GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. -- Time is ticking for the Atlanta-based Rudy Vaughn Band to win the gig of a lifetime.
Voting for the Hard Rock Cafe's Battle of the Bands contest ends Sunday at midnight. Help send the Rudy Vaughn Band to London to open for Bruce Springsteen at Hyde Park by voting for them on-line.
Click Here to Vote!
Want to hear them? Rudy Vaughn will II be playing an acoustic set at Sunday's "Unplugged in the Park" event, at Park Tavern at Piedmont Park, from 6:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m.
After working birthday parties and restaurants and clubs and churches across Metro Atlanta, the up-and-coming rock band, the Rudy Vaughn Band, has a shot at the biggest break of all -- performing at next month's annual, giant Hard Rock Calling weekend music festival in Hyde Park in London with the likes of Bruce Springsteen, Dave Matthews and Neil Young.
The band members found out officially a couple of weeks ago that they had reached the semi-finals of a nationwide, Hard Rock Cafe "Battle of the Bands" contest that began with 150 competitors.
All the band has to do now to get the gig with Springsteen and the others is win a vote on the Internet and beat out the other four surviving bands in HardRock.com's Battle of the Bands.
"This is a big contest," Rudy Vaughn, vocalist and saxophone player, said Tuesday, shaking his head almost in disbelief, talking and laughing with the other band members about how far they've suddenly come after years, among them, struggling and writing their own music.
"We're a band that consists of friends. We play parties for people in the community here. We're just a humble band from Atlanta" that is beginning to realize how big a deal this could be.
"This is a dream come true" to be one of the last five bands standing, said Vocalist Sam Tesh. "We've probably played your birthday parties, we've probably played in your favorite restaurants," he said as they all laughed excitedly, again, at the prospect, now, of playing before 100,000 people.
"I think it's going to be probably overwhelming" if they win the contest and perform in London, Vaughn said. "But I think it's something that we all can handle. We play in front of quite a few people in town. Never 100,000, never 50,000, but we've played in front of many thousands," most recently before 8,000 people at a concert at the new Gwinnett Braves stadium.
The Rudy Vaughn Band plays mostly its own compositions -- several of the five frontmen and three back-up singers are composers and have performed solo and with many other groups over the years.
The band's "home base" is 12Stone Church, on Ga. Highway 20 just north of Ga. Highway 316 in Gwinnett County.
"If it wasn't for this church, we wouldn't probably be here," said Keyboardist Emerson St. Pierre, "we wouldn't be able to do any of this."
The musicians and singers all met each other at the church and, about a year ago, began performing together.
During the week they rustle up places to play, and work on the beginnings of their first CD that they hope to release within the year.
Sunday mornings, they play at all three of the church's contemporary services.
Their tastes are wide ranging -- including rock, jazz, R & B, blues.
"But I'd say that, probably, pop-rock would be the best definition," Vaughn said. "Radio friendly. Accessible to most people."
The band attracted a sponsor, Radio Station Rock 100, and auditioned twice in the Battle of the Bands, performing two sets of three songs each, at Hard Rock's Velvet Underground in downtown Atlanta. After the first set, the band was called back for the second set on May 6. Then, judges that included Little Steven from Springsteen's E Street Band picked the five semi-finalists.
The Rudy Vaughn Band is the only Georgia band among the five.
The Internet vote on HardRock.com will decide the winner.
"I'm just extremely humbled" said Vocalist Jessica Taylor, "I'm extremely humbled that I get this shot" with the others.
"It's an honor to be able to represent [Atlanta] and to do it with great musicians," said Shane Hulsey, the lead guitarist. "It's just a great opportunity and I'm looking forward to meeting Bruce Springsteen" if we win. "That's going to be great."
Win or lose, the young musicians will keep focusing on what they believe is their calling.
"There's a lot of joy on stage when we're up there," said Vocalist Dustin Ahkuoi. "We really are a family, we want to bring laughter, we want to bring joy" to people who come to listen.
The voting runs though June 7th, and, said Vaughn, "we need everybody in Atlanta to vote for us!"
To check out video clips of all five bands and to cast your vote, check out http://battle.ambassadorsofrock.com/.