osara take no offense as that was not the intent. Much respect for the other members of Osara for sticking by Mr. Beasley’s side!
Exactly one year after leaving the Black Dog Sound Studio, Osara finally hit the ground running with the successful release of their self-title debut EP in 2015 containing: “Parasite”, “Secrets”, “Back to Me”, “The Devil’s Daughter” and “Blow”. Shortly thereafter, Dallas left the band for college and a solo project, leaving Osara as a trio. Not willing to put their goals and dreams to rest, Osara signed with Carolina Music Management, LLC in an effort to further promote and learn how to navigate the ever changing musical business. After adding Lael Silva on guitar and Michael Russo on drums, Osara was afforded the opportunity to shoot their first video for “Devil’s Daughter” by Iron Alley films, get on a few regional tours, is in the rotation of a number of local, national and international radio stations and has opened for acts like Saving Abel, Candlelight Red, Weaving the Fate, Texas Hippie Coalition, Shaman’s Harvest, Crobot and is playing with Islander October 19th.
Osara’s sound put them solidly in the category of Hard Rock/Metal giants like Shinedown, Alter Bridge, Velvet Revolver, Alice in Chains, Black Stone Cherry and Avenged Sevenfold while remaining memorable and unique in the ever-growing sea of available bands and music. Heavily based in melodic guitar riffs, Osara cranks out Hard Rock/Metal songs dealing with emotional and introspective concepts of personal betrayal, disrespect and heart-ache that is poignant and applicable to any listener’s life. Anger, sadness and the bite of bitterness underlie just about all of Osara’s material without ever becoming overly oppressive or whiny. Quality songwriting, production and mature lyrics assure that the intent can be intensely felt, be it from the CD and/or from one of Osara’s many live shows. Playing often in and around South Carolina, Osara has played most of the East Coast and through the Upper Mid-West states over the last couple of years. With their tenacity, business acumen and ability to overcome the worst of situations, Osara is set for much bigger and better things in the not so distant future. I wish nothing but the best for this killer band!