Josh Reynolds is pretty proud of himself.
In today’s neon-bright world, the heir apparent of the 1950s, ’60s pop dynamo Kingston Trio found matching stripped shirts, one apiece for him, his cousin Mike Marvin and their longtime buddy Tim Gorelangton.
The trio will put on the shirts when they take the Fox Tucson Theatre stage on Saturday, Feb. 17, and you might have to do double-take: In addition to the classic uniform, Kingston Trio 2018 has the same physical makeup of the original trio: a short guy, one in the middle and a tall, skinny guy.
And when they sing?
Reynolds replicates his father Nick’s tenor while cousin Marvin channels fellow founding member Bob Shane’s melodies. Gorelangton comes in with some harmony and with all three circling a single mic, the effect is downright chilling.
“We are curiously aware of the fact that we have an uncanny resemblance to the original trio,” Gorelangton said, and then made perfectly clear: It’s by design.
When you’re wearing the weight of history on your shoulders and you have the blessings of the lone surviving member of the band, the goal is to stay true to the mission and the music. And somewhere along the journey, a whole new Kingston Trio might emerge.
“The idea is to bring it back to what made it famous and popular and so pleasing in the first place, and that was to try to replicate the spirit and the energy of the original trio,” Marvin said. “That was our goal and that’s the road we’re on right now.”
Marvin and the others also are planning to go into the studio as early as March and begin recording new Kingston Trio songs.
“The idea is to break the Kingston Trio out as a new and viable group, and why not? When we played Billings, Montana, (on New Year’s Eve), probably 20 percent of the audience was in their late 20s, early 30s, and many of them had never heard the music before,” Reynolds said.
Of course the challenge becomes how to translate the very 1950s, ’60s Kingston Trio innocence to today’s world. Their hit “Tom Dooley” would likely fall on deaf ears 60 years down the road vying for radio attention against the likes of Ed Sheeran and Katy Perry.
“But don’t forget, Kingston Trio never really considered themselves folk,” said Reynolds, noting that the trio won the first ever Grammy for a country act. Their repertoire also includes Broadway showtunes, pop music, Irish and American folk songs and the occasional novelty song.
Reynolds and Co., which for several years toured as the popular Kingston Trio tribute band Lion Sons, started touring as Kingston Trio last October with the blessings of the lone surviving trio member Shane.
Shane sent Marvin an email saying that he had kept the band going 57 years and wanted someone in the family to continue it for the next 50 years.
“You can’t imagine what a compliment it was to have Bob Shane approach us and ask us to take over the Kingston Trio,” Gorelangton added. “We had never thought about that. We were just singing Kingston Trio songs as a tribute band.”
“We’re trying to keep the family business going,” Marvin said.