By Loretta Gillespie
The Cullman Times
Exit 310 isn’t just where you get off of Interstate 65, it’s also a group of rock-and-roll friends who just wanted to play in a band for fun.
A cover band, the group was originally founded by Dave Dubberly (lead guitar) and Dr. Mike Lunsford (keyboards) back in 2006.
Lunsford and Dubberly, who write and record music, have several original songs to their credit, and both are active in their Christian ministry.
Over time, as is the way of most bands, faces changed, musicians drifted in and out, but the core members continued performing for gigs and having a good time.
Then, in 2010, along came Katie Burney who was too shy to audition for them, but instead sent them a video on Facebook. “They liked it and sent word for me to come and talk to them,” laughed Katie, who quickly overcame her shyness after meeting the guys.
Katie describes their sound as a mix of ‘70s, ‘80s, ‘90s and today, with one country song thrown in for good measure.
The group has performed at various parties, including Christmas gatherings, weddings at Stone Bridge, Grumpy’s and Carltons, and at last years’ Celebrate Cullman event.
“Then I guess we all just got really busy,” she said thoughtfully. “We really had to slow down.”
This Friday, Exit 310 will play for “Rockin’ For Change” which will benefit The Link of Cullman County. The band unanimously agreed that they are honored to donate their time and talent to such a worthy cause.
Burney is looking forward to the event. “We love entertaining,” she said enthusiastically.
The band will be playing something for everyone with their vast repertoire of classic rock songs. “We play a little bit of everything from Heart, to Stevie Wonder, all the classics,” Burney described.
For Katie, being onstage came late in life. “My family never knew that I could sing,” she explained.
Five years ago she got an American Idol game. “After my family heard me sing with the game they talked me into going to an open mic night at Berkeley Bob’s,” she said. “I had a huge case of stage fright, but I sang and people seemed to like it.”
“Exit 310 is made up of incredible musicians,” said Burney. “They have really helped me to hone my skills.”
Exit 310 includes charter members, Dave Dubberly, lead guitar; Dr. Mike Lunsford, keyboards; with Mark Davis on bass; Adam McGee, drummer; and lead singer, Katie Burney.
Both Lundsford and Dubberly are active in the music ministry in their churches. Because of time constraints, family obligations and their jobs, the group has made the tough decision that this will likely be their farewell performance.
“It’s sort of bittersweet because there’s a lot of camaraderie in music,” said Dubberly. “But this chapter in our lives is ending.”
Dubberly and Lunsford will probably still do some writing and recording. Dubberly says that lyrics hit him in the middle of the night sometimes, or at work. “I’ve worked construction for years,” he said. “I’ve written a lot of lyrics on cardboard boxes and pieces of siding.”
One line that sticks in his mind 10 years after writing the song, “Whisper Your Name” is this one, “Peace without God is a hopeless dream.”
“Writing for me always comes from a place of faith,” said Dubberly introspectively. “Sometimes it’s from personal discovery or desperation, but it’s always from a higher calling.”
Dubberly was influenced by musicians like Eddie Van Halen, David Gilmour and Genesis. “Back when I was growing up Christian radio was not where it is now,” he mused. “Since then it has progressed almost on an even keel with pop radio.”
Most of the band will continue with their jobs and regular routine. For Mark Davis, who grew up listening to “church music” and was influenced by his youth minister, music is a career.
Davis, who played in the drum line and marching bands in high school, graduated from the University of Alabama in Birmingham with a degree in music technology.
He was brought up in church and heard a lot of gospel music, and his dad was a classic rock fan, so he has a varied musical background from which to draw. He plans to pursue his musical career now that Exit 310 is “retiring.”
Davis, like all the members of Exit 310, is happy to be able to donate time and talent to this worthwhile cause. “I’m familiar with The Link of Cullman County because of Desperation Church, where I attend,” he explained. “I think this is a good fit for our last concert.”
Adam McGee started playing drums at the age of 17. “I had a friend who played drums and I learned from him, then I really got into it and it led to a scholarship at Wallace State Community College,” said McGee.
He attained a bachelor of science degree in music percussion performance from the University of South Alabama. While in Mobile, he played with bands that were more jazz oriented than the rock music to which he was accustomed. He found he liked the smooth, blusey sound of jazz music.
He is pursuing another degree in special education, and plans to continue playing music. “I’m a musician,” he laughed. “It's sad that Exit 310 will not be together any longer, I’ve really enjoyed playing with them, they are all awesome musicians, but I will be playing with another band now. This one is a little different in that we will be playing our original music.”
His work with special needs students at West Elementary is very important to him. He is happy to donate his time to help The Link in their endeavors to eradicate illiteracy.
The event will be from 6 to 10 p.m. Friday, Aug. 16, at Depot Park. Donations of $5 per person are appreciated. Children under 10 are admitted free. There will be face paining stations for the kids, free bouncing pads and live entertainment. Be sure to bring a lawn chair!
Proceeds from this event will benefit The Link of Cullman County, a local faith-based non-profit that is working towards overcoming the barriers to poverty through providing support services like goal-setting, career coaching, financial counseling, adult literacy, English as a second language courses, job preparedness courses and more.
“Proceeds go toward supporting local low-income families with support services to give them a hand up and not just a hand out,” said founder and executive director of The Link of Cullman County, Dawn Owens.
“Food and drinks will be available for purchase,” said Owens. “We’ll also be giving away prizes, face painting and balloon animals.”
“We’d like to offer a special thanks to the title sponsor, Peoples Bank of Alabama, for supporting this event and their ongoing support of ‘Wise Up’ — a financial literacy program for teens in the local Cullman County schools, which is also executed by staff and volunteers of The Link,” said Owens.
You may download original Exit 310 songs from their Facebook page at Exit 310.
For more questions about this event, call 256-775-0028. You can learn more about The Link online at www.linkingcullman.org or follow them on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.