Two years ago, Cameron Tabor was strumming his guitar alone at Madisonville's Crowded House for the restaurant's Songwriters N' Suds event. A musician by the age of 12, he never let go of his passion even after he'd settled down with a family and a 9-to-5 day job as a carpenter.

That night, he met Grant Carter, a guitarist for another band, and struck up a friendship. Those two, along with a seasoned bassist by the name of Matthew "The Professor" Smith, formed the Cameron Tabor Band shortly afterward with a mutual love for classic musicianship binding them together.

Now, on Friday, July 19, the Cameron Tabor Band will open for Grand Funk Railroad in Madisonville's upcoming Friday Night Live event, the biggest gig of their career thus far.

"Grand Funk Railroad is one of the greatest bands of all time -- the way they play, their dynamics. They're the fundamentalists of what rock is today," Tabor said.

According to Tabor, it was bands like Grand Funk Railroad, the Eagles and Lynyrd Skynyrd that he and his band began emulating in their preliminary days.

"They had these complex songs that we tasked ourselves with learning them. We wanted to challenge ourselves," Tabor said.

Now further along in their journey, the Cameron Tabor Band has become well-known throughout the area for their outlaw country sound and original music, but those first days rooted in classic rock still resonate with Tabor to this day.

The Cameron Tabor Band has toured the Southwest, playing local shows as well as performing at festivals in Arkansas and Illinois.

According to Tabor, they pride themselves with being a "real band" that is solely in it for the craftsmanship that it

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takes to be a musician.

"We practice two to three times a week," Tabor said. "You know, we all have families and jobs, but we always make time for our music. We're so invested. This is what we want to do for the rest of our lives."

Though the band shares his name, Tabor is first to give credit to fellow bandmates, Carter and Smith.

"We tried forever to come up with a different name, but (the Cameron Tabor Band) just stuck," Tabor said. "But Grant is great and Matthew is basically the back-glue of this band. I wouldn't be where I am without these guys,"

The Cameron Tabor Band will perform a one-hour set of both original music and classics from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. in downtown Madisonville on Friday, July 19. They will be followed by Grand Funk Railroad.

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